This DIY French Country mantel art is one of my favorite makeovers to date.
The transformation is crazy drastic!
And after almost 11 years of struggling to decorate our mantel, I’m thankful we’ve finally found a solution.
How It All Began…
Recently, one of my sweet aunts sent me a picture of a beautiful urn she planned to use as a centerpiece and asked if it could be painted silver.
These are some of my favorite calls or texts to receive because I love being part of any makeover no matter how big or small.
In fact, nothing gives me greater pleasure than encouraging women of all skill levels to create a home they love.
And spray-painted projects like a decorative urn are great places to start building confidence.
Truthfully, the detailing on the urn was pretty fabulous. I knew almost instantly it could be saved from the donate pile.
After offering a few painting tips and tricks, I reminded my aunt she didn’t have anything to lose by trying to upcycle the urn.
After all, she was going to take it to the charity shop anyway.
It’s a piece of advice I give a lot when people who are scared they might “mess up” reach out with an idea.
Taking a Chance…
Shortly after our exchange, I started thinking about a specific piece of decorative wall art my Mom had given me several months ago.
It was also headed for the charity shop.
At the time, I thought I might be able to save it, so I took it off her hands.
For almost 6 months, it sat in a corner untouched because I didn’t want to mess it up or have my Mom be disappointed in the result.
Looking back, it seems silly to even think that way.
But fear and doubt have such a sneaky way of creeping into your thoughts sometimes.
Even when it comes to decorating and creating a home you love.
And while this post is more about the makeover process than an actual tutorial, I hope you’ll be able to pick up a few tips and tricks along the way too.
As you can see from the pictures above this decorative wall art has great bones.
What you can’t see is how heavy it is.
I mean, it’s a total beast.
But I’ve wanted something super neutral on our mantel for years. The size of this wall art was the perfect height and width.
The only problem was that it was way too dark for our light and airy cottage home.
This is how the mantel art looked at Bliss Barracks before the makeover.
Creating DIY French Country Mantel Art with Paint and Wax…
My first step in creating DIY French Country mantel art was to paint the inside trim in New Concrete.
It’s one of my favorite shades of gray by Valspar because it’s neutral and goes with almost anything.
You may remember I painted the hutch in my office in the same color.
Next, I decided to give the decorative frame on the inside a layered look. So, I started with a creamy white base,
followed a layer of dark furniture paste wax.
While the wax was still tacky, I rubbed a bit of Americana Décor Chalky Finish Paint in Yesteryear (a blue-ish gray color) directly into the wax.
It’s a technique I’ve been trying to perfect for a while now.
It gives such a pretty layered and patinaed look to pieces that have been distressed and have lots of decorative detail.
And bonus, it’s just what this DIY French Country mantel art needed.
Once the metal trim was dry, I painted the inside of each panel a creamy white carefully leaving the original distressing intact.
I’ll be honest this was the hardest part of the entire makeover because I knew there would be no going back.
Thankfully, it turned out ok.
I painted the rim of DIY French Country mantel art in Valspar’s Faint Maple.
It’s a pretty color that looks similar to European Oak once you’ve sealed it with dark furniture paste wax.
Adding the Plaster Flower Wall Plaques…
The next morning, I attached a DIY plaster flower wall plaque to each panel with Liquid Nails.
I won’t go into all the details, but for the sake of full disclosure, there was a major mishap when we went to move this DIY French Country mantel art into the living room.
Just take it from us, if you’re trying something similar, you’ll want to allow decorative pieces like plaster plaques to fully adhere for at least 48-72 hours minimum ?
DIY French Country Mantel Art Reveal…
Despite the mishap, I’m excited about the way everything came together.
The DIY French Country mantel art adds a pop of color to the living room. Yet doesn’t take away from the bookcases my Dad built.
It also doesn’t compete with the stacked stone in the fireplace which I was nervous about too.
I still want to move a few things around before I do a final reveal of the living room.
Things are definitely starting to come together though. Here’s one more look at the before shot…
For now, I’m just going to stand at the kitchen sink looking into the living room grateful this space is one step closer to being completed thanks to this DIY French Country mantel art and the gentle nudge that all started it all.
Let us know if you’ve made any DIY French Country mantel art lately or if you’ve been too scared to mess up a piece it sat in the corner for months!Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.