DIY winter mantel

As much as I love coloring, doodling, photography and creating images on my computer, I’m really lacking in creative skills when it comes to decorating my house. So I always get excited when I complete a DIY decorating project that actually turns out well. This week, I’ve been working on a few DIY projects that I like enough to show you here on the blog.

I’m one of the few people in the world who really doesn’t enjoy Christmas decor. I’m not sure who convinced millions of Americans they should bring an entire TREE inside their homes in the winter, but this person should have really applied his or her genius to something with more lasting impact, like world peace. Almost as soon as we are done unwrapping gifts, I am ready to remove that big decoration from my living room.

But once the tree and ornaments are gone, I’m left with a sad, boring living room for the rest of January. So, I’ve been thinking about how I could decorate my mantel for “winter” without it looking totally “Christmas.” I’m also working on some projects to display some of the nature photos I’ve been taking the past few years. The two ideas combined to create this winter mantel.


I enlarged this snowy farm scene photo that I took in November to 24 x 18 inches. I had thought about printing it on canvas or even trying to create my own canvas print. But then I saw some ideas to adhere a photo to a piece of wood, and I thought that would fit in well on the mantel of our big stone fireplace.

Once my husband cut the wood and sanded the edges, the rest was pretty simple. I applied one coat of dark stain to the wood. Then, I used Mod Podge to adhere the photo to the wood. I used a rolling pin to smooth out the photo, and then applied a second coat of Mod Podge to the top of the photo, going all the way to the edge of the wood.


After it dried, I sanded the edges of the photo. I wanted it to look like the photo was really embedded in the wood, rather than a big photo just stuck on top. I sanded it hard to make the edges uneven, and in the process, I beat up the wood as well. I applied more stain to repair the wood and purposely tried to make it a little messy so it soaked into the photo. I then gave the whole thing one more coat of Mod Podge.


I really love how it turned out. I’ve been wanting to start a collection of snow globes, so I thought this was the perfect time to start. I found a few on clearance that had a winter scene, rather than being totally Christmas.

I also asked my husband to cut a smaller board that was 10 x 10. I stained it as well, and used my Silhouette to cut out the words “Let it Snow.” I added that to my little box of birch wood that I put together near the fireplace.

The weather cooperated perfectly with my new decor this morning. We were greeted by a light snowfall when we woke up. I guess my “Let it snow” sign really worked!
My project isn’t perfect, but I’m happy with how it turned out! And I love that I finally used one of my own photos in our home decor.

So tell me. Do you love to keep your Christmas tree up as long as possible? Or are you like me and you can’t wait to take it down? Do you do anything special for your winter decor?


  1. Oooo, I do keep my tree up long as possible. I love the glow and esp. all of the memories – every ornament on our tree has special meaning, so it’s like a scrapbook sculpture. It kills me to take it down mid-Jan!!!
    I’m not big on other décor the rest of the year.

    1. Sues, living in the south, I would think you would be even more anxious to take down the tree! 🙂 That’s cool that all of your ornaments have a special meaning. Ours has become that as well, with all of the kids making ornaments each year. Thanks for sharing!

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