I wish I’d taken some pictures before I started. My roommates were kind of horrified when I dragged this beaten up, honey coloured orphaned mantlepiece into the house. And I agree; it was an eyesore. (You can see a little bit of the original honey oak colour in the last picture. Otherwise, you’ll just have to use your imagination.)
Total cost: about $40
Materials: one curbside mantlepiece, sandpaper, palm sander, putty and putty knife, 5 cans of matte brown spraypaint, one can of lacquer/sealer, 4 L-brackets, screws.
Tricks: After you’ve prepared your surfaces, use three or four thin coats of spraypaint. Modern lacquer is so easy to use, but still, watch for drips, because it dries really quickly and will leave streaks if it’s not promptly cleaned up. This unit was a little rickety by the time we got it into the garage, but I just tightend up all the bolts and added a handful of new L-brackets and now it’s pretty solid. Ta-da!