Christmas Mantel & Easy Chalkboard tutorial

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 Today, I thought I would share a little more on my “Believe” Christmas mantel.

This Christmas, I am trying to believe in a lot of things…

….the spirit of Christmas


…that hard things are possible

…and in the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus.

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We all know that the holidays can be crazy, busy and overwhelming.

We have some things going on with our family this year, that are just keeping us focused on one thing.


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As I shared with our home tour the other day, the goal this year was to simplify our Christmas decorating.  I will admit, in the past, to have very “layered” decorating.  Maybe even, some would say, over done.

And it look a little bit of self coaching, to pull some things back out.  To just keep it simpler.

And I am loving the change.

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I must admit, I kind of build everything around my mantel.  The idea came to me a bit ago, and I knew I wanted to just build some simple candles, greenery, and little pops of red (thanks to my daughter).


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I think simpler is my new plan – and this is definitely my most favorite mantel yet.

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And since I had so many questions about the chalkboard and the mantel, I thought I would share how you could create a similar look.

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1. We made the chalkboard.  It measures at 50” wide by 34” high, including the trim.  It is made from high grade 3/4” plywood.  High grade is important for the smooth finish for writing.  The thickness really was not necessary, but it is what we had so we used it instead of buying more.  1/2” would probably work best.  We simply added wood strapping / trim to the sides, with a butt joint, and stained them with these handy staining cloths in the walnut color.  We attached them to the frame with 1.5” finish nails.

We cut our wood down from a larger piece, but you can have it cut right at Home Depot when you buy it.

We then coated it in two coats of chalkboard paint.  Let it dry for three days, “season” it with regular chalk, leave it on for up to a week.  (“Seasoning it” means rubbing the side of a piece of chalk all over the surface).  I printed the word “believe” out on my printer and then used this transfer method, but instead of lead, I used chalk.  It worked really well.  Then I filled the outline in with a chalk ink pen.

A little trick, if you want to see what a word looks like in each of the fonts on your computer, go to

The font I used is Before the Rain.

If you are not the DIY type, this one from Pottery Barn, could work as well.

2 & 3 – Candleholders – these are both Blomster collection from Ikea.  They are not sold online, but if you have an Ikea near by…

4 – These candle holders are available online and are a close option.

5 – Red candles.  I found my locally at a gift shop.  Ikea does carry nice ones, but they were sold out in my Ikea.  I would use good candles that are not going to drip.  And please, use caution and never leave them unattended.

6 – I used cranberries strung on a piece of floral wire for my pops of red inside the greenery.  The greenery is a mix of cedar and fir found in bunches at Home Depot.  Truth, the cranberries are starting to shrivel a bit and will need to be freshened up.  I am on the hunt for nice looking fake ones.  I thought this option might be nice, and they light up also.  I also have two small set of led lights with teeny tiny bulbs and run on a battery packs.  I found mine months ago at The Christmas Tree Shops.  Here is an online version.

7 – Small candle votives.  Again, these are from Ikea.  Almost anything will work here.  I often find simple votives a the dollar stores.  I just used simple white votive candles inside.

8 – While I am at it, I thought I would share the two pretty white reindeer on top of the hutch.  I bought mine in the store at Target, however, here is the link: Threshold™ Ceramic Sitting Deer Figura…

So there you have it.

Thank you so much for reading and wishing you a beautiful holiday season, and remember…


Also, if you missed any of the stops on the Holiday Housewalk, start here…

postsignature Christmas Mantel & Easy Chalkboard tutorialDisclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links, but all opinions are my own

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About Laura Putnam

Welcome to Finding Home where we share our favorite DIY and decorating ideas and inspiration. We believe your home should be a reflection of you and your family. Our blog is the story of our journey - and what we find along the way. Thanks for joining us!

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  1. Laura, I love your simple mantle decor. I think it’s something that can carry on into January/winter and just change out the word on the chalkboard. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings, Pamela

  2. Laura, everything is beautiful as always. Love you coffee table decorated so beautifully.


  3. Teresa says:

    Laura, I love the simplicity of everything in your Christmas décor this year. Everything looks so beautiful and its just the right amount. I too have embraced a more simpler trend and have been very pleased with how it turned out. I did my mantle and coffee table in a deer/winter theme this year after finding found some antlers and old sleigh bells at a show. I mixed it with some vintage deer and newer twig deer that I found at PB and just love the clean and not overdone look. Have a wonderful Christmas season!

  4. that was my favorite….well that & your chalkboard runner…i had hoped to do that for thanksgiving..but alas

    wonderful tutorial
    your home is wonderful

  5. I love your look here!!!! Beautiful!

  6. pruttybird says:

    Love the chalkboard sign … What font did you use?

  7. Laura, this is SO stunning! Absolutely beautiful!

  8. Beautiful mantle, I would find myself inspired every day looking at it. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I love the Crisp but comfortable feeling of your Christmas home. The Cranberry idea is fabulous but I wish they wouldn’t spoil so quickly. Thank you for sharing your beautiful Living room. The fire looks toasty warm too.

  10. I would also like to know the font.. Your home is beautiful – so much creativity!

  11. pruttybird says:

    I found the name of the font … it’s called Before the Rain and you can download it from :)

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