Make a Faux Fireplace for Christmas

If you are worried Santa won’t be able to deliver his presents this Christmas because your house has no fireplace, don’t sweat! Just build your own Faux Fireplace.

How to build a fake christmas fireplace from cardboard boxes -

Long time friend of My Poppet, Camille Condon, and her adorable sidekick, Walter the Wonderdog, have created a very festive Faux Christmas Fireplace for their home and were kind enough to share the DIY instructions with us.

With the help of her nephews, Cam has transformed a pile of empty cardboard boxes into a fake brick fireplace with mantelpiece, perfect for hanging everyone’s stockings on and displaying Christmas cards.

And if you live ‘down under’ and Christmas is in the middle of Summer, a roaring fire won’t be a problem on total fire ban days because it’s made of cardboard too.

This fake fireplace is a super fun project to make with the whole family.  When Christmas is over either, pop it in the recycling, or use those boxes to make a cardboard fort over the school holidays.

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You will need:

  • 8 x Empty A4 paper boxes
  • 10 x Lids from A4 paper boxes
  • Strong Packaging Tape
  • Red Crepe Paper – lots of it
  • Thin masking tape
  • One large box to cut up for the background fire
  • Coloured pencils and marker or acrylic paint

How to make a Faux Fireplace from Cardboard Boxes this Christmas

How to build a fake fireplace for christmas

Walter the Wonderdog supervises construction

The fireplace is constructed in three separate pieces – 2 side pillars, 1 mantelpiece

Side Pillars

For the side pillars, re-inforce the top of the empty boxes by sticking a layer of packaging tape all of the way around the top.

Lay down 4 boxes. Butt them up together and tape down each side and end multiple times. Tape the joins where the boxes butt together also. More tape = stronger pillar.

Faux Fireplace Mantelpiece

This is made in two sections and then stuck together.
Lay six lids down butted up together and tape down each side. Again, more tape = stronger mantel.

Once both lots of six lids have been stuck together – lay them on top of each other to make a double lid stack, and tape together. Make sure to tape along lengthways and also tape around all the joins, ensuring your mantle will sit flat.

Cover in crepe paper

It’s easier to cover the three separate pieces in crepe paper before you stick them all together. Using a large roll of red crepe paper, just wrap each pillar and tape to hold it in place.

You could also use glue but this would be much messier, and you would be adding in drying time.

Construct the fake fireplace

This part is super simple – stand your pillars in place, and decide how you would like the mantel piece to sit.

I’ve centered the mantelpiece so that there’s a little bit of overhang back and front. The overhang at the back allows you to place it against the wall without the pillars hitting the skirting boards.

The overhang at the front makes it look more realistic – like a real mantelpiece.
Once you’re happy with it, using a lot of packaging tape to stick it all together – it’s easy to hide the tape at the back and underneath.

Mark out your bricks & mortar

Take your thin masking tape and start sticking on horizontal lines all the way around your pillars, and mantel. You could be accurate and use a tape measure, but I did this freehand with the nephews.

On the vertical, you will need to stick masking tape from top to bottom along all of the corners (like real mortar), and then make small vertical lines with masking tape to give the brick effect. Again, you could be accurate and use a tape measure, or you can just wing it and go freehand.

how to build a fake fireplace for christmas

Background Fire

For the background fire, you will need a large cardboard box. From this box, cut a piece of cardboard that is a few centimeters larger than your inner fireplace dimensions.

You can draw / paint the fire however you like. We glued on some leftover scrunched up crepe paper to make the fire look more realistic.

Once you’re happy with your artwork, just tape it onto the back of the fireplace using packing tape – this adds more structure and makes the fireplace more stable.

decorate your faux fireplace with a paper fire


You can add any embellishments you like! We used some leftover pieces of cardboard to create logs, scrunched up crepe paper for fire, and we added some silver stars, and Christmas decorations.

How to Build a faux Fireplace from cardboard boxes - Fake Fireplace for christmas

TIP: Just keep in mind, that this is a cardboard box fireplace, so don’t place any family heirlooms or breakables on top.

Thank you Cam for your fabulous tutorial – This fireplace may be ‘faux’ but it sure looks fantastic! Great job. If you make a Faux Fireplace of your own this Christmas, tag us on Instagram @mypoppetmakes, we’d love to see it!



Cam is a fabric hoarder, instagram addict, coffee and bacon lover, and a very grateful double lung transplant recipient.
When she’s not working at the day job, or volunteering for the Heart and Lung Transplant Trust, she spends her spare time whipping up frocks on the Janome, and taking silly photos of her best pal, Walter the Wonder Dog.


Originally published Dec 2016, updated and republished Nov 2020

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