How to DIY Cathedral Panel Wall Art From a Fireplace Screen

When we moved into our house many years ago, the foyer included a dreamy curved staircase.  I actually dreamed of decorating this type of staircase at Christmas and I was ecstatic that my new home included one.    

It was a big space to fill and since it was a curved wall it needed something pretty interesting and special.  I love to hunt for things so I got started looking right away.  As luck would have it, everything I liked was too expensive.  I found several cathedral-style iron and wood panels in Canton (If you don't know, it's a monthly flea market in Texas...a bucket list must!)  But over $350 for the set was way out of my budget for this project. Plus, I figured I could just make something I love for a fraction of the cost. I am a self-proclaimed "I can make that cheaper and possibly even better" DIYer.  So, I started looking for inspiration on Craigslist. When I came across this rusted 3-panel fireplace screen, INSPIRATION struck.

When I showed the screen to Triple Threat {Handy, Handsome, Hubby} he thought I was crazy. It didn't take much convincing once I described my idea in detail. And saving a ton of money was a bonus!  Winning!

Triple Threat started by separating the panels and grinding off the hinges using an angle grinder. Then, he built 3 cathedral-style frames to surround them using stock 1x3 pine boards, and Birch plywood for the gothic arch tops. The frames were joined with pocket screws and the tops were attached to the base with dowels and glue. He gave the frames a nice finishing touch with a handheld router to put a beaded edge around the interior and exterior of the entire frame.

This was the first project Triple Threat and I completed together (many years ago) where he built something and I finished it with decorative painting . As our first project, we didn't fully document and photograph the entire process so there aren't any 'before' pictures of the fireplace screen. Luckily, we learned quickly to take pictures along the way. :)

Once the frames were finished, I got to start on the fun part. Painting, of course! First, I stained the panels with a red oak stain. Then I added some aged gold paint accents and a dark red glaze to give the panels some dimension. We kept the original rusty, patina finish of the fireplace screen by adding a top coat of clear polyurethane.

The panels were then mounted inside their new frames and hung up. The final project was perfect for the wall on my staircase and I love that it was something we created together. :)

I've considered adding something inside the arches at the top.  Until inspiration strikes (again), I'm happy with them as-is.  If you have a brilliant suggestion, please leave a comment below.  

Until next time...Keep Calm & DIY On!