How To Make A Fireplace Screen Using a Window Sash

by Diane Henkler on 03/07/2011

Now that Spring arrives in just 13 days ( I can see that smile on your face), I knew it was time to do something about hiding my soon to be unused fireplace box.    I to make a fireplace screen that could easily be moved away when the fire is burning and put back in front of it to hide it when not in use – it does not look pretty when there is not a homey fire lit in it.

As you know I have been trying to de-clutter and get rid of all the “stuff” that is just junking up my life.    When I was cleaning out one section of my basement, I came across this window sash.



I had totally forgotten about it. I have hung onto it for a very long time and am glad I did as I knew I could finally put it to good use.   I found it in curbside trash about 15 years ago and my Dad who loves to work with wood cleaned it up for me.  And then it sat, until last week.  I took it upstairs to see if it would fit in front of the fireplace box and it did. How exciting!!! Off to Lowe’s I went all excited with a plan in my head and to buy some wood shelf brackets.

Materials Needed:

Window Sash
4 wood shelf brackets
4  1 1/2” long wood screws
Paint and paintbrush
Krylon Looking Glass Mirror Like Spray Paint


Here are the 4 wood shelf brackets at I bought at Lowe’s. I think they were about $3.75 a piece. They have a decorative groove in them that actually matches the mullions on the sash. How cool is that ?  It was meant to be!!!


The hardest part of this project –  was that I had to flip the built in hook thingy in each bracket.  This was easy with my power screwdriver.  I just removed the screws, flipped it so the larger open section on the hook was at what I was going to use as the bottom of each bracket and screwed it back in.


On the window sash- I screwed in a screw 1/4-inch from the bottom on each side (back and front).  I left about 1/4” of the screw extended from the wood so the hook on the bracket could slide into it.   I used 1- 1/2 inch screws, but your sash may be a different thickness. You just want to make sure your screw is not too long that it goes through the other side of the sash.


When the screw is screwed into the sash the top part of it slides in the wide section on the metal hook.


Like this – the screw will be in the wood, but I wanted to give you an idea of how the brackets hook onto the screws.


Line up the bracket with the screw and push down until the bracket extends about an inch from the bottom.   It should be a very tight fit. If it moves you may have to adjust the screw into the wood deeper or extend more on the window sash.


There was one bracket that I could not get to stay in place and I used Liquid Nails to make sure it would stay.


Here is what I got –now it is ready for paint and a mirror finish.


For a subtle way to not be able to see through the glass panes I used Krylon Looking Glass Mirror Like Spray Paint on the back side of the sash.

This stuff is expensive.  It only comes in a small can and is $12.00 at Michaels. It is not sold in the same section with other paints, but with the bridal craft stuff.   You have to make sure the glass surface is very clean and then shake the can  for 2 minutes.  After every minute of use –you need to shake again. The directions say to use 5 light coats. I used about 10 and I would have added more , but I ran out of paint.

This photo is of the backside of the sash.  You can see it has a mirror like finish, but it is not shiny and looks a little pitted. It kind of looks a bit old – which is ok, but I think I may scrape it off from one of the panes and try it again to see if I get better coverage.  The cap on the can is really shiny and is a bit misleading. It does state on the back that it produces a dull finish.

Viewing the finish from the front of the sash does look better as it is under glass.



You can see it does have a mirror like quality as there is a subtle reflection that blocks from seeing inside the firebox. I only use this as a decorative screen to hide the dirty firebox when the fire is not in use – not as a protective screen when the fire is lit.


Now all my room needs is some Springtime touches in the way of flowers.

Hurry Spring!!!


{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dianne March 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

How cute…I love your fireplace…


2 Diane March 7, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Hi Dianne-

I used to put flowers or birch logs in the fireplace in the warm months, but after we got a gas insert I could not do that anymore. I am quite happy with how it turned out. I was going to just paint the back of the sash black, but with the big black TV above the fireplace it was just too much black. I should probably add a photo of the whole fireplace.


3 Lamb March 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I love it! What a cute, green idea :)


4 Diane March 7, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Hi Lamb-

It is a green project -didn’t even think of it that way. Thanks


5 Joy March 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Your screen is very original idea and the reflection on the window of your room works well. I hope you post the additions to your screen decoration as they happen.
- Joy


6 Diane March 7, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Hi Joy-

I could not make it back to Micheals today, but later in the week I will pick up a new can and try it again to see if I can get a smoother finish.


7 Leanne March 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm

That turned out so good. It’s perfect for warmer weather.


8 Christine Aldinger March 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

what a cute idea……lovin it


9 Denise March 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm

You rock! Very orginal and creative. I love checking in here daily to see what awesome ideas you come up with!


10 Diana K March 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm

What a great idea! Love it. I have not had good luck at all with that mirror finish paint. I think my can was not a good one..I finally just tossed it out. Yours turned out lovely though.


11 Diane March 7, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Hi Diana-

I was thinking the same thing about my can. No matter how long I shaked it, it still came out spotty. I also cleaned the glass with Windex – perhaps the chemicals in that made the paint get spotty. I will test it out again.


12 Carol-Anne: Use the Good Dishes! March 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm

What a great idea! It looks gorgeous and is such an ingenius use of the window!


13 Laura @ Ms Smartie Pants March 7, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Very cute idea! It would even be cute to add a painted spring branch on the window.


14 Lilianna Grace March 7, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Diane! That is sooo cool. I really love it. And…it looks like a project that I could actually tackle, not too overwhelming. Your house must give you so much joy when you look around and see all of the amazing things you have created. If in the future I need a fireplace screen, I will remember this project.


15 Shannon Jenkins March 8, 2011 at 8:40 am

Oh how I wish that I had thought of that when I lived in VA. That is really a cute idea.


16 Erin March 8, 2011 at 9:45 am

I love this idea! I found your blog at the DIY Showoff. You have such great ideas and I’m your newest follower! I’d love it if you’d follow me back:
Again, you did a fantastic job with this!! :-)


17 Anita @ GoingalittleCoastal March 8, 2011 at 10:05 am

What a great idea Diane! Love the way it turned out. It reminds me of the antique one I bought recently with the embroidery in it. The little feet are great. I like the old worn mirrored finish too.


18 Jennifer Grey March 8, 2011 at 10:39 am

Diane, thanks so much for stopping by! This is my first time on your blog, and I can’t wait to sit down and read more. Love all your projects, including this one..that mirror paint is fabulous.



19 Jessica @ Decor Adventures March 8, 2011 at 12:44 pm

This is just totally fabulous! I’ve been looking for a project like this and now I am inspired for sure.

I love how well it fits in the space too, really great project :-)


20 Anne-Marie March 8, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Hi Diane
My fiance Chris and I have a small plastics company in Nova Scotia. I asked his advise on this project and he told me that if you wanted a mirror look in small window panes like yours, that has the glass in or not, you should try mirrored plexiglas from a local plastics company. Cheaper than glass and they will cut it to size for you.

Good luck with any future projects!


21 Anne-Marie March 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Sorry I meant to say cheaper than real mirror! DOH!


22 Madigan at madiganmade March 8, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Wow. This is a fantastic idea! And it’s beautiful, too!


23 Connie March 9, 2011 at 3:53 am

I can’t believe that your random window sash fits your fireplace so perfectly! What a fabulously imaginative project. If it make you feel any better, your mirror paint looks a lot like an antique mirror that is original to an old piece of furniture that we have … very vintagey. Tell folks that it’s exactly the way you wanted to do it in the first place.


24 Erin March 9, 2011 at 4:08 am

Hi, I just found your blog and wanted to let you know that I am a new follower! :) love your blog!Erin


25 Amber March 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm

That is so cute, and it fits your fireplace perfectly! :)


26 Kim March 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Diane, that is such an unique idea. I love it. Thanks for joining WUW.


27 Alaina March 9, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Get outta town!!! This is soooooo cute!!!!!


28 Mary Jean Cunningham March 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Dear Diane,

You’ve done it again! I love the way you figure things out and break them down so they look do-able, logical and not too hard, just figuring it out and going step by step – all with economy and great style. I wonder what wallpaper or marbelized paper would look like in the panes of glass, or even fabric?


29 Anu@MyDreamCanvas March 10, 2011 at 11:50 pm

How lovely. Really like your blog. I am a follower. Hope to see you at My Dream Canvas.


30 Beth@A2Z March 11, 2011 at 8:23 pm

What a fantastic idea Diane! Love it!


31 Rachel March 29, 2011 at 7:11 pm

This is such a cute idea- I love this! Thanks so much for the how-to, I’ll be linking.


32 madison avenue April 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm

that is such an awesome idea! it matches the style so well! great job! im so bad with projects that involve tools. haha


33 Kendra McCubbin November 13, 2011 at 11:05 pm

would this work in front on an actual burning fire? I’m worried about the wood catching fire or glass breaking…


34 Diane November 14, 2011 at 7:45 am

Hi Kendra -

I do not use it in front of a burning fire. I use it to hide the dirty flreplace when not in use. I remove it and place it behind a chair in the room, when the fire is lit. It is purely a decorative way to hide the firebox opening when the fire is not on. . I will add this to the post so others realize this, too. Thanks


35 Catherine November 16, 2011 at 8:29 am

I’m so glad I found your decorating blog, because I just LOVE it! The idea for the window pane as a fireplace screen is nothing short of brillant!!! I have 3 old ones that I couldn’t toss, now I know what I will be doing with one of them. Now, that only leaves two remaining, but don’t feel pressured! Lol. Best Wishes, Catherine


36 Sassy aunt February 5, 2013 at 8:51 pm

I saw this in the March 2013 This Old House magazine. Very nice and congrats on the TOH mention.


37 Marie March 23, 2013 at 9:43 am

I have a question. How do you line up the screws so that the one in the front does not meet the one screwed into the back?I love this idea and ahve all rhe materials but am confused over the screw placements. Thank you. Marie


38 Diane Henkler March 23, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Hi Marie – If your sash is not thick enough, use shorter screws. You want the screws long enough so they are secure. They also don’t get screwed in all the way – the head should stick out a bit to catch the wood braces that hold the sash up.


39 Marie March 23, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Thank you! I am ready to create my own beautiful fireplace screen.


40 Marie March 24, 2013 at 9:19 am

Hi Diane, One more question. My window is 1 1/4 inches wide. The screw is 1 1/2 inch. I will leave 1/4 inch out for the brace. But if I put screws in front and back, even shorter ones, I don’t understand how they will not hit each other inside the sash if both are screwed in 1/4 inch up from the bottom on both sides. Did you put one screw higher and adjust the brace when you put it on? Sorry for the questions! Thank you. Marie


41 Diane Henkler March 24, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Hi Marie – I saw the other comment you left – glad that the shorter screws worked. Enjoy your new screen.


42 Marie March 24, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Hi Diane, I bought shorter screws and it worked perfectly!Thank you for your help. I am going to put stained glas film on the backside of the windows. Thanks again. Marie


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