Christmas mantel decorating idea that repurposes an old window sash to create the look of frosted window panes above a fireplace.
I had the lyrics to the song, Christmas Waltz in my mind when I decorated my fireplace mantel this year for Christmas…
…Frosted window panes… Candles gleaming inside…
I know you have heard the song. Karen Carpenter’s version is probably the most popular.
I have had the window sash for a long time. It used to be painted pink and hung vertically for many years in the master bath in my previous house. I took it down about 10 years ago, but kept it even when we moved. I am glad I did since it fits perfectly horizontally over the fireplace mantel in my living room.
As you can see it is no longer pink, but I made it over using red chalk paint, a tree branch, red ornaments, ribbon and fake snow.
To accent the sash, I added pine branches, chunky white Pottery Barn candles and needlepoint Christmas stockings along the mantel that was once the top of a dining room hutch that we repurposed into a mantel when we made over the fireplace last year.
I bought all the red ornaments at Walmart and the ribbon at Hobby Lobby. I found the pine boughs at Wegman’s. I found the tree branch when I was out on the lake, kayaking. I saw it on the beach of an island and knew it would be perfect to attach to the window sash. I grabbed it and hooked it to my kayak and brought it home.
The Christmas stockings were the first ones that Ed and I had when we first got married. I haven’t used them in a while, but since I am decorating with red this year, I unearthed them from a Christmas bin. To give them a trendy update, I made tassels using red yarn and tied one onto the hook on each stocking.
You know I love candle glow. When the candles are lit, the mantel takes on a totally different feeling. If you don’t want to use real candles, Pottery Barn sells pretty amazing looking Flicker Flameless Candles.
It is quite magical at night. I sprayed spray snow in the lower right corner of each pane. To add the snow along the top of the tree branch, I brushed on white glue and then sprinkled fake flake snow over the top of the branch.
I made the tassels for each stocking 5 – 1/2″ long. I simply used a strand of yarn to wrap around each tassel in two different places to create the two rounded top tassels. Here is a basic tassel making tutorial.
I made two simple wood stands using scrap pieces of wood to raise the sash and give it something to sit in on the mantel. You can see from this photo that the sash is leaning slightly against the fireplace.
Creating this holiday mantel was not hard, but to help you better understand how I made it all come together, I broke-down the steps in the tutorial below.
How to Paint a Window Sash for Decorating a Christmas Mantel
I found my window sash in curbside trash, but they can be found in all sizes for a few dollars at most antique malls and flea markets.
- Window sash or glass cabinet door
- Red chalk paint – I used Folk Art Home Decor Chalk Paint in the color Imperial. It is from the craft store
- Clear paste wax
- Antiquing glaze or Black/Brown shoe polish or Dark Paste Wax
- Soft cloth or old t-shirt
- Paint brush
- Paint sash using red chalk paint. Let dry.
- Sand surface with 100 grit sandpaper to distress finish along edges of sash.
- Clean off sanding grit with damp paper towel. Let dry.
4. Wipe a thin coat of clear paste wax over painted areas. Buff with soft cloth. I used Fiddes and Sons clear wax, but Johnson’s or any clear chalk paint wax can be used. You want to add a clear coat of wax first, so that you will be able to manipulate the dark wax or stain on the finish.
If you don’t add the clear wax first and use the dark color stain or wax right on the paint you won’t be able to move the color around on the surface to get it exactly where you want it.
5. Next, wipe on a thin layer of dark wax or Antiquing Glaze. If you don’t have either of these, you can also use brown or black shoe polish to add the antiquing.
6. Rub the dark wax/glaze/shoe polish over surface and then buff to a shine with a clean cloth.
If you want the finish darker, add another layer of the dark wax or shoe polish and buff.
How to Make a Window Sash Stand
I made two stands using scrap pieces of wood.
- 2″ x 4″ cut into four – 5 inch pieces
- 2″ x 2″ cut into two – 5-inch pieces
To make the stand, I used two screws to sandwich a 5″ long, 2″ x 2″ in between two 5″ pieces of a 2″ x 4″. If you look at the ends of the finished stands, they look like the letter “H”. I painted the stands in the same way I did the sash.
The sash sits right into the center of the stands.
How to Attach Tree Branch to Window Sash
- Drill and drill bit
- Two, 2-1/2″ long screws
I centered the branch along the top of the sash and marked the branch and sash where the branch met the corners of the sash. I pre-drilled a hole in each corner of the sash and then drilled a hole on the mark I put on the branch. I screwed the screw into the pre-drilled hole in the branch and then into the drilled a hole in the sash. I repeated the process on the other end of the sash.
I left the screw exposed so that the branch sits away from the sash. This is needed so the ornaments will hang freely and not hit the sash. I did not paint the screws since the fake snow I added hides them.
How to Add Snow and Tie Ornaments to Tree Branch
- Thin ribbons
- Christmas ornaments
- Hot glue gun and glue stick
- Fake snow flakes
- Spray Snow
- White glue and small paint brush
- Paper towels
Using a paint brush, I brushed on a thin layer of white glue and then sprinkled fake flake snow over the wet glue. Once it was dry, I simply tied the ornaments onto the branch using ribbon.
I also made a fireplace screen for my previous home using a window sash. You can find out how I did that in this post: Window Sash Fireplace Screen
More Christmas Decorating Ideas: