How To Make a Fireplace Screen Using a Window Sash

Now that the warmer months of the year are here would you like to find a creative way to hide your soon to be unused fireplace box? I wanted 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.

When I was cleaning out one section of my basement, I came across this window sash and came up with a way to repurpose it.

window-sash-needed-to-make-

Before

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.

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 purchase some wood shelf brackets.

How to Make a Fireplace Screen Using a Window Sash

supplies needed:

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

4-Brackets-needed

  1. 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!!!
How-to-make-a-fireplace-scr

2. 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.

Screw-and-bracket-line-up

3. 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.

screw-to-use-for-brackets

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

Screw-fits-in-bracket-like-

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.

Bracket-extends-from-window

5. 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.

Liquid-Nails-for-Small-Proj
apply-Liquid-Nails

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

Window-Sash-Fireplace-scree

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

How to Add a Mirrored Finish to the Glass on a Window Sash Fireplace Screen

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

The mirrored finish 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.

Krylon-Looking-Glass-Mirror

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

Firepalce-Screen-Completed-

Completed Window Sash Fireplace Cover

You can see it does have a mirror like quality as there is a subtle reflection that blocks from seeing inside the firebox.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I only use this fireplace screen 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.

close-up-of-fireplace-scree

More Fireplace Improvement Ideas

See how I made over my fireplace with stone and painted the grey concrete hearth to resemble stone.

More Fireplace Cover Ideas

Fireplace-Screen-made-using-an-old-window-sash

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49 Comments

  1. This is a great idea that really looks good. Great instructions & pictures, especially concerning the bracket and screw. Really true “picture worth a thousand words”.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Pam – It makes me happy to know that my post/pictures on how to make a fireplace screen was easy to understand. Thanks for taking the time to tell me.

  2. Cutest idea ever!!!! BRAVO!!!!!!!!!

    1. This is a super fantastic idea! I got my mirror spray at Home Depot. I sprayed some bottles and quite a few passes with the spray are needed to achieve a mirror-like appearance. I don’t know if it makes a difference but I let each layer of spray dry before I did the next. On some of my projects the unsprayed side was more mirrored than the sprayed side.

      1. Diane Henkler says:

        Hi Nina – The unsprayed side is the mirror side. I sprayed the back of the window sash so the front would look like a mirror. If you are doing bottles, spray the inside so the outside will look mirror-like.

  3. 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

  4. 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

    1. Diane Henkler says:

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

  5. 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

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      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.

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

  6. Sassy aunt says:

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

  7. Catherine says:

    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

  8. Kendra McCubbin says:

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

    1. 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

  9. madison avenue says:

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

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

  11. What a fantastic idea Diane! Love it!

  12. Anu@MyDreamCanvas says:

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

  13. Mary Jean Cunningham says:

    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?

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

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

  16. 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.

  17. Madigan at madiganmade says:

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

  18. Anne-Marie says:

    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!
    Anne-Marie

    1. Anne-Marie says:

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

  19. Jessica @ Decor Adventures says:

    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. Jennifer Grey says:

    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.

    oxox
    Jennifer

  21. Anita @ GoingalittleCoastal says:

    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.

  22. 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: http://stillwaterstory.blogspot.com/
    Again, you did a fantastic job with this!! :-)

  23. Shannon Jenkins says:

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

  24. Lilianna Grace says:

    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.

  25. Laura @ Ms Smartie Pants says:

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

  26. Carol-Anne: Use the Good Dishes! says:

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

  27. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. The glass has to be completely clean and dry. Best to wipe down wi th vinegar and allow a good day to air dry.

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

  29. Christine Aldinger says:

    what a cute idea……lovin it

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

  31. 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

    1. 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.

      1. If you put black (or other dark paper) behind each pane of glass the mirror will look more solid. I repurposed an old window into an antique look mirror and had to do the same.

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

    1. Hi Lamb-

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

  33. How cute…I love your fireplace…

    1. 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.