Use this tutorial to build a decorative window for your mantel.
I saw an arched window on Instagram a few months ago, and fell in love. I thought a large window would make the perfect addition to my mantel shelf above the piano.
Rather than spend $60 or more to buy one, I decided to save money and figure out how to make a window to fit my space. The window I built measures 36 inches wide, and 40 inches tall. Since I was going with a rustic look, I used inexpensive boards and my total cost for wood was only $9.93! Woohoo!
How to Build a Decorative Window
- (1) 1 x 5 x 6ft pine board
- (2) 1 x 3 x 8ft furring strip
- (1) 1 x 2 x 8ft furring strip
- Wood Glue
- 1 1/4” Pocket Screws
- Miter Saw
- Table Saw
- Keg Jig
- Staple Gun
Watch the video below to see how I built my decorative window. I have also included written instructions.
Cut the lengths for the outer window frame.
- (2) 1 x 3 @ 38 inches
- (1) 1 x 3 @ 31 inches
- (1) 1 x 5 @ 31 inches
*Helpful Tip: Cut 1/4 inch off of each board you purchased before cutting to the desired length. This way, both edges will be straight and smooth.*
Cut out the upper arch.
Print out the template below, and tape it together.
Each piece will overlap by one square. (Make sure the arch measures 31 inches.)
Trace the template onto the 1 x 5 you cut in Step 1.
Use a jigsaw to cut along the line.
Sand the arch.
Use the Arch Template to cut the angle at the top corners.
I used the arch template to determine the angle to cut on the top of the 2 side (38 inch) pieces. The portion of the template you will use for this step is highlighted in yellow.
Lay out your window frame pieces out on a flat surface and trace the corners from the arch template onto the two 1 x 3 @ 38” pieces. The angle will be about 16 degrees.
Cut the angle using your miter saw.
Drill Pocket Holes
You only need to drill pocket holes on the top arch piece, and the bottom piece of your window frame. If you have a Kreg Jig K4 or K5, use the A and B holes as your guide.
Assemble outer window frame using 1 1/4″ pocket screws.
Rip 1 x 2 in half using a table saw.
First cut the 1 x 2 in half (@48 inches) with a miter saw, then use a table saw to rip it down the center length-wise. When setting the guide fence, take into consideration the thickness of the blade. You should now have 4 square dowels that are 48 inches long.
If you do not have access to a table saw, you can purchase square dowels. You need 4 of them.
Cut the length and angle of the two inside vertical pieces.
Lay 2 of the vertical pieces on your assembled frame and space them evenly. Mark where you need to cut for the correct length and angle.
My length was about 34 13/16 and the angle was about 5 degrees.
Apply wood glue to each end of the dowels and staple to the window frame.
Cut 6 inside horizontal pieces.
Cut 6 pieces of the square dowels @ 10 inches. Test these pieces for fit in the window frame. They will be too long at first, but shave off a little at a time until you get a perfect fit.
Attach inside pieces with wood glue and staples.
(Not a fancy woodworking technique, but it worked for this DIY Mama.)
Measure from the inside bottom of the frame and make a mark at 11 inches and 22 inches. Line up the 6 horizontal pieces with these marks.
Apply wood glue and staple to frame. Check for square as you go.
Sand, Stain, and Paint
Lightly sand your window and stain if desired. I used Varathane’s Dark Walnut stain. I applied the stain with a foam brush and wiped off the excess stain every few minutes with a rag.
The white paint I used was Plain White by Folk Art in the satin finish.
Distress as desired, and you are done!
All of the Valentine’s Day Decor is reversible. Here is what the mantel shelf looks like for March!