diy project: cardboard faux logs

I have always adored a fireplace in the living room. Nothing beats the warm (in more ways than one) feeling that it brings. We have a great fireplace in our cozy little house, but we also have a little girl. As much as I would love to have a glowing fire in our fireplace and a hot cup of cider and a good book to go with it, a fire just doesn’t work with our lifestyle at the moment. So in the meantime, to achieve that cozy feeling, I made cardboard logs to hold the fire’s place.

Made of rolled corrugated cardboard, these logs are coated with plaster to add texture and a clean birch look. The cut ends are reminiscent of the rings in big, hefty logs, and the handmade appeal brings a special, fireless warmth that a pile of wooden logs can’t produce. So put away your axe, get out your scissors and fill your fireplace with handmade warmth! – Brenna (paper + ink)

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • 12″ wide single-faced corrugated cardboard (aka “corrugated wrap”)
  • masking tape
  • scissors
  • X-Acto knife or mat knife
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • plaster of Paris
  • small bucket


1. With the ridged side out, roll the cardboard up as tight as you can into cylinders of varying sizes. Cut along the ridges with the scissors. My cylinders ranged anywhere from 5″ to 8″.

2. Hot glue the end of the cardboard roll to the body of the log.

3. Make a couple more cylinders, only 1″ to 2″ this time, and glue closed.

4. With the scissors or the X-Acto knife, cut the small cylinders at an angle, about 2″ to 4″ up, then at the next 2″ to 4″ measurement, cut the cylinder straight across. Repeat. These short pieces will make the branches that stick out from the log.

5. Hot glue the short branches to the main body of the log, with the angled side on the log. Use the masking tape to secure until the hot glue cools.

6. To apply the plaster to the logs, first remove all the tape on the outside of the log. You can use your hands to mix the plaster; just remember to remove your jewelry.

7. Play with mixing the plaster until you get a thin paste. The directions say to mix one part of water with two parts of plaster. I started with this ratio and added more plaster to obtain a thin paste similar to the consistency of runny oatmeal.

8. With your fingers, spread the plaster on the log with the direction of the ribs of the cardboard. Cover the sides of the log only, not the ends. You can add as much or as little texture as you like with the plaster.

9. Let the plaster set at least a couple of hours.

10. Arrange the logs in the fireplace, grab a mug of hot cider and a good book, and feel the warmth :)

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida

This is a great idea for summer use as well. We do have fires, lots of them, but come summer, the fireplace looks dark and dreary. This would give it a much brighter look. Great tutorial,. I’m trying this.


I NEVER would have thought of this idea only it turned out so cute! How fun what a cute way to adorn the fireplace especially in the “off” months.


What an awesome idea! It’s so creative and the “logs” are so realistic looking. Love it and will definitely try it at home in my faux fireplace : )


Anthropologie did something like this for their Christmas floor sets & I’ve liked the idea ever since! I love how these logs are painted white–adds an extra brightness!

Paulina J!

This is just darling! It’s on my to do list. Very


I love this! I just moved into a new place with a
“decorative fireplace”, which is a euphemism for it no longer works
but we left it there. This is a PERFECT idea to make it look


i adore this idea! i have an older, non-working fireplace
and this will make an easy and inexpensive way to decorate

Sarah Jane

Brilliant! Our fireplace doesn’t work…old house…haven’t renovated this part yet. Love this idea! Thanks!


now i just need to know how to make a faux fireplace on a blank wall… i’m thinking chalk or paint :P


This is such a clever and fun idea! I wish I’d thought of it myself. Very cool especially for those with non-functional fireplaces – very cool.


hi all! thanks for the great comments! i found my corrugated wrap online. you can google “single faced corrugated cardboard” or “corrugated wrap”. companies like uline and paper mart carry it, but there are a few smaller etailers there too. good luck!


I can’t believe they are made from cardboard… at first glance, I would have never known…. I’m DIY up to a certain point.. but fear I’d fail miserably if I tried to make this.


Those logs look so cute! I’m sure they would attract my kids to the fireplace faster than a fire!

Daphne Collins

Real aspen/birch logs look great too. I love mine, are natural, last for years. God did all the work, has a pretty solid artistic reputation, is extremely cost effective. They give a very similar look. You might consider it. : )

Daphne Collins

PS – my home was built in 1890 and my fireplace is not used either.


This is so cool.
Wow, I cannot believe how much I love Design Sponge – although admittedly a (delightful) distraction from work.
Good job all!


Ah JEEZE LOUISE this are brill!!! I LOVE them. Must try out soon. I’ve 9 fireplaces in my house and they look so bare all summer. I put in houseplants, candles etc. but this is THE JOB!! Thanks!!

Janice Alex

I just love this idea who knew that you could make something so great out of ribs of cardboard. Keep them coming….


this would be great as 3-d art and a good way for people
who want the look of a fireplace without the hassle.. I think I
might use this idea to do that!


I’ve been looking for an idea for my fireplace and I believe I’ve found it. Thanks!


Gorgeous. Best DIY I’ve seen in a long time and perfect for my house as well.

How much corrugated wrap did it take to make this many (7-8?) logs?

Mary Sue

Great idea! I would do the logs a bit better though, so that they don’t resemble industrial paper rolls, though. Maybe adding some texture would work?
The pile of wood in the fireplace is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. This is a truly unique take on the subject.


Yes but where do you get real aspen/birch logs in North Carolina?
Love, love, love this idea for my nonworking fireplace. Plus, it will lighten up the dark hole! Thanks for this great project!


Really excited to see you and this project on Martha Stewart this week!!!

Carrie Mistretta

Watched this on Martha Sreward show! you did varry good! will be trying this varry soon!


This is so fun…for a glow I would arrange a string of lights around the logs.


This is so KEWL and smart! I think I might use this idea to try to make a coffee table…

lucy mcnemar

i donn’t like the logs i just love them so very much thank you so very much for shareing them with us . keep up the good wooks . love and prayers lucy mcnemar

Cub leader

This is an awesome idea, I’m going to use this for my Cub Scouts to make their own log for their Arrow of Light crossover ceremony, I’m going to have them paint them afterwards, to look like darker wood and add the AOL symbol, like it’s engraved. We will then stack them around a fake fire pot to look like a real camp fire. Thanks so much!


great tutorial but DO NOT use your hands to mix plaster of paris.
Plaster of paris releases heat as it hardens and there have been instances in England of a girl losing 8 of her fingers from heat burns after she submerged her hands into plaster of paris and it set around them, reaching temperatures of 60’c (140’f)


Or you could just follow this two step process:

1. Buy some logs.

2. Paint them white.

Darren Moser

Beautiful use of cardboard.
May I please use your last image of the cardboard log stack in my cardboard blog? I am working on a backlog of posts and want to make an icon to jump to these posts and alert people to new ones. The image is ccl_detail.jpg

audrey wilmot

I wanted to know where to get the a cardboard
2. how much cardboard to make this many logs????
3. i would like to add a little lighting that flickers can you help guide me please
4. annd i like your log placement can you make a little drawing to say this goes here that goes there
thank you
hope you answer soon with holidays coming i want to get this made

Lily The Crafting Bargain Hunter

This is super gorgeous! Christmas is in a few months (I know, I know, It’s September and I’m already getting ready!) and I’m doing DIY’s to decorate the house: I’m making a folded newspaper Christmas tree, decorations, a fireplace out of some material I’ve had in my house for years! It’s not as bendable as cardboard, it crumbles away if you try to bend it but I think it would look great as a vintage word print fireplace and those logs sure would compliment it! Thanks!


Hi, I needed to create a fake log for a school project. I really like your idea a lot and would like to know if I can paint the log brown after plastering?

Thank u


So cool looking! Just ordered my corrugated roll from…hope mine turn out as great as these!


These look great. I need some fake logs for a camp fire for a stage play and these will do the trick. However, I’ll probably paint mine a different colour, or add some small dark lines to make it look even more like Silver Birch.


Looks good! U can also add layers of tissue paper and drag I to wet plaster for “bark” as we did at arts and crafts camp 25 yrs ago! U just lay thin sheets into semi set plaster and mold to shape. A set design trick for theatre… Please tell me you’re not failing to use your fireplace just because you have a child ! when it’s only been in the last 75 years or so that children haven’t been around fireplaces as a “normal” part of home…lol. There are ways to avoid the dangers…great solution for city dwellers w non working FPs!