DIY Cardboard Faux Logs

by Brenna

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 :)

Suggested For You


  • 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!

  • 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?

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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)

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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 Amazon.ca…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!

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.