Emptying the shower room bin last week, I spotted a largish plastic container that had held a jumbo purchase of razor blades.
Interesting shape, I thought and then I turned it over, EUREKA! Art Deco surrounds - Wow!
Carefully cut out the three sections and trim off all projections with a craft knife.
Lay one section aside for later and cut one section down each side of the middle depression, and lay aside for now.
Working on the whole section, cut some square pieces of Balsa and glue into the top & bottom and the sides to strengthen.
Be careful to test the glue on the scrap middle of the second section as I found to my horror that the All purpose glue and Super glue melted my plastic!
Then cut a square of thinnish sheet Balsa and glue to the back over the balsa strengtheners to neaten the back. I cut mine to be level with the mantelpiece but you may want to use a taller piece if you are making a surround to match Shanni’s.
The two side pieces that were cut from the second section need strengthening in the same way as the first section with square Balsa. Then stick them either side of the first section and leave to dry.Draw around the base of the surround on a piece of card, cut out and lay aside. Black thick card would look good.
Do the same at the top to make a mantel piece, which could be marbled if you wish.
I found that I had unsightly gaps at the side where the “wings” attached so I cut two pieces of kebab stick to size and glued them in the gaps. Should have painted them black first!
Now this is where the third section comes in, needed because of the melting plastic. I painted it and pushed it over the top of my messy looking effort!
Paint the surround white, or any colour you fancy and let it dry, it might need two coats of Acrylic paint. Stick the black bottom on with non melting glue and the mantelpiece, which you have painted black, white or marbled.
Using a piece of thin paper press it in to the middle depression to make a pattern and mark the sides by running a fingernail down the edges. Cut it out and cut a piece of card from it for the fire. You could use black card and paint flames, but I decided to make it an electric fire. I cut a piece of the silver cardboard backing from a packet of smoked salmon, well washed, from the paper pattern.Push the card into the depression and cut one pointed end from each of three cocktail sticks. Measure and mark the correct length to fit into the fireplace front, stick the remaining pointed ends into a piece of polystyrene and paint the sticks red, when they are dry cut on your marked line.
Wind some thin wire around another full length cocktail stick until it is the correct length for the red stick and carefully slide it off onto the painted stick. (I tried winding the wire around a cut stick but there was not enough to hold on to.)
If all this seems too much hassle, one section on its own painted in a wood effect and with a “gas fire” in the depression and covered with a piece of acetate will make a lovely 70’s example!