Painted Wood. A Summer Fireplace Idea.

I’m a naturally curious person constantly looking for answers. Just today for example, I wondered how long I’d been walking around in public with a chicken feather hanging off my ass. A big feather. Long. Probably a tail feather in fact.

Sometimes I have to relent that some of these life questions have to go unanswered.

But others do not.  What to do with my fireplace in the summer is one of those questions I have figured out the answer to.

Painted logs.

This was an fireplace idea I implemented a few years ago. The inspiration came from Pinterest.  My niece (the one who made herself sick doing Bikram Yoga and had to go home and drink all of her kids Pedialyte.) had recently become addicted to Pinterest and was constantly sending me things.

This fireplace idea was inspired by a Pin she sent me that showed a stack of logs beside a fireplace with the ends painted.  Thank you Pinterest.  (sorry can’t attribute to where it came from … it was one of those stupid pins that doesn’t seem to lead anywhere)

When I originally published this post a few years ago Elle Decor used this image.

I took the idea one step further and displayed the painter’s palette that I used to mix my colours on.  It’s on a picture stand on the mantle.

If you’d like to get even more creative, you can print images on wood like I show you in this tutorial on printing on wood.

I just grabbed some old water based folk art paints I had in the basement and a cruddy Dollar Store brush.

Painted Logs

I sat my feather covered ass down and got to work.  An hour later it was done.  Where did the hour go?  Well … 5 minutes can be attributed to mixing and painting the logs.  The other 55 minutes involved  staring at the wood deciding which pieces to paint which colour.

Looking back on this makes me sad for one MAJOR reason.  A couple of years after this I finally succumbed to putting my television over my mantle because that was the most logical place for it. It’s ugly. I hate it. But I also hate twisting my head in a circle in order to see the television.  In the end practicality won over aesthetics.

It wood looked great, took no time at all and cost nothing.  Where’s that ass feather now you ask?  Right in my cap.


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Painted Wood. A Summer Fireplace Idea.


  1. Naomi says:

    Awesome idea for putting a little summer into your fireplace. I’d admire the logs while eating smores. Just sayin’.

  2. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I don’t have a fireplace here but that certainly brightens yours up for the season..and yeah..the Devil log is a bit scary..I suggest you burn him first..just sayin..

  3. marilyn says:


  4. Jenny says:

    Best blog ever. My fireplace has been closed off. I wonder if painting logs fire colors would look dumb? Any decorative fireplace ideas?

    • Karen says:

      Jenny – I thought of using a fire coloured palette. I think it’s a great idea! Especially if your fireplace isn’t in use in the winter. The colours I used here are kind of summery because that’s the only time the logs will be in the fireplace. Come winter it’ll be filled with a real fire. So my vote is yes … fire colours of red, orange, yellow etc. would look great. ~ karen!

  5. JennC says:

    Beautiful! I’m totally stealing this idea. AND I noticed that you have the same pillow I do (on the yellow chair), once again confirming our mutually good taste.
    So glad you are back!!

  6. Vicky says:

    Tail feather on your tail. How appropriate! Welcome back, I missed you.

  7. Marion says:

    Perfect. This would also be really neat painted gold and silver for Christmas/winter (hopefully nobody has said this so far, I don’t read all the comments…)

    Also, we need pictures of that feather in your cap. Although somehow I feel you will just eventually stick it in a vase, plop it down on your table and it will be fabulous!

    • Karen says:

      Hi marion – No one else suggested gold and silver but that would look GREAT. For me the only problem would be come October 1st, that fireplace is blazing. And it continues to blaze until around April 15th! ~ karen

  8. Linda S in NE says:

    Karen, I am negligent in welcoming you back, but please know how happy I am to see “The Art of Doing Stuff” in my inbox every day. Your little respite coincided perfectly for me, because I lost my husband to Alzheimer’s disease at about the same time. Needless to say, laughter was not flowing through this home. It’s time for me to heal now, and reading what you write, and what your fans write, will help in that process. Take care of Karen.

  9. Nancy R. says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’m new to your website and this is my first post. I love your blog – so witty and brainy. So glad you’re back :-)

  10. Kim says:

    The real questions is did you shake the tail feather? :)

    Fireplace looks great!

  11. annie says:

    Makes me miss my fireplace – just moved South this summer…

  12. Jeannie B says:

    Karen, you are so clever. I’m so glad to be able to read your posts in the morning. Thanks for coming back.

  13. Linda Robbins says:

    I showed this to my husband, and his response was “just what, exactly, does this woman DO all day?” Men.

  14. Bonnie says:

    I love your constraint. I would have gone wild and painted every log a different color–every log. Then, it would have been too much. But, you–constraint. I have to learn that.

  15. Sera says:

    I love it! I agree, the palette ties it all together. I have one of those ugly glass screens in front of my fireplace. I’d take it down, but I also have wind whistling through the bricks of the chimney. Ah, homeownership.

  16. Oona says:

    Love it. Super simple idea with a big impact. Those are my favorite projects.

  17. says:

    beautiful project!

  18. Melissa says:

    Ooh, I like this. Want to do it with a small bundle!

  19. Dagmar says:

    Oh what a lovely idea, only now I’m super scared, after watching a story on GlobalTV online yesterday (Aug.13/13) about wood and the critters that it brings into the home. Apparently, the GTA has a *huge* problem with termites. And they are destroying our homes faster than we can save them. And letting those little critters into our homes with wood and soil and veggies and such is destroying any chances we have of saving them! Scary isn’t it.

  20. heidi says:

    So beautiful! It reminds me of summer camp (we’d always paint wood). Makes me wish I’d had a fireplace. I’m pinning this one for my dream house ideas.

    Glad you’re back!

  21. Laura Bee says:

    Pretty! Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a gas fireplace. Maybe a totally useless but beautiful stack of wood beside it?
    I have the wood, we just had to take down a dead birch. As well as six mostly dead cedars along the back of our property. The backyard is a bit of a mess now but we have great plans. It’s my big project!

  22. Karen, you should have seen what was flitting through my mind when I first read the title of this post…I was thinking of entirely painted pieces of wood. Also, all the pieces were split, not nice and round, since that’s the way all our wood is. My imaginary fireplace wasn’t nearly as pretty as yours is :)

  23. Scott says:

    Hi Karen, so happy to have you back. It sounds like you are doing well and I’m glad to hear it. Love to you from all.

  24. Angie says:


    Just wanted to say welcome back. I’m like one of your other followers mostly a lurker. But I love reading you posts because mostly they make me laugh.

    I’m glad your back. Wishing you the best as you embark on this journey in your life.

  25. Holly says:

    Karen, I LOVE this! I’ve not seen it on Pinterest but I’m pinning your pic, it’s probably better than the original anyway. I hate pins that lead to nowhere.

  26. Cindy says:

    Glad to see you back!

    I thought the first photo was the inspiration photo, followed by yours. I thought, “wow, hers looks just like it!” Duh . . .

    • Cindy says:

      That is funny cindy.. i thought the same thing! maybe it is in our name!!
      Great post karen… You make me laugh and inspire me too! Just found your blog when I saw the feature in style at home mag. Now I am hooked!

  27. Elizabeth W. says:

    Very nice, Karen! Summer does makes you itch to get anything wintry gone. Here in the Southeastern U.S. we’ve had a total of about 3 and 1/2 days of sunshine since June 1. I’m ready to paint a big yellow sunshine on several walls. My dogs don’t even want to go outside because the grass is always wet and the ground muddy.

    Some of those logs look like they need faces. Like the aforementioned devil log on top. Or, maybe it just needs to become a sculpture. With the chicken feather.
    It is so good to have you back and writing, I laughed really, really loud at yesterdays’ post and the comments that followed. This is such a wickedly fun site, and I appreciate you!
    (Also, I added my last initial since we have other Elizabeths that post comments)

  28. Pate says:

    Cute, did you have to spray the logs with anything to keep the little critters out of your LR?
    I’m particularly worried about the little horny log up on top, it’s a hoot. Doesn’t that one want a little red paint?
    I’m going to do it in my wood pile so it looks like polka dots, thanks for the idea.
    I saw a card a few weeks ago and I would have mailed it to you had I known your address, it was something to the effect,

    We all stumble and fall down. It’s getting up again that
    Is living .

    You are an amazing woman and I know that wonderful things are in store for you. Listen to Peter Pan and think wonderful and good thoughts.


  29. mia pratt says:

    Beautiful! I shall do this! Oddly, it reminded me nostalgically of those oval colored pastel buttermints my mother used to sit out on the coffee table just in case company came, along with a crystal dish of cigarettes and a giant crystal decorator cigarette lighter. I’m a fan of plants in the fireplace, I believe I might just go hog-wild and do the painted logs AND THEN a plant, too. Gawd, it’s all just too much fun, isn’t it?

  30. Ann says:

    Cute. But I would not suggest that anyone ever burn the wood that they have painted. I wouldn’t trust even a water based paint to not have fumes.

    Have you ever seen the pics of people who artistically stack their firewood?

    I am just wondering where people get their energy. Most days I am lucky to just put enough wood on the fire to stay warm!

    • Whoa, those pix are incredible! I’m wondering how the first lady gets a piece of wood out of the stack without the whole thing falling on her!

    • kate-v says:

      great!!! now that we’ve had the artistic painting of logs – to match palette on the mantle, I’m just waiting the artistic stacking of the wood – maybe a giant woodpile chicken – or a stalk of brussels sprouts – since that is the only way brussels sprouts would appear in the yard.
      — it is good to have you back —

  31. Nancy says:

    That feather is exactly where it belongs now! :)

    Your post made my day!

  32. Rose says:

    You could paint a red devil face on the face of that log.

  33. Shelley says:

    I like the look of the painted logs but I love the palette on display – it looks like flowers!

  34. Sue Ann says:

    Love it, but my favorite is the color pallet on the mantle. Hope you’re doing well. I love your blog and have missed you.

  35. Lynn says:

    Love the look….draws the eye to brightness! That feather looks great in your cap by the way!

  36. Maureen Locke says:

    Love it, looks incredible though to be truthful, my eyes were instantly drawn to the colourful palette. That’s a super great idea too. Not hard to tell I’m not an artist, because I NEVER would have thought to mix colours to get the shade I wanted. lol Duhhhh

  37. mimiindublin says:

    I love the “log with horns” on top of the pile, guarding the rest of them!

  38. Candace says:

    Fun colors! Looks like a box of colored pencils.

  39. SJ says:

    Edit: Click the image to expand it before dragging to the desktop.

  40. SJ says:

    Discovered how to find articles on Pinterest that don’t go anywhere.
    Click the image then drag it to your desktop (double-click the title bar of your browser to give access to your desktop).
    Open, click on Images on the menu bar, then drag the saved jpeg from the desktop to the search field.
    Double-click the browser’s title bar again and you’ll see lots of links to the item. Hopefully, you find what you want somewhere there.

    • Karen says:

      SJ – I can’t WAIT to try that! ~ karen

      • Shauna says:

        Karen, I think this can be a post for you. We need step by step instructions of this with pictures.

        • Karen says:

          I’ve already tried it Shauna. it worked and it didn’t work. It does tell you where to find the picture on the Internet, but doesn’t tell you where to find the original posting of it. :( ~ karen

        • Stephanie Hobson says:

          You have to be a true detective (or like a dog with a bone, as a friend recently described me) to find the truly original source. Every place that picture was ever posted will come up… every Pin, every Facebook post, usually with pages and pages of results. But if you keep going you *might* find the original, only to find that was in Sweden or (gasp) maybe even Canada! (ha ha… I’m soooo funny!)It’s all good though if you’re simply wanting to give props to the originator; not so good if you are looking for a tutorial.

      • SJ says:

        Further to this, I’ve been consistently getting to what seem to be the originals by clicking the image to enlarge it, then clicking it again. I don’t know if it works all the time but I’ve been clicking away just now and they’ve all worked so far. Might be worth trying.

        • Karen says:

          Hi SJ – That sometimes works, but generally speaking it doesn’t take you to the original. It just takes you to wherever the person from Pinterest got it. So if someone takes a picture of my painted logs, and puts it on *their* website (and doesn’t give me credit for it) suddenly it seems like the logs came from that person … when they didn’t. After a few more people do that it gets to be almost impossible to find the original source. ~ karen!

        • SJ says:

          Ah, ok. Pinterest needs to have something in place then so that the original is preserved. Darn! :)

  41. Jerrica says:

    I’ve seen that pin – I thought they’d used chalk. I like yours better, using paint. I’m pinning your feather ass :)

  42. Vanessa from New Zealand says:

    wahahahahaha in my cap…..I’ve been a silent observer and maybe its just cause I’m over winter and need some sun but the chook feather on your butt and now in your cap had me rolling around and yes I’ve run out of oestregen* estroegen* oestroegen* achhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh cream
    and welcome back your oyster awaits

  43. Barbie says:

    Interesting….makes me wish I had a regular fireplace instead of a gas one. Love the Palette on the mantle!

  44. dana says:

    Love it! So glad u are back! Many times it crossed my mind what if she never returns? Where will I get my chicken fix?

  45. Claire says:

    Love it! Probably wouldn’t burn them come winter though….unless the paints are non-toxic ; )

  46. Emily says:

    Hooray! You’re back!

  47. terry says:

    brilliant – great colors love the palette art- summer no longer so lonely for the fireplace- must try this

  48. motherhen says:

    That devil looking log on the top left scares me, or is it a bat, or an upside down pig?
    The palette is clearly the winner here.

    • Emily says:

      It DOES look like a upside down bat-pig. LOL

    • BarBee says:

      Oh, now I get it.

    • Mary W says:

      I thought it was a log wearing a ‘pussy’ hat – but it wasn’t pink! It was the first thing I saw instead of the paint. I l also loved the white bark logs on top. In FL these would just be a perfect home for bugs and spiders in the summer so I can’t get too attached to the look even if it’s a good look. Spiders rule by life – except for that really cute one on YT. That hat on a log does look a bit evil!

    • SusanR says:

      That’s a Siamese cat log, with it’s eyes and mouth shut. The reason you probably didn’t recognize it is because they almost NEVER have their mouths and eyes shut during daylight.

  49. Lauren from Winnipeg says:

    Welcome back from another lurker. I feel like I’m in LA (Lurkers Anonymous). My name is Lauren and it’s been two years since my last comment…

    This is a cool idea. And if you don’t like the effect, you can always burn the logs and start again :)

  50. elaine says:

    artist’s pallette is a nice touch, too
    brings it all together

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