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Build a Swiveling Mantel-Top Art Display

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Change the mood of your room with a rotating mantel-top display. You can customize it to fit any mantel, and change artwork and photos with a just a quick spin.

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Project Overview

Skill Level

Intermediate

Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost

$$$$$$

Tools and Materials

Tools

  • Table saw or circular saw with a fine-tooth blade
  • Tape measure
  • Square
  • Sandpaper (medium and fine grits)
  • Electric drill and bits
  • Slotted and Phillips screwdrivers
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
  • Hacksaw
  • 4 12" bar clamps
  • Putty knife
  • Utility knife
  • Plumb bob
  • Iron

Materials

  • 3 3/4" diameter x 36" threaded rods (#44678)
  • 12 3/4" flat washers (#61702)
  • 12 3/4"-10 hex nuts (#135670)
  • 24 1" aluminum round-head post screws (#137865)
  • 24 3/16" aluminum flathead post screws (#137868)
  • 2 48" x 24" clear acrylic sheets (#11220)
  • 2 3/4" x 2' x 4' oak plywood sheets (#6222)
  • 3 1" x 4" x 4' red oak boards (#1046)
  • 3/4" x 25' red oak iron-on edge banding (#16545)
  • Titebond II wood glue (#218256)
  • 5-minute epoxy (#20640)
  • Minwax wood filler, 1 ounce (#164700)
  • Minwax ebony stain, 8 ounces (#35742)
  • Minwax semi-gloss polyurethane, half-pint (#45870)
  • 4d x 1-1/2" finish nails, 1 pound (#69151)

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Instructions

Vary the size and number of panels to suit your room, mantel or display needs. We made these in three sizes to show what’s possible. You can tailor each display’s width to suit your space, but make sure there’s enough space from the back wall for the display to turn.

Cut the Parts

Step 1

After you determine the size and number of displays you want, decide on the size and number of plywood panels. The height of each acrylic panel will be 2" less than the plywood panels. The width of the acrylic panels will be 1" less than the two end plywood panels and the same width as the middle plywood panel or panels. With your dimensions in hand, have the pairs of acrylic panels cut to size in pairs (one pair on each face of the display) by a Lowe's associate.

Step 2

From 1" x 4" red oak boards, cut four parts each for the upper and lower box frames. Size the frames to make them 1/2" narrower than the width of the panels.

Step 3

On two of the box frame horizontal parts, draw diagonal lines to find the centers. Stack a marked piece on an unmarked one and drill 3/4" holes through both. Repeat for the other pair. (Keep these together for assembly later.)

Step 4

Cut the pairs of plywood panels you'll attach to the box frames. Cut strips of edge banding 1" longer than the plywood edges and ends. Use an iron to press the end strips in place first and trim them flush with the plywood edges. Then iron on the edge strips and cut them flush with the banding on the ends. Carefully trim the excess width from the strips with a utility knife and sand them flush with the plywood faces.

Assemble the Displays

Step 1

Glue and clamp the box frame tops and bottoms to the sides. After the glue dries, drill 1/16" pilot holes and drive finishing nails to reinforce the joints. Set the nail heads beneath the surface, cover the holes with wood filler, and sand the surfaces smooth after the filler dries.

Step 2

On each pair of plywood panels, measure and mark the four acrylic panel mounting screw locations. (The end panels will have unequal offsets along the outside edges to create a "border" effect.) Using tape, mark each panel with its location and "A" or "B" side. Test your hole locations by laying acrylic panels on each plywood panel. Then drill 1/4" holes 1/2" deep.

Good to Know

If you don't have drill bit depth-stops (#299825), wrap the bit with a piece of tape at the depth you want.

Step 3

Sand the plywood panels smooth and stain only their inside faces and edges. On the box frames, apply clear finish only to the outside faces.

Step 4

Inset the box frames 1/4" from the edges, top, and bottom of a plywood panel and lightly mark the location on the plywood. Apply glue to the edges of one box frame, lay the plywood panel in position and nail through the plywood to fasten the panel to the box frame. Repeat to attach the other box frame. Add the second plywood panel and repeat for the remaining displays.

Step 5

After the glue dries, sink the nail heads, putty the holes and sand the outside faces smooth. Then stain them to match the rest of the panel. Finish the whole display with three coats of clear satin polyurethane.

Step 6

Use epoxy adhesive to anchor the threaded ends of the 3/16" aluminum extensions (#137868) to the holes in the plywood.

Step 7

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Lay the display on spacers to keep the aluminum extensions from touching any surface below. Tape one pair of acrylic sheets together, rest them on the extensions, and mark the screw locations with a fine-tip marker or scratch awl. Then drill holes just wide enough to accept the screws from the 1" aluminum extensions.

Install the Displays

Step 1

Measure from the mantel to the ceiling and cut the threaded rods 1-1/2" longer than that distance. (Take several measurements and use the longest one.)

Good to Know

Nuts can be hard to thread onto a cut end where the thread has been marred. Make it easier by threading a nut onto the rod before its cut. Removing the nut straightens the damaged thread.

Step 2

With the display still laying flat on spacers, insert a threaded rod through the box frames with equal lengths extending from the top and bottom. Slide a washer down the threaded rod to the top box frame, followed by a nut resting against the washer. Repeat for the bottom box frame. Then add nuts to the top and bottom of the threaded rod about 3" from the ends. Repeat this step for the remaining displays.

Step 3

Determine the spacing of the displays on the mantel. Drill 3/4" holes 3/4" deep in the mantel. Using a plumb bob or string and weight, find and mark the corresponding locations directly overhead on the ceiling. Drill through the drywall or 1-1/2" deep if there's a joist.

Step 4

Slide a 3/4" washer onto the top end of the threaded rod. Lift the top of the rod into a hole in the ceiling, place a washer over the hole in the mantel, and lower the display in place. Turn the nut on the bottom until it presses against the washer and keeps the threaded rod from digging into the mantel. Then tighten the top nut until it presses the other washer snugly against the ceiling. Repeat for the remaining displays.

Step 5

Full view of swiveling art display

Sort photos and artwork for display and attach them to the bottom acrylic sheet using double-face tape. (Doing all the sheets for one side of each display at a time helps keep things organized.) Lay the second sheet over the art for protection and position both sheets over the aluminum extensions. Then use only the screws from the 1" extensions to hold the acrylic panels in place.