Crafty Person or Handyman/women Question?

Updated on May 20, 2010
N.G. asks from Antelope, OR
13 answers

Ok, so my husband & I are planning on making a "Play room" out of this little front room in our house.. anyway, theres a fireplace in there & It has all kinds of big, bulky rock surrounding it. Rather than remove the rock (too expensive), were going to build this wooden box type thing to go on top & around it.. My question is--I need to cover the wood with some sort of cushion or something? Is there something out there like some special pre-made Padding thats out there that I can buy? Or do I get material & stuff it to create cushion? Or do I use Foam??
any suggestions are very much appreciated.. :)
thanks, KJ

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone.. VERY, VERY helpful answers... gonna start working on it this weekend! :)

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answers from San Francisco on

I am by no means even close to being a handy-woman but I was thinking you may be able to use those foam squares that go together like a puzzle that you usually put on the floor. I bought a set of 9 for $5 at Walmart not that long ago.
just a thought for you.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Nashville on

I don't have much experience with this sort of project, but I have seen and used foam myself. Are you talking about making a bench and covering the sitting surface with foam? If so, you could get a piece of foam and cut it to the size you need with an electric carving knife (like for a turkey). Then you use spray adhesive to tack it to the wood surface. But then you would need to cover that with fabric somehow. You could also spray adhesive the fabric and tack it to the underside to pull it tight before you secured it on its base.

If you are talking about a vertical surface that would be like a contination of the walls, only in wood, I agree that making it a chalkboard/magnet board/bulletin board would be the easiest and most fun solution. All those paints are available at craft stores and hardware stores, and you can get cork board in a roll and roll it out and spray adhesive it to the surface. They you can get pieces of molding to create frames around the areas and finish the rough edges.



answers from Minneapolis on

Could you make it into something like a bookcase? Or paint it with chalkboard/magnetic paint and it becomes a usable piece. Another idea is to make it like an easel so they could do artwork on it. If you could use big foam multi-colored puzzle pieces that are used on the floor.



answers from Sacramento on

I see you have had 11 answers, so you may already have the answer you needed ??
First thing you will need to do is frame out the fireplace using 2x4's around the perimeter area of the rock. You may need to buy(or rent) a nail gun. This will allow you to add drywall over the old rock area.Nail drywall to the 2x4's you used to frame out(bottom,along top, & both side's) the fireplace. Get advice on installing drywall from Home Depot or Lowes or ?? You will need drywall tape & plaster. The tape is used between the piece's of drywall,so that you will not see the seam when you are done. Drywall tape is not really a tape, it has no adhesive...the drywall mud is what will keep the tape attached. Let it dry per instructions, then you will need to sand it down till smooth...this may require a couple of times of mud application. You can get how to books at any Home Depot or Lowes. Once mud is smooth the wall can be primed & painted. Some walls also have a texture to them. You can also purchase texture in a can @ Home Depot etc....
Honestly, if you just ask at any home center they will help you. Most home centers have construction contractors that work for them, most will answer any questions you may have....Hope this helps you..



answers from San Francisco on

A daycare I went to had a wooden box covering the fireplace, they just covered it with material, no padding. I would use the foam padding and then pick a material that will blend with your theme and put that over it and staple it to the back side of the box. I've not done it myself but I've watched it a ton of times on the DIY network. You should be able to do a search on and it will give you step by step instructions. The nice thing about the wooden box is you can remove it when you want the fireplace back and no damage has been done to the fireplace. It's also a good selling feature down the road to keep. Good luck.



answers from Sacramento on

I would suggest foam backing. You can get it at Joannes in the back with the upholstry stuff. Look for the green stuff. You can attach it with a staple gun and then just put fabric over it. Put an extra layer on the edges as that is where they tend to hurt themselves. Oh, one more tip, buy a can or two of Scotch Guard and when it is completely done, spray the heck out of it (get it really wet and let it dry completely) and it will stay clean for ages.



answers from Stockton on

Why not just drywall over it and then put a pretty tile or stucco on it? Chunky rock fireplaces are VERY outdated unless you live in a log cabin.
By the time you buy the plywood to build a box surround and then upholster over it you will have spent almost as much time and $$ to just give it a facelift.
Tour a few model homes to see what you like the look of. has lots of tips and ideas. Lowe's has a great service dept. that can give you pointers or do the labor for you at a very reasonable price if you don't have handy friends that can be bribed with a home cooked meal and some beers. ;)



answers from Washington DC on has gymnastics tumbling mats available for ordering. Maybe you could get one of those and wrap it around, nail it on etc. It should create an effect similar to the padding on the walls behind the basketball hoops in a school gym. It's got the bonus of being easy to install and easy to clean! :)


answers from Redding on

After you cover it with wood, foam cushions can be bought at an upholstery shop to creat a softer seating area and ad a bit of protection against falling. I think you have a great opportunity here to make a great play area instead. Have you considered making a flat front a couple feet higher than the hearth area and make a puppet stage of the hearth? Children could step up on the hearth and put on puppet shows from behind. Think of all the bright colors and cute things you could use to make it look lke a circus tent! Make a small step on the sides so its easy for small kids to step up onto the "stage" and use carpet to cover the wood on the hearth so it will be a bit softer/safer than just the wood itself. Or, depending on your kids ages, just use ply wood to go from the floor up to the ceiling at a angle and create a climbing wall. Add the foam puzzle mats on the floor for a cushion if they fall, and hook a rope into the rafters above. Im sure there are building instructions online to help figure it out. (Id have porofessionals help so you know you are making it strong and safe ) Or even just do a small wall so they can't get more than 3 or 4 feet off the floor. I can even see a neat sky and snowy mountain top mural on the rest of the wall so as they climb they can pretend they are climbing to the top of the mountain and that is the view they will have! Im sure you can think of more ideas. If you're going to spend time and money to cover the rocks and fireplace it might as well be a great useful play area instead of just a cover up. What a great opportunity you have! And if done right it will be easy to take out later when you want to move out and wont leave any major damage to repair.



answers from Sacramento on

I would use thick foam and custom fit it yourself covering it in indoor/outdoor fabric (it's more durable). And you can cover the wood box w/edging made for walls for babies in case a kid jumps and hits it. Sounds fun.


answers from Pittsburgh on

My first thought is to carpet it. You could get a nice shaggy remnant or something you like, and easily apply it to the wood.


answers from Chicago on

We built something similar around our hearth (it is made of very uneven limestone). We found a huge rag rug at Menards and nailed it to wood that we built around the hearth. It was neutral-toned and actually looked pretty good. It was so large we folded it over and that made it more protective. I just finally took it off last year and my daughter is 12. LOL. It actually looked good with the surroundings.



answers from Fresno on

You could cover the wood or cover the rock directly, with a layer of carpet paddding covered by a pretty rug or carpet . It would be soft but you could remove it in a few years if you want to change the look of the room or sell your house.

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