Wall-Mounted TV Disguise Tutorial

As promised, here is my super long and boring (but hopefully helpful) tutorial for disguising a wall-mounted TV.  First things first - you should have a flat panel TV that is mounted with a stationary (non-swivel) mount.  If you have a tilt mount you can probably modify these instructions slightly to get this to work.

If you haven't hidden the cords yet, you will probably want to go ahead and do that now.  Here's a nifty tutorial for running wires through walls and installing outlets behind your TV to hide cables.  We simply figured out where we wanted the wires to end up, punched some holes in the wall in strategic spots, and ran the cables through.
To start on the frame, take a trip to the hardware store and look at the moulding aisle.  We picked out a fairly thick crown moulding.  Be sure whatever you pick out will completely hide the TV frame plus about an extra inch in width.  This is roughly how we went about constructing the frame.
We also attached a thinner piece of crown moulding underneath the outside of the frame so that it looked good from the side, added wood putty to any cracks we had and painted it out in our trim color.
 My sad little diagram showing how everything fits together.
The next step is to make the box that will connect to the frame and hide the sides of the TV and the gap between the TV and the wall.  This is as simple as getting four 1x4's, cutting them to length and nailing them together on the corners.  Just be sure to measure everything first to make sure that the box will fit exactly over the TV and will meet up with both the wall and the frame!
Then attach your frame to the box with nails and glue.  At this point you'll probably want to check to make sure that the box and frame fit nicely over your TV.  Hopefully it does!  Then you'll need to paint out the box to match the frame.

WARNING - Possible heat issue for the TV.
To keep the TV from overheating, we drilled lots of holes in the top and bottom of the box to cool air to flow up from below, and hot air to escape from the top of your TV.  Please, please, please be very careful to monitor how hot your TV is while you have the frame and box around it.  Try turning on your TV and feeling for heat underneath the box every few minutes, up to however long you normally have your TV on.  I don't take responsibility if anyone's TV overheats!  My husband has even considered putting a small fan in the top of the box to improve airflow.
The next step is to figure out where your remote sensor is on the TV frame, and where that translates to on the wooden frame.  Mark that spot and drill a 1/2" - 3/4" hole there so you will still be able to use your remote control.  To conceal this hole, we stretched a scrap of thin white fabric over a coiled up piece of wire the size of the opening and fit the whole thing into the hole.  (This ended up being too much wire in the way, we switched to a smaller piece of wire that did the same thing but caused less interference with the remote)
You'll want to make sure before doing this that your remote control will work through the fabric!  When you've assembled it, it should look something like this:
Now you're ready to mount the box over the TV.  With the way our TV and box fit together, the best way to mount the box - without blocking those oh-so-important air holes - was to drill a thin piece of wood into studs at the appropriate level above the TV.  The weight of the box will rest on this piece of wood, rather than the TV, and a couple of screws will keep the box attached to the wood so it doesn't move or slide off.
Be sure to double-check your measurements here.  The box should fit snugly around the TV, so if you're off by just a little it could mean that the whole thing won't work.

Now put the frame and box in place over the TV.  Check out the sides of the box where it meets the wall.  Chances are you'll have a small gap.  We did, too.  So we went back to the store and picked up a thin piece of moulding and tacked it onto the box with a nail gun while making sure it was in position to hide the gap completely.
If you're smart (not like us) you might want to wait to paint the whole thing - frame, box, and moulding - until this step. 
Now you should have something like this, which is a big improvement already, no?
 You can stop here and be satisfied with having dressed up the big black box a little, or you can be discontent like me and move onto the next step: artwork. 
We came up with a few different ideas on how to incorporate artwork.  One involved a rollershade, another - a windshield screen.  But sometimes the simplest solution is the best.  In this case, it meant creating another frame to fit perfectly inside the first one, and then stretching a canvas over it.
We made our own stretcher bars, but if you're lucky enough to find the exact sizes you need at an art supply store and don't mind shelling out a little extra cash, you could buy them. Be sure to leave just a teeny bit of wiggle room for the fabric when determining how big to make the frame.  Then stretch your canvas and make sure it fits.  As you can see, we ended up with a tiny gap at the top and bottom of the canvas, but sometimes you just have to work around imperfections. 
Now you're ready to get artsy!  You could paint the canvas (like I did), or you could decoupage it, or use vinyl decals to decorate it.  You could also stretch a pretty patterned fabric over the frame instead of a solid canvas.  Sky's the limit here. 
Hopefully this was helpful to anyone out there who is thinking about doing this.  Please let me know if I wasn't clear enough or if you have questions.  I'd love to see if anyone else does something similar!


Julia @ Hooked on Houses said... Best Blogger Tips

So clever, Britt! I love this idea. Thanks for sharing it with us! :-)

Porch Days said... Best Blogger Tips

A very successful project! It looks great.

Christina said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow. I wish I had seen this before I bought an armoire. So creative!

Happy Nester said... Best Blogger Tips

I love this idea. I have seen Plasma frames being sold through Pottery Barn, but I didn't like the price. I will have to show my husband this. Thanks for sharing.

erinlovesdesign said... Best Blogger Tips

This is a great project! Thanks for the instructions - I might be doing this one myself!

Pam @ bibbidi-bobbidi-beautiful said... Best Blogger Tips

So clever! So, how does the artwork come off when you want to watch TV? Do you just pop it off?
You're inspiring me to try to do something about the mammoth eye sore(non-flatscreen)big screen tv in our basement play/family room. Maybe I can cover it somehow... hmmmm...

Travis Kerr said... Best Blogger Tips

That is great! We've been trying to figure out how to do ours because it is nothing but plaster over bricks, and we want the two way mirror glass in the frame... mostly so I don't have to hear hubbies friends complain that they can tell it's actually a TV. lol

The How-To Gal said... Best Blogger Tips

Holy wow that is so cool. We did something similar, but with a projection screen instead of a TV. Check it out here

The Pennington Point said... Best Blogger Tips

It's fabulous! But I have the same question as Pam. How is the artwork attached and how does it come off? I made a cover for my TV on my link from Hooked on Houses...not as cute as yours, but it was FREE! :) Lisa~ www.livingmybestlifeii-lisa.blogspot.com

Britt said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks Terry! You know, I'm not a fan of TV's over the fireplace, either, but my husband really wanted one and he did pick up and move half way across the country so we could live near my family, so I had to give in - it was part of the bargain. :) I can't believe you photoshopped that for me! It does look great - I really may end up doing that. Thanks for the suggestion!

Casey said... Best Blogger Tips

If we ever get a wall mounted tv, I'll have to give this a try, it's an awesome idea!

Nori said... Best Blogger Tips

You are amazing! I love your tutorial and love how you thought of all of the little details. It turned out beautiful!
Nori @love-2-create

Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick said... Best Blogger Tips

Absolutely love this! It makes me want to mount our tv!

kristenly said... Best Blogger Tips

this is fabulous! thanks for sharing!

Vintage Junky said... Best Blogger Tips

That is great! I wish ours was mounted. Love the artwork!



sara @ it's good to be queen said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow, that looks amazing! :)

Mrs. Katie Picciottoli said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm curious if you have a dvd player, etc and what you did to hide/connect it to the tv? Love the idea of this!

Wall Plasma said... Best Blogger Tips

nice... thanks.

Mcrowt said... Best Blogger Tips

When stretching the canvas over the 2nd frame. How do you watch TV... I get what you said about the roller shade but it doesn't appear that you used one in this case.

Britt said... Best Blogger Tips

Mcrowt - the painting is on a canvas that is stretched over a frame - just like a canvas painting you'd find in a store. It fits perfectly inside the frame around the TV, so we just place it inside the opening and because it fits so snugly it stays in place until we pull it down. It's so simple, but for some reason it's hard to explain. Does that answer your question?

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

hi i love this idea but i am trying to find out how to frame my tv only at the front as i have ambilight at the sides of mine so i dont want the sides covered how do i do this so i am only framing the front and without the canvas

Britt said... Best Blogger Tips

I only have one idea that might work for covering just the front and not the sides of a TV. You might be able to find some kind of brackets that will mount to the wall above the TV that you could then attach a regular open-backed frame to. It might be helpful to just go to the hardware store and look around for inspiration. Hope this helps!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Love this; I will finally allow a tv in our bedroom with this idea!! I also love the painted wallpaper idea, and LOVE your blog! Can't stop reading it and am an instant fan! I found you by googling ideas for my sliding glass door/drapes...so glad I did!
It won't let me comment as my google log-in, so it will say anonymous but I'm Jamie in AZ! :)
Looking forward to reading more!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Any trouble with heat building up inside frame?

Britt said... Best Blogger Tips

We haven't had any problems with heat building up. We made sure to put plenty of air holes in the top and we check it occasionally to make sure it doesn't feel too hot. No problems yet, though!

Sixty-Fifth Avenue said... Best Blogger Tips

This is fantastic!!

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gowshika said... Best Blogger Tips

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Shauna said... Best Blogger Tips

We have a similar setup with the TV above the fireplace, although ours looks more like your before photos ;) I have been trying to figure out how you ran the cords through the wall, because they have to go sideways, not just straight down between studs. I would love to know how you worked your wiring. You have inspired me with the frame. I never thought of doing a diy frame before - very cool, thanks!

Britt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Shauna, the big open cavity of the fireplace and the way we were running the wires made this fairly easy for us. The hookups are on the left side of the TV (as you face it), so we cut a big hole in the wall there, and we were running all the wires down to the left to a hole we cut in the wall in the nook, which now houses our built-in. Since it's just open space behind the drywall as wide as the fireplace, and probably 3 feet deep, we didn't have to drill through any studs, and we were able to use my husbands fish tape (a stiff metal line for running wires) to pull the wires from one hole to the other, and the wires didn't cross over the middle of the fireplace, we didn't have to worry about keeping them away from the flu which gets very hot when a fire is going. Hope that makes sense!

andreafox21 said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for teaching us this. I haven't tried it out yet but if i encounter problems I'll post the questions here.

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DC said... Best Blogger Tips

You can use a strap to attach the frame with out using sides. Here is a site that has the picture you could use as reference, http://www.saghost.com/framemyflatscreen/
Hope it helps and I love this idea. Great job Britt :)

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