a tutorial of limited use....

I tend to be great at coming up with fabulous products , but they have only a severely limited audience. ( Clip on skis for baby strollers, for those few snowy days when the city hasn't plowed yet.)

This tutorial is a really good one for the vast audience out there of Torah mantle makers. I guess it's good too if you have a great need to cover a wooden form with a hole or two or more in it.

Most Torah mantles are made like wrap around skirt permanently attached to a hard flat frame with two holes in it to allow the wooden rollers ( or atzei chayyim) to stick out of the top. Usually this wooden top is made out of wood, these days out of plywood. I have, however, seen several older Torah mantles where this hard top is made out of several layers of newspapers. Clearly, this is not the best choice if you want the mantle to look good for a long time.

I have been working away on the mantle in memory of my father and with my son's bar mitzvah 61 days away--I need to get going on constructing the mantle. when I have made mantles in the past, I have padded the wooden top and then I hand stitched the "skirt" to the top. The disadvantage of this method, is that you then have a not so tidy join that then is usually covered by decorative braid. ( Oh! that's why most Torah mantles have that decorative braid!!! it isn't there for religious reasons but for functional ones.)

My friend John Dobbin who is the superintendent at my synagogue, was kind enough to make the wooden top for this mantle. I was blown away by the care he took in making it. When we examined the Torah scrolls in the ark, we began discussing construction methods. he asked about the braid and then suggested to me that if I constructed the mantle "like a bag" then I wouldn't need to do the hand stitching.

I plan to attempt to construct this mantle in this clean finish way. But I needed to cover the mantle top with fuse able fleece so here is the tutorial of limited usage.

This is the lovely Torah mantle top that John made for me.

Mantle top with fuseable fleece

Here, I am establishing the cutting line by drawing around the mantle top with a Sharpee . I am holding a pencil between the edge of the mantle top and the marker so I have enough of a seam allowance to pull the fleece to the underside for a tidy edge. I learned this method of tracing from some discussions about how to trace Burda patterns.

Cutting the fleece. I'm very impressed that I can take photos with only one hand.

Cutting pie wedges out of the center of the circles, . If I simply cut on the line I would ultimately end up with a messier edge.

Fusing the fleece to the wood, using a cotton napkin as a press cloth. This way I end up with both a fused mantle top and an ironed napkin. I had purchased this fleece for use in a different project. it was too thin for my needs. Rather than stopping my work to go downtown to buy thicker fleece, I used two layers, fusing the second layer to the first.

The underside of the mantle top with two layers of fleece fused to it. You can see that the edges are also covered by the fleece. you can see the Sharpee marks. but since this fleece covered form will be covered in dark blue velvet, there is no need to worry about the pink marks showing through.

A Torah mantle top, neatly covered in fleece. Hurray!!!


  1. This Torah mantle is already so beautiful in so many ways and for so many reasons. Thank you for sharing the process. Just tolet youknoe, although you billed the tutorial as"of limited usage" it gave me alot of ideas on how to dosomeother crafting that needs just that amount of fusing/padding, but I wasn't sure how to doit and I didnot know howtocut the holesopen and keep the edges clean, so thankyoufor that as well. Looking forward to seeing the completed Torah mantle and as always your exuberant writing!


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