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A mantel scarf is a type of linen placed over the shelf of a fireplace mantel. This item is usually the same length and width as the shelf. It is often made from lace and can sometimes contain scallops or detailed embroidery. The scarf might be used to protect the shelf from scratching or simply as a decorative accent, especially during the holiday season.
Although lace is often used to make a mantel scarf, this cloth could also be velvet, silk, or cotton. The material could be light or dark, although lace scarves are usually a lighter shade. Printed fabric is sometimes used, especially for holiday decor. Scarves may sometimes have designs embroidered on them. Some crafters may make quilted mantel scarves as well.
A mantel scarf could also be knitted or crocheted. One of these could be made from very fine thread similar to that used in making tablecloths. A scarf could also be made from lightweight fabric with scallops or edging crocheted to the fabric to add interest.
The front of a mantel scarf sometimes contains intricate detailing. This could be a decorative edging of scallops or ruffles across the length of it. Fringe, tassels, or beads are sometimes added. Even though these decorative additions may dangle from the ends of the scarf, they are not usually long enough to become a fire hazard.
A mantel scarf usually extends from one end of the mantel shelf to the other. Some types may be slightly longer than the shelf and drape loosely over the side. This is especially true of Victorian style scarves made from lace or sheer fabric. The sides are typically around four to six inches (10.16 to 15.24 cm) long.
Most types can be easily laundered by washing them in a washing machine on delicate cycle. Antique mantel scarves may need to be hand-laundered and then hung up to dry. This is especially true if there are designs embroidered on them. Bleach is not normally recommended for these linens, so scarves that have yellowed may need to be dry-cleaned.
Some people use a mantel scarf all the time, while others only decorate with them occasionally. They can be easily changed out whenever the room decor or mood changes. Many homeowners have special mantel decor for different occasions or holidays, and will switch the scarf whenever these decorations are put up.