Simchat Torah, Or Other Holiday Banner

Lowe’s has a little magazine called “Creative Ideas” that they mail out a few times each year – it can be subscribed to here. Inside one of the latest issues was this project for wall art:

I thought that with the wooden pieces at the top and bottom that it looked like the rollers, or handles, on a Torah scroll (the Torah is the first five books of the Bible – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy – you can see one here), and I thought it would be a great craft for Simchat Torah (“sim-kaht tore-uh”). That’s the holiday that celebrates the end of the annual reading cycle. For instance, since the congregation begins at Genesis and ends at Deuteronomy each year, when you get to the end and start over, you celebrate! This is what Simchat Torah is all about…plus dancing, drinking, celebrating…

Anyway, Simchat Torah is a huge holiday for children. I guess the most common craft is to make flags for them to hold and wave. I try to decorate our home for just about every big holiday so this year Leslie and I got together and rather than make flags, we made a banner like the one in the Lowe’s magazine.

—And the thing about this craft, like just about all the others I’ve made for Jewish holidays, translate so well to other traditions…like I could totally see someone doing dowels in pastel colors and decoupaging on a bunch of vintage bunny images for a ‘Happy Easter’ banner…or doing the same thing with deeper colors and Autumn leaves for a Fall banner…or, well, you know. There are a zillion possibilities with this.—

* Wooden curtain rod, sawed in half (so you can use a short one for hanging this on the front door or a longer rod for hanging elsewhere in your home on the wall)
* Four curtain finials
* Wood stain, plus varnish if you like
* Foam brush for applying wood stain plus protective gloves
* Acrylic paint plus brushes
* Stencil letters and stencil brush if you want to do lettering that way
* Either butcher paper, drop cloth, or something else strong to paint on
* Glue gun, glue to attach the painted piece to the rods
* Yarn, string, or jute to tie to the ends of the top rod for hanging

Av and I went to the home improvement shop and bought one curtain rod (when sawed in half, it made the two we needed plus it was the right width for hanging on the front door) plus four finials. He sawed the curtain rod, screwed on the finials, and stained everything:

Leslie and I got out a bunch of acrylic paints and brushes and decided to use butcher paper to paint on. Cut the butcher paper longer than you expect you want the banner to hang because you will want to wrap the top and bottom of the paper around the dowels a couple of times so it’s strong:

Leslie painted the top half and I painted the bottom part. We just tried to go with something abstract, and the nice thing about it is that if you look at it like this, it looks like the sky and the earth and the opposite way it looks like the earth and the sea. In an abstract way, I mean…:

I used my stencils and some gold paint to spell out “Simchat Torah”:

After everything dried, the paper was turned over, centered on the dowels, and hot glued around them a couple of times:

This shows the top and bottom glued on:

I’m planning on using some strong yarn and hanging the banner that way (like in the magazine pic) but just for this pic I cheated and used the hook on my wreath hanger!

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