There is an infinite variety of patterns for tissue-paper drapery to conceal empty coal-grates. The most simple is to take a sufficient number of long sheets of this paper; fold each sheet, lengthways, in four or six; and with scissors cut through the edges of the folds, so as to form scollops or points when opened out; leaving at the bottom of each sheet a space to be cut into a deep fringe. Having opened out the sheets, have ready part of the handle or stick of an old broom, cut to fit the length of the aperture or slit left open at the back of the grate for the draught. This stick must be covered with baize or cloth sewed on tightly. Sew to this covering the long streamers of cut tissue-paper, gathering them at the top so that they may hang down full and double. Then lay the stick nicely in the aperture at the lop of the grate-back; fasten it securely, and let the drapery fall over the outside of the bars, so as to conceal them.
The following is a very handsome way of arranging hearth curtains. Have ready a sufficient number of long sheets of tissue-paper. Some of them may be white, others of a delicate pink. They are to be cut out in a handsome open-work pattern. You may take your pattern from muslin-work, flowered ribbon, furniture chintz, wall-paper, or table-covers. The more open it is the better. To render it accurate, first draw the outline on stiff paper, and then cut out that paper accordingly. Lay this cut out model upon a sheet of the pink tissue-paper spread out on a smooth common table, and kept down by weights at each corner. With a pencil, go round the model, and trace its outline upon the tissue-paper. Then with a sharp penknife or scissors, cut it out with great care and nicety. If you use a penknife, keep the tissue-paper stretched out smoothly upon the table, all the time you are doing it.
Next, take two more sheets of the pink paper, and cut the upper part of each sheet into the form of curtain-falls; festooned at the top, and descending long and low at the side. Ornament them with a handsome cut pattern, and scollop the edges.
The white tissue-paper is not to be cut or decorated with an open pattern or flowering. It is to form a lining for the pink, through the open work of which the white is to appear. The form or arrangement of this white paper is to fit or correspond with that of the pink, only that the white must be allowed two or three inches deeper at the edge, that it may project out beyond the pink. These projecting white edges are to be cut into a fringe. Additional fringe must be made of white tissue-paper, and twisted together so as to represent cords; the cords to be finished with tassels made of rolls of white paper fringe, fastened to the cords very neatly by sewing them on with a needle and thread. Observe that none of the white paper is to be cut out in flower patterns, or any sort of open work. It is only to furnish lining, fringe, cords, and tassels for the pink. Observe, also, that the fringed edge of this white lining is to appear beyond the scolloped edge of the pink outside.
When all is ready, arrange it handsomely in the fireplace, so as entirely to conceal the whole of the grate. It must be fixed at the top by sewing it to a covered piece of broom-handle, made to fit the draught aperture. The two long straight pieces of pink paper, with their white lining underneath, are to go on first. Then put up the festoons with their falls, having their white lining beneath, with its fringe appearing beyond the pink scollops. Then put on, at proper distances, the white cords and tassels. The effect, when complete, will represent at the back, closed pink curtains, with their white lining appearing through the cut-out flower pattern; over them, two festoons and falls of pink lined with white, opening in front with their white fringe, and white cords and tassels. In these festoons and falls, the cut-out flowers of the pink paper outside, show the white paper lining beneath. If well executed, these hearth curtains will (as we have seen) have a most beautiful effect. The pattern or flowering of the cut work is displayed to great advantage by the white lining. In one parlour you may have hearth curtains of pink and white; in the other of green and white, or blue and white.
Hearth curtains of tissue-paper may be fixed to the front ledge or slab that goes along the top of the grate, provided this ledge is wide enough. Leave, uncut, at the top of the sheets of paper, a plain piece to fit the ledge. To. keep down this paper upon the ledge, prepare three heavy weights (for instance smooth stones) covered with thick silk or satin, and decorated with large bows of ribbon of the same colour. In this way, by keeping it down with weights on the top, we have seen a very handsome drapery of cut out tissue-paper entirely concealing a Franklin stove.