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Thread: Safe Fabric Storage

  1. #1
    Super Member peaceandjoy's Avatar
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    I'm trying to organize my craft area - which is also the family room and computer room and is open into our kitchen (as in no wall between, just a step up). Very visible... I don't want to move to another part of the house, although we do now have a vacant bedroom, as I like being able to work as dinner is getting ready, and to do laundry in between (Laundry room off other end of kitchen).

    I'm looking into wood shelving, and am wondering: Is it safe to store fabric on wood shelves? Painted? Polyurethaned? Stained?

    We have tongue and groove wood paneling in part of the room, so putting shelves up on the wall would be relatively easy. As there is baseboard heat on most of the wall space in the room, mounted shelves would also work better than a bookcase on the floor.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Robin

  2. #2
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    Robin, Don't really know what your answer would be but I would NOT put fabric on a wood shelf that was not painted or sealed in some way. Use plastic boxes on the shelves, that would help keep it cleaner and you could see what you have. My sewing room is a large laundry room off my kitchen and I love it being close enough to watch the cooking and laundry stuff too. :D

  3. #3
    Super Member retrogirl02's Avatar
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    I'm in the laundry room, too and have my stash in plastic bins and smaller pieces in plastic sleeves or wood shelves. I had all my material on a wooden shelf and have heard that you shouldn't but I didn't have any trouble with the material. I have been collecting it for a number of years and inherited a lot from friends who did as they pleased. Maybe it has something to do with interactions over time or the work room environment but I have not had any issues.

    It is, however much easier for me to see what I have and to carry a bin over to my cutting table when using plastic. I don't keep my lids on for the most part and am happy with the change.

  4. #4
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    You can always roll out some of that freezer paper or even wax paper, but I use wood shelves painted and un painted, no problems :D

  5. #5
    Super Member retrogirl02's Avatar
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    That's a great tip, Ruth....I'm thinking contact paper would work, too if want to keep it down or double stick tape + Ruth's suggestions.

  6. #6
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    My fabric is all stored in kitchen cabinets that were out of style..... that have some kind of laminate or arborite on the shelves. I have heard that the oil from the wood shelving would damage your fabrics over time, but have never experienced this myself. I do not make quilts intended for historical research 100 years from now, so I don't really pay that much attention to all the dos and don'ts that are posted. I have put a thin coat of varethin (sp?) on an oak board & displayed Steiff bears on it..... hopefully this is safe enough..... if you're really concerned about this issue you might want to inquire at some of the historical sites ?? It is interesting to hear & see what researchers come up with... but sometimes it's not realistic in our own lives. JMHO

  7. #7
    Senior Member dojo36's Avatar
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    I used that peal and stick tile on all my shelves in my kitchen cabinets, it's safe for fabrics and is so easy to clean and it's cheap too, you can get it for $1.00 a square foot, just the cheapest stuff cause you're not gonna be walking on it, put that down under my kitchen sink too, it works great.

  8. #8
    Super Member Marcia's Avatar
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    Robin, I think it is great that you want to be with your family when you are sewing. I would really hesitate to put shelves on your walls, though. Fabric can be really heavy and I would worry about the shelving holding up. Even though you have baseboard heat you can still use shelving that stands on the floor. I have purchased these shelves from Staples (they will deliver to your door for free, too) and been very pleased. You can stack 2 units together and it gives you 6 shelves. They are open in the back and at the bottom (for your heat). I have been using these for over 6 years and have not had any problems with the finish and my fabrics, but if you are concerned you could put your fabric in plastic shoe boxes and then put them on the shelves. This is just a suggestion for you.

    http://www.staples.com/office/suppli...es_2_10051_SC2:CG31P1530:CL70000:SS990514

  9. #9
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dojo36
    I used that peal and stick tile on all my shelves in my kitchen cabinets, it's safe for fabrics and is so easy to clean and it's cheap too, you can get it for $1.00 a square foot, just the cheapest stuff cause you're not gonna be walking on it, put that down under my kitchen sink too, it works great.
    I did this to all my kitchen cabinets when we had them refaced a couple years ago. Love it, so quick and easy to clean. Got great cuts too cause I used my rotary cutter and rulers to cut to perfect size and perfect straight lines. Just change your blade before using it on fabrics! :) :)

  10. #10
    Senior Member Missi's Avatar
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    I have an old dresser that I have converted to a cutting table and have put a lot of my fabric in the dresser. I have a scrap drawer it is great. After I cut, open the drawer and throw in the scrap. I have some yardage of fabric stacked on a set of milk crate shelves, but the rest is all in plastic containers. The fabric stays cleaner and I don't have to worry about mildew, etc. as bad. I keep fabric by project or color in the containers. I have small shoe box containers that I use for my fat quarters and they are sorted by color. A full container means I can't buy anymore :)

  11. #11
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peaceandjoy
    I'm looking into wood shelving, and am wondering: Is it safe to store fabric on wood shelves? Painted? Polyurethaned? Stained? Robin
    The reason you don't want to have fabric in contact with wood or paper for long periods of time is because the acid in these materials will gradually leach out and degrade the fabric. If you have ever seen an old quilt that has been stored in a cedar chest for years, you will notice the brown staining along the folds where the fabric was in contact with the unsealed wood. That is acid damage.

    Staining wood will not seal in the acid. Polyurethane does seal in the acid, so polyurethaned wood shelves would be fine. Formica shelves are fine too. If you are putting up shelving against a wood panel wall, you would need to make sure that the wood on the wall has been polyurethaned or painted too. (I'm pretty sure paint will seal acid in the wood.)

    The paper side of freezer paper will have acid in it (paper is made from wood fibers), so to use this effectively fabric would have to be placed against the plasticized side of the freezer paper.

    Anyone who has done scrapbooking may be familiar with "archival quality" paper. This is paper that has been treated so it no longer contains acid. Anyone storing a wedding dress wants to make sure that the tissue paper and box are archival quality; otherwise, when the dress is removed decades later, it may have the brown staining characteristic of acid damage.

    HTH!

    Mary

  12. #12
    Senior Member GiGi's Avatar
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    Just my thought.....Since you are near the kitchen, your fabric is being exposed to many things; e.g., cleaning chemicals, grease from frying, steam from boiling, etc. Plastic containers with a locking lid are nice. However, if you cook/boil alot, please make sure your plastic tubs/containers aren't leaching from the changing temperatures which in-turn will ruin your fabric. How about storing your fabric in the extra bedroom for safe keeping and just getting out what you need at the time you are working? Once again, just a thought. GiGi

    :D :wink: :lol: :thumbup:

  13. #13
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    There is a residue on plastic if it sets...so get sewing and use up all that fabric before it spoils...cause you can't take it with you :wink:

  14. #14
    Super Member 3incollege's Avatar
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    I would use the extra bedroom!! It would solve alot of your problems.
    I'm always back in forth from my room. Unless you cook all day, I'd spend more time in my quilting room than in the kitchen.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by retrogirl02
    I'm in the laundry room, too and have my stash in plastic bins and smaller pieces in plastic sleeves or wood shelves. I had all my material on a wooden shelf and have heard that you shouldn't but I didn't have any trouble with the material. I have been collecting it for a number of years and inherited a lot from friends who did as they pleased. Maybe it has something to do with interactions over time or the work room environment but I have not had any issues.

    It is, however much easier for me to see what I have and to carry a bin over to my cutting table when using plastic. I don't keep my lids on for the most part and am happy with the change.
    How does the daily heat and moisture from doing laundry affect your fabric?

  16. #16
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I'm sure if the shelves will be visible from the other rooms in your house you will want them looking nice. Plain naked wood doesn't look that great.

  17. #17
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    This is the shelving that I use - except mine has blue painted metal supports and the supplier now furnishes white laminated board for shelving

    http://www.tennsco.com/zline.htm

    It's nice because it's very sturdy, fairly easy to adjust the shelves (the hard part is taking stuff off them before one can do it), comes in a lot of configurations, fairly easy to assemble - just need a hard rubber mallet or hammer (a hammer could chip the paint), not overly expensive.

    The down side - it does look a bit "industrial"

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