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Thread: Can precuts be stored in those decorative boxes

  1. #1
    Super Member alaskasunshine's Avatar
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    Can precuts be stored in those decorative boxes

    I’m not sure if fabric pre cuts can safely be stored in those ever so cute boxes that are cardboard like with pretty designs on them. They don’t mention if the are acid free. The kind that Joann’s Fabrics and craft stores sell. Would fabric yellow or decay in them? My shelves are full but I have room on the tip-top of the shelves. What are your thoughts or experiences? ��
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 11-05-2019 at 03:15 PM. Reason: shouting/all caps

  2. #2
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    I store my fabric in cardboard because I don't have any issues with bugs and it keeps the light off the fabric, I've had some of my fabric for decades and light degradation is an issue.

    Can't always afford acid free boxes, but acid free tissue paper is relatively cheap, easy to get and store, and lines those boxes nicely.

    I do have archival quality tags to to use for notes and brass safety pins. For quite awhile I collected vintage fabrics intending to sell them on Ebay and used those for any comments along with dimensions. Never did get going on that and sold my boxes of yardage to someone who does and who goes to quilt shows.

    But again, some of them had been stored for 20 years that I had them with no issues.
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    I think it would depend on how long the fabric will be in the box? And if like me you may forget about it if you cannot see the contents?

    But then I use Iris scrap booking boxes and do not worry at all about the plastic.

    Oh I do not think those boxes are acid free.
    Attending University. I will graduate a year after my son and year before my daughter.

  4. #4
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    I don’t think the cardboards at the quilt shop are acid free. Does anyone know for sure?

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    Unless it is stated and priced higher than comparable boxes, it is most likely no. Can be debated, but I would guess that (again, unless stated) recycled product content is less likely to be acid-free. Acid free can be made from recycled, it's just how it is treated that makes the real difference. There is a lot of acid free paper in use out there, I think less so in cardboard. But a lot of it just depends on what is grown near the manufacturer, and we don't always know the source either in geologic or species manner and now things are shipped all over the world in products that come from all over the world!

    The acid comes from fresh wood pulp that is not or minimally treated, wood especially from evergreens (fir, pine, spruce, etc.), what you usually think of as "lumber" has tannin in it. That's part of why when it is fresh cut it has a strong smell and is yellow and both of those fade over time or why cheap typing paper starts white and then turns yellow, it's the tannin and that's what you want to prevent harming your fabric. Most acid free is from cotton or other fibers. fine stationary used to have "rag" content listed, that was the amount of plant fiber as opposed to wood fiber.

    The thing we really have to consider is what are our goals, I make blankets that are designed to be machine sewn and machine wash and start falling apart after 20+ years of use. Just regular paper is fine. It's going to hold up well in an appropriate humidity minimal care environment. Note, never ever put cardboard down directly on cement. It will wick up tiny amounts of moisture which will decay, mold, stain or otherwise harm fabrics eventually as well as making it a more desirable area for bugs. I use rolling metal shelves myself.

    Modern regular paper/cardboard is designed for at least 100 years. Archival is for longer than that! Even newsprint, the cheapest thinnest stuff ever if you put in a few layers you can cover ground as mulch, leave it out in the sun and rain and it lasts a long time -- it's more the walking on it and the various organisms that have access to it than anything else.

    So 20-40 years ago I was more concerned with what would storage in gas emitting plastic containers do, especially since I'm especially sensitive to petro-chemical smells. I think most of us can attest that the fabrics are doing fine.

    Likewise, 20 years ago we were concerned with how well Sharpie pens would hold up on fabric. Well, now we have 20 years to show that it is still legible and didn't eat holes in the fabric (or whatever our personal concerns were/are, I haven't had a bad experience yet).

    The market I was looking to find for my vintage fabrics was for the conservators, making/repairing period objects. They as a group have a higher standard than I do for what constitutes proper storage. They would expect the archival tags and brass safety pins and "proper" storage.
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    Iceblossom, that is very interesting info. Thanks!

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    I've had an interesting life and had or was lucky enough to find out about all sorts of obscure things in my working career. I started early in the creative department of an advertising agency, I did the support stuff and had to know enough to double check the orders and things like that and I learned a lot about printing processes, the color standards, the materials used.

    It happens that my husband has worked most of his career in box making. Most of us don't think about it, but there need to be boxes made to put other things in. Here in the northwest, the raw cardboard they use is most certainly not acid free unless specified and up-charged. It's also used a market indicator, if boxes aren't being made then that means products aren't being made.

    I worked with engineers for most of my career, and there are all sorts of engineers. Most of the time it was civil engineers and large projects like roads and bridges and airport runways. Some of it was with buildings, we specialized in hospitals, military projects, schools, etc. but did "regular" buildings too so we had specialists in glazing (windows), various structural issues, etc. Someone types (and read) the reports, plus I did specifications so picked up a lot of things that have come in handy, like most square floor tiles are 12", can be good to know! Or that ceiling grid is 3x2

    One of the really cool places I was only at for about 2 years. It was an environmental firm and we had archaeologists on staff! When you see stories about bulldozers finding things, well that company was one of the people you'd call. Another staff member did wildlife assessments. She would go to remote sites and look for endangered species as well as taking an inventory of all wildlife, including migratory patterns etc. Also learned more about the earthquake fault near Seattle than I ever wanted to know...
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    Love these posts, Iceblossom. There is so much to learn in this world.
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    Super Member juliasb's Avatar
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    Iceblossom thanks for educating all of us. Alaskasunshine should be able to go to the store or order on line the boxes and tissue to keep her fabrics safe.

  10. #10
    Power Poster SusieQOH's Avatar
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    I don't like anything but see through boxes because I forget what I have otherwise.

  11. #11
    Super Member alaskasunshine's Avatar
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    Ice blossom,
    thank you for all your information. Honestly I’m in a quandary because the boxes are sparkley and so pretty, so beautiful with barns, snow filled scenes, even a sweet ribbon bow on the magnetic flip lid. However I did order large 4 piece set with split lids on Amazon. They are just so blah! Oh dear what’s a girlie girl to do?

    iceblossom, which would you choose? Is lining the boxes with acid free tissue paper sufficient? My husband was so generous with the fabric splurge I am uncomfortable spending more just to store these beauties.

    Thank you to all that responded to my question you all are the best ))
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 11-06-2019 at 08:28 AM. Reason: shouting/all caps

  12. #12
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    Yes, just acid free paper is sufficient and is advised even for plastic storage, good to put between say a red and a gold fabric to keep transfer down that way. And like I say, it's relatively cheap and easy to get. I like that about stuff!

    But again, watch where you place your boxes and make sure there is airflow. When I grew up in Alaska you didn't want to place a piano against the outside wall because the temperature changes would be enough to put it out of tune throughout the year. Of course, insulation and stuff is better now and I've moved to a warmer climate but I still don't put my bed along the north outside wall of a house even though that really seems to have been intended for my bedroom.

    I use cardboard legal office boxes for my storage that I buy at the nearby office supply store. The lightweight ones don't hold up to my use, but the heavy weight ones do. They do come in acid free. The bottoms are all lined with my tissue paper, the sides used to be but they need periodic care they don't always get... I like that I can easily write in large marker what is inside the box. The advantage of them is they are designed to be stacked and can go up 4-5 high if you need to. Again, I prefer to have them on wire shelves but there are always some boxes that I make sure to rotate/short term fabric that do get stacked. Fabric folds well within them, and the lids are easy to lift off and peek inside. I tried stacking my fabric on edge so I could see the whole box at once but that didn't work well for me at all, different boxes have different amounts, not all are full and the fabric got all wonky and required ironing again. I prewash my fabrics before they go into the boxes and I hate ironing. The boxes are sorted by color/theme and I currently have about 20 boxes of fabric. Figure about the size of a two-sliding door closet, but my closet is full of other things.

    In the past 10 years, I've removed about 10-12 large black plastic garbage bags full of stuff so while I'm still surrounded by stacks it is returning to be a sewing room instead of a fabric storage room. Some people think I have a large stash, but I know people who have entire basements and storage units full of stuff, so I don't feel bad but I have decided to try and limit my purchases.

    Edit: My tops are kept in three large clear plastic totes right by the door to my room, but protected from the light by the desk. I keep them there where I can see them to guilt me into quilting them down. Sometimes that works, but I still piece about 5 times as fast as I quilt down.
    Last edited by Iceblossom; 11-06-2019 at 08:29 AM.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member ladyinpurple135's Avatar
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    The Sharpie pens don’t eat the fabric but they do get a yellow halo around the words, etc. I know because I have a shirt I’ve used for signatures from Nascar drivers and there are yellow halos around the signatures - which are at least 20 years old. I’d never use any Sharpie on a quilt for anything, but I would use other pens that are acid-free - scrapbook people always use them and they are perfect.

  14. #14
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    I store my fabric in the decorative boxes I purchased from Michael's more than 5 years ago and I have not noticed any discoloration or deterioration in the fabric. The are listed as photo boxes, that may be the reason. I also store my yards of fabric in file folders and they also look fine when I go to use them.

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