How to properly store all your felt stuff. AKA Like a Boss
So you’ve made all these wonderful felt things but you just don’t know how to store felt crafts, ornaments, or heirloom pieces in the best, safest way possible you say?
Have no fear, AFC is here.
All in all felt is a great material to work with because a good quality wool or wool blend is pretty durable as fabrics go. But there is a right and a wrong way to store felt long-term. This is the best way to store wool and wool blend felt but the principles will work for any fabric materials.
First it helps to know felt has three main enemies:
Light can fade felt’s colors and deteriorate it over time. It’s best to store your felt pieces in plastic airtight containers. Clear containers work well too and will allow you to better see the contents. However if you plan to store your pieces anyplace that may be exposed to sunlight regularly store in a solid color plastic container or place the items into other light barriers such as a shoe box or acid free tissue paper before packing.
Luckily wool has antimicrobial properties which resist mold and mildew naturally so you needn’t worry too much about those as a threat however moisture can weaken felt over time not to mention create a mess. To avoid problems make sure each piece is completely dry before packing it up. Avoid storing in cardboard alone, near garage doors or low to the ground. Throw in a few of those silica packets that come with shoes if you happen to have any handy. If not please feel free to see this as an excuse to go buy those new boots! I’m extremely pro shoes.
It’s true moths love wool and other natural fibers. They also love peace and quiet like your basement. Keeping your felt pieces safe from months is actually pretty easy. Avoid any nasty run ins by storing in an airtight plastic container and making sure your felt pieces are cleaned of any food or debris that might be left on them. Not only do crumbs attract pests, the oils can discolor your pieces over time. If you are bringing in vintage pieces consider placing them in a zip lock baggie and freezing them for a few days, this will kill any stowaways and keep the rest of your collection safe.
Here’s a quick run down for cleaning your felt pieces before storage.
Oh no someone has smashed peanut butter and cheese crackers into my ornament (It was totally me but I did it for you)
DON’T PANIC! Dust away and loose crumbs gently. You’ll want to avoid grinding anything into the fibers. Flick the piece from the back if possible to help knock out any loose crumbs in the fibers. I ground this cracker in a bit for emphasis.Keep in mind that even if the piece appears clean you want to make sure no food particles remain or you may have a nasty surprise next year with set in stains and possible pest damage.
Mix 1 part white vinegar or lemon juice to 2 parts water and gently dab at the remaining greasy spots. This will help break up the oils and get rid of any odor that might attract pests. Still have issues? That’s alright dear all the best people do.
Take your piece to the sink and run room temperature water through the side opposite your stain. The flowing water will help dislodge any crumbs or oils. Hot water may hurt your wool and cold water will make it hard for the oil to dislodge. Try not to saturate any more of your piece than you have to. Some dyes may run and wet felt is weaker which isn’t great for vintage pieces. Don’t soak the piece just let the water run through for a minute.
Pop that newly clean felt item in a clean towel and gently press out as much of the moisture as possible. DO NOT RUB!! Your felt is in a delicate place right now and rubbing it may cause it to pill.
Examine your piece for any remaining stain. If it looks good place in a sunny place until just dry the UV rays will also help kill any lingering smell. If your piece is still in need of love repeat the vinegar – water – blot process until it is ready for storage.
Double down on your pest prevention by doing a thorough cleaning of your storage area this will be sure to clear out any hidden enemies and make the space less attractive to traveling moths.
A word on mothballs
Mothballs are a neurotoxin and smell horrible!!!
Stick to cedar wood pieces or lavender for a natural repellent that won’t gag you come next Christmas AND your brain won’t be full of poisons! Win win!
Make sure you replace the repellent every year since the natural oils in these items are what repel pests and they dissipate over time.
Here’s how to make a quick lavender sachet keeping the moths at bay (totally nailed that rhyme!)
The fancy stuff:
Flat ornaments can easily be wrapped in acid free tissue paper this allows enough of a buffer so that beads and sequins remain undisturbed and the paper should keep everything nice and dry.
Dimensional felt ornaments can be kept in coffee filters or clean egg crates with some tissue paper to reduce any motion damage and keep sets together.
Try to store pieces flat avoid folding to save the need for a low iron later. If you must fold because you are storing a large felt piece such as a tree skirt be sure to place acid free tissue paper between the felt to give the piece space to breathe and avoid any chance of colors running if exposed to moisture.
And there you have it – follow those simple steps and your felt pieces will be around for generations to come.