If you have spent hours upon hours sewing and creating beautiful quilts, you probably want to keep them for years.
But we’ve all heard the horror stories of bugs or moisture getting into quilts and ruining them.
Today, we are going to tackle the vital issue of how to store handmade quilts.
Whether you want to store the quilt you just made last week or you have a quilt your great-grandmother made during the Great Depression, we’ll figure out the best way to keep them safe.
- How to Store Quilts Properly
- Common Questions About Quilt Storage
- Quilt Storage Ideas
How to Store Quilts Properly
We can all agree that handmade quilts are a precious item to cherish.
Even if you don’t make quilts yourself, if you’ve found your way to this post, you probably have a special quilt you want to save. Let’s discuss several of the best ways to store quilts safely and adequately.
Display the quilt.
One of the most common and easiest ways to store a quilt is to display it. You can display quilts in several ways, such as hanging them on a wall, draping them over furniture, using a quilt rack, or displaying them on a bed. If you have them out, there are some things to consider.
- Ensure the quilt isn’t in direct sunlight for an extended period every day. This could cause color fading.
- Avoid displaying quilts in a high-humidity area of your home.
- If the quilt is folded, you should refold it once a month so it won’t have permanent creases or folds.
- If you drape it over wooden furniture, check to see if the wood has epoxy or another sealant that will act as a barrier between the quilt and the wood stain.
Store using acid-free materials.
If you don’t want to display the quilt, you should take the necessary steps to keep it in pristine condition. Here are a few ways to keep them safe in storage.
- Use acid-free boxes. Many companies have come out with quilt storage box options. They look like plain white gift boxes but are acid-free and have enough airflow to preserve the cotton fabric. You should never keep cotton in air-tight containers because this can accelerate the breakdown of the fibers.
- Use acid-free tissue paper. Sometimes called “Archival Paper,” this paper is commonly used for storing antique quilts. It is a good practice to use this paper between quilts if you like to stack them in a storage cabinet, even if they are new quilts. This will help protect fabrics.
- Quilt storage bags. Many fabric storage bags on the market are perfect for storing quilts. The bags provide protection and airflow. If you were to ask me how to store antique quilts, this would be my suggestion. I would use a cloth bag for quilts and archival paper to keep the fabric safe. I would place archival paper between each fold of the quilt and then place the quilt in the bag and store it in a closet.
- Use 100% cotton sheets and pillowcases. If you cannot find or afford the specialty items, you can fold or roll the quilts in cotton sheets and then place the folded or rolled quilt in a pillowcase.
No matter what you store the quilt in, the essential rule that you need to follow is to keep it someplace dark, cool, and dry. I wouldn’t recommend storing quilts in a part of your home with varying humidity and temperature, like an attic or basement.
Common Questions About Quilt Storage
Now that we know the basics of quilt storage, let’s go over some of the most common questions surrounding how to store quilts. Once you learn the answers to these questions, you can feel confident about protecting your valuable quilts.
Should quilts be stored in plastic?
No, and I’ll tell you why. Plastic is really good at holding moisture, and if you are storing fabric of any kind in a plastic bag or container, this will be bad news for the fabric.
Mold and bugs gravitate towards moisture, so I recommend never keeping a quilt (or fabric) in a plastic bag.
Is it safe to store quilts in vacuum bags?
Since vacuum bags are plastic, I would say no. Also, vacuum bags are meant to flatten fabric as much as possible. That means if you were to vacuum seal a quilt and leave it for some time, it would have crazy creases and wrinkles pressed into it.
That doesn’t sound like much fun trying to remove those.
How do you fold a quilt for long-term storage?
Most quilters don’t recommend folding a quilt and leaving it for months or even years. It can cause those pesky permanent folds. When you fold a quilt, you should pull it out of storage at least every couple of months and give it a good airing out.
We recommend rolling it if you want to store a quilt for an extended period. You’ll have to fold it in half or thirds, but then you just roll it up like a sleeping bag. That will minimize the creases and wrinkles over time.
Where do you store a quilt?
The best places to store quilts are cabinets, closets, or quilt storage chests.
As mentioned earlier, if you are storing a quilt instead of displaying it, you should have it concealed in something to protect the fabric, whether that be acid-free materials, cotton pillowcases, or a cloth storage bag.
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Quilt Storage Ideas
Here are some fun, unique ways you can store your quilts. Not only are these easy to recreate, but they will keep your quilts protected for years.
I am a huge fan of antique furniture, and barrister bookcases were popular in the early 1900s. They are perfect for storing quilts because they get plenty of airflow, but you can also see them and enjoy them when they are folded neatly on the shelves.
If you choose to fold them, ensure you take them out once every month or two, air them out, and stretch out the folds.
This idea may seem strange, but I think it’s excellent! Pool noodles are inexpensive, especially at the end of summer. You simply roll the quilt up using the pool noodle, stick some pins in it so it won’t come undone, and store them on a shelf in a closet or standing up vertically in a corner.
The only added suggestion is to wrap the pool noodle in white cotton fabric first to ensure the color from the pool noodle doesn’t somehow transfer to the quilt.
Many of us like furniture pieces that serve multiple purposes, and this DIY quilt rack console table is a perfect example of this type of furniture.
It is a free tutorial on how to make this simple quilt rack. It has a small footprint and can hold up to four large quilts. If you have a bunch of quilts, you could make several of these and scatter them around your home.
Here are some archival-quality quilt storage bags that are available in four sizes. These are handmade, professional-quality bags that you can use to store your quilts safely.
They are ideal for antique quilts and have a pocket to include any documentation you might want to include with the quilt.
Here is another cotton storage bag. I like these bags because they have a secure zipper and handles. These also come in four size options and can hold large quilts. They are moisture-proof and excellent for anyone who moves a lot.
I hope you enjoyed this discussion on proper quilt storage and that you feel more confident about storing your quilts correctly. Just remember, keep them in a dark, cool, and dry environment, and air them out regularly, and they will last for a long time.