Crafts Tips: Maintenance Of Fiber Wall Hangings/Art Quilts When Not On Display

Simple ways to safely clean and store fabric art such as wall hangings and art quilts when not on display.

Whether on display for weeks, months or years, harmful dust and dirt will collect and migrate into the fibers of wall art. Proper cleaning and storage of wall art is necessary to preserve the piece.

Wall art cannot simply be taken off the wall and thrown into a washing machine because doing so may loosen or remove pieces of fiber or break delicate stitching. A simple homemade tool and plenty of patience can be used to keep the piece intact while allowing a thorough cleaning.

A cleaning tool is simple to make using a large embroidery hoop and fiberglass screening. You can purchase an embroidery hoop in any craft store. The fiberglass screening is commonly used in household windows and can be found easily in a hardware store. Cut a piece of the screening approximately 4 inches larger that the embroidery hoop. Place the screening across the inside ring of the hoop, fit the larger ring over top and tighten down the screw. Trim off excess screening material.

Cleaning a large piece may take several hours, so it is recommended to place the piece to be cleaned on a large flat surface at a comfortable working height. An easy cleaning table can be made using a folding table and PVC piping which may also be found in any hardware store. The folding table may be raised simply by cutting 4 lengths of PVC piping with a hacksaw to raise the table to a comfortable height, placing one on the bottom of each leg.

Once you have laid out the piece of wall art on the work surface, place the fiberglass covered ring down flat against one corner of the art and vacuum. Use the appliance brush and vacuum in an up and down motion, do not rub back and forth against the piece. Vacuum each section thoroughly before moving on. When that section is complete, simply move the ring to the next section and continue to vacuum until all areas are cleaned. Cleaning in this manner will remove the vast majority of the dust and dirt which has collected on the art piece.

The preferred way to store any items of fabric is in acid free or archival safe boxes wrapped in acid free paper with the piece laying as flat as possible. If the piece is too large to be stored flat, caution must be used to prevent creases. Crumpled up acid free paper should be used to prevent the areas to be folded over from making any creases in the piece before placing it in a box. Boxes can then be stored in a dark, dry area of the home, however, storing boxes in the basement is not recommended due to excess humidity which may cause mold on fabric items. A safe place to store the boxes would be on a shelf in a closet or under the bed.

With proper cleaning, preservation and storage, your fiber art wall hangings and quilts can last for many future generations to enjoy.

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