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How to store felt crafts

30 Dec

How to properly store all your felt stuff. AKA Like a Boss

Storing things made from felt

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:

Don't pack felt in cardboard alone.

Light

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.

light tight storage containerMoisture

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.

Pests

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.

Wondering how to clean felt - wonder no more - step by step photos

Oh no someone has smashed peanut butter and cheese crackers into my ornament (It was totally me but I did it for you)

How to clean felt

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.

Cleaning felt ornaments

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.

Step by step guide to cleaning felt

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.

Washing wool felt - how to clean you pieces the right way.

 

How to clean vintage and future vintage felt things.

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.

How to Clean Felt Safely

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.

How to store felt Christmas Items

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!)

DIY Lavender drawer sachets

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.

Pack felt away in acid free tissue paper

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.

How to store felt ornaments

How to store felt

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.

The felt approved guide for storing felt stuff

And there you have it  – follow those simple steps and your felt pieces will be around for generations to come.

Happy Crafting

~Andie

American Felt and Craft - Online Craft Store

How to wash felt, wool felt foods, soft sculpture & toys.

23 Apr

felt food tomato how to wash felt food

Sooner or later you’re gonna have to clean that felt food. Here’s how to do it!

Felt Cherry Pie

While dry felt can withstand major abuse it becomes a whole different creature when wet and must be treated gently so here is a walk though, please remember use of soap will result in further felting your felt, I.E creating piling and fuzz. The following is written with wool and wool blend felt in mind but it is also useful for acrylic or eco-felt, (eco-spun & eco-fi) synthetic felts which although washable, have a tendency to tear at the seams when hand sewn.Please note that I am erring on the side of caution and your felt items are generally not all that delicate, a good quality felt will actually stand up to a lot of rubbing but better safe than sorry right?

Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning is the obvious way to go with 100% wool felt but a lot of dry cleaners won’t touch soft sculpture or basically anything that isn’t clothing you CANNOT use a product like dryel on felt the heat and moisture will continue to felt your piece, this would not be a good thing. The #1 thing to keep in mind is avoiding drastic temperature fluctuations on the felt.

Surface Wash

If your item is only slightly messy for example moist cookie crumbs, I would suggest letting them dry, before proceeding with your clean up, you may mash the mess into the wool mesh, say that 5 times fast!

The exception to this rule is a substance which you feel will stain. In that is the case proceed to hand wash. After felt is dry brush off the crumbs and gently wash the surface with a baby wipe.

sinkHand Wash

Lets say your felt food is really messy, for example your child dunked his felt cookie in his real milk. You can hand wash using the steps outlined below, I have used this method with great success Using these methods I have removed apple juice, wet candy cane, yogurt and cracker mush from my daughters felt food collection.

1. Brush as much of the dirt, dust or dried whatever off as you can while the item is STILL DRY. If whatever has gotten on your felt is in liquid form that’s OK to but please avoid rubbing it.

2. Fill a sink or basin with cool or cold water, no soap.

3. Place said item in water and wait until it soaked, gently squeeze the air out if it is a stuffed item

4. Gently press water out of felt without rubbing

5. Continue to squeeze like a sponge do not rub,  Repeat until spot is gone, you may soak the felt overnight if needed.

Air dry, felt may feel stiff at first but will regain its softness when played with for awhile.

lemons

Worse case scenario…

Got something really nasty on your felt, like boogers or pee? Luckily for you wool has antibacterial properties so it’s isn’t as germ laden as you think however you now need to remove whatever germs remain and any smell, try lemons. Lemons contain antibacterial and antiseptic properties on top of naturally removing odor. Cut lemons and squeeze into the water in your basin and proceed as outlined above.

But it’s winter in the middle of nowhere…

Your last best hope is Vinegar. Vinegar will  disinfectant and help destroy odor, the weird vinegar smell will fade with time , it dissolves grease too! So if you have a stuffie that’s gotten really grungie this is your method! Put in 1/2 part vinegar to 1 part water and wash as directed above be sure to lay it out to dry as soon as possible and do not use it to soak your item for longer than 10-15 minutes as it could in theory hurt your fabric although this has never been my experience. The bonus to this method is your dried felt will be surprisingly soft.

Drop me a comment or two and let me know how it all turned out and show me some love by checking out the store,

Happy Crafting- Andie

meatdinner

Please give credit where credit is due and be sure to link to my blog when using this info. Thanks, you’re the best!

For more on how to clean felt see our post on cleaning and storing felt fabric.

Wondering how to clean felt - wonder no more - step by step photos

How to Clean Felt – Step by Step 

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