I bought some archival boxes and tissue paper back in December with the goal of better quilt storage. My quilts have been rolled up on tubes and stored in a closet in my workroom. Over the years, I’ve been adding quilts to the rolls, in some cases having five quilts on one roll. While this in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially considering that I did keep the quilts out of sunlight, the problem was I didn’t know which quilts were on which roll and, worse still, the quilts were crunching up on the bottom from the weight of the quilts. This past weekend, I removed the doors from the closet and dumped everything — containers filled with fabric, rolled quilts, and more.
I located these boxes by doing a search on Amazon for archival quilt storage boxes. This particular box comes with a yellowish-color acid-free tissue paper. It measures 6 x 30 x 18. I recently ordered another three from Amazon. When searching, try “Acid-Free Quilt & Textile Storage Box.”
The company name on the box is SAR – S.A. Richards Inc. in Fort Lee, New Jersey. It’s possible you can also buy them direct.
The box arrives flat. I nearly cut through the it when removing the corrugated cardboard that was taped on a bit too tight.
The box folds up without much effort.
I used the acid-free tissue paper supplied with the box to line the box. I am not sure if this step is necessary, being that the box itself is acid-free, but I did so anyway.
These are OLD quilts – made in the early 1990s!
The next step was sorting my quilts, putting the older ones together. The last time I saw these quilts was when I photographed them in December. Prior, I haven’t seen some of these quilts in years. It was odd to look and realize all of the years that have gone by. In many of my older quilts, I wrote notes on the hanging sleeve. One one quilt, I wrote about my new puppy, Mustang. I went on to say that some of Mustang’s dog hairs are in the quilt and I’m leaving them there because I want them there. That was for the benefit of judges who were who thought I left them by mistake. Mustang was with us some 12 years and then died. When looking at the quilt to store it, I found myself searching for his dog hairs. I did find a couple, and I carefully kept them in place.
I stuffed paper along every fold that I made.
More old quilts from the early 1990s.
I continued sorting the quilts, putting similar ones together. In the early 1990’s, I published two quilt patterns — ColorWheels and Tulip Star — under “Gloria Hansen Designs.” The quilts above are examples from those patterns.
After the box was filled, I put a final piece of tissue paper on the top. You’ll notice this paper is white rather than the yellow-ish color of the other tissue paper. Once I ran out of the paper that came with the box, I used the white paper (very similar to the paper used by IQA when they do their fabulous job of returning quilts). This paper I bought from Light Impressions. They are located in Rochester, NY, and their phone number is 1-800-828-6216.
With the box closed, I knew I needed a system for knowing which quilt was in which box.
Since I had photographed all of the quilts in December, I printed the quilt images (with their names) onto paper and used archival glue to add them to the outside of the box. I also added my name and address. This looks like many quilts for one box, but a couple are very small.
I continued on, filling three boxes. While I’ve a lot more to go, this is a good start.
I’ll note that if you want to reduce any fold lines, the best thing is to stuff the folds with a lot of tissue and store one quilt per box. In my case, I’m okay with putting more than one quilt in a box, especially whe the quilt is on the small side. Periodically I’ll take the boxes out and look at the quilts, refolding and redistributing the order.
For more information on quilt storage, see this post I wrote in December. It contains conservation links and more.