Learn what you need to consider in order to preserve and store craft projects safely and successfully!
I recently noticed that there is a lot of information out there for artists on how to store their artwork, but there is pretty much nothing about storing craft projects. I’m not sure why that is, but I’m going to rectify that today!
Why do you need to store craft projects?
There are lots of reasons you might want to put some of your craft projects in storage. I have put things away in storage for all of these reasons myself.
- Seasonal craft projects – I definitely put a ton of holiday craft projects in storage every year!
- Meaningful/heirloom – You may want to save something you made for your kids when they’re older or save something someone else made for you.
- Space – Sometimes we put things in storage in our homes that we don’t have the room for…right now. But, maybe we also aren’t quite ready to part with them yet. As you can imagine, I have quite a few knitting projects stored away.
- Change of pace – Maybe you like to cycle your home decor and you want to put away a craft project for a little while to change up your home but you know you’ll get it back out again later.
- Kids’ crafts – This one’s universal to pretty much all parents, we often have a need to save kids’ craft projects and put them in storage. The kids might want us to, or we feel like it’s difficult to get rid of them, whatever the reason, lots of people need to store kids’ craft projects
What are the top 3 things to consider when storing craft projects?
- Temperature – I have made the mistake of putting crafts made with hot glue into our attic which is not heated or cooled. Let me tell you, that did not go well. But beyond hot glue, big temperature swings can damage to lots of craft materials and supplies making them brittle or fragile. So if you can, choose a temperature controlled storage area.
- Sunlight – Do you remember when you were a kid and your teacher would hang things made of construction paper in the window and by the end of the year, they would be almost colorless? Sunlight is really hard on artwork and craft projects, so if you can, keep your stored craft projects away from light.
- Water – Moisture is never good in storage. It goes hand in hand with temperature and water can destroy a craft project faster than anything. It can ruin surfaces, cause warping and even mold. So if you can choose a closet in the main area of your home that has heating and cooling, rather than a damp basement, do it!
So, how should I store craft projects to preserve them?
The short version is, store your craft project in a temperature controlled space in your home out of direct light. Or hey, a storage locker is fine too if it’s also got temperature controls. Avoid basements and attics if you want your craft projects to last.
Tips and Tricks for preserving craft projects
- Avoid storing craft projects in basements or attics
- Keep your stored craft projects up off the floor on a shelf if possible in case of flooding.
- Make sure materials are completely dry and/or cured before storing (this includes paints, ink, clays etc. ) because again, moisture is the enemy of preservation.
- Use acid-free materials to wrap projects (like acid-free tissue paper, for example)
- Label your stored craft projects so you can avoid digging through everything to find something.
- Avoid storing craft projects made with food or natural materials that might attract bugs or rodents (for example, pasta or pinecones).
- Store paper crafts flat rather than rolled or vertical.
- Store like items together, and seasonal/holiday items by occasion so you can always find what you need.
Do certain types of craft projects need special treatment?
Yes, of course! Here are some examples, but you should do a little research for specific types of craft projects of your own, since we can’t cover everything:
- In addition to my tips above, when storing handknit or crochet items, it’s a good idea to store them in an airtight container with cedar balls, or similar, to prevent moth infestation. Make sure they are completely clean and dry before storage.
- Canvas/painted artwork should be stored vertically and wrapped in acid free materials.
- Don’t stack ceramics for storage
- Quilts should be stored in an acid-free box, wrapped in unbleached muslin (and never stored in plastic).
- Scrapbooks should be stored flat in an acid-free storage box
Alternatives to preserving and storing craft projects
This is the part of the post where I say something that you might not agree with…aside from seasonal crafts, I believe that handcrafted items should be used and loved and displayed. Of course, as I mentioned, there are plenty of valid reasons for storing crafting projects, but if you can use it and enjoy it, you absolutely should.
In most cases, a craft project isn’t doing anyone any good sitting in a box. If it’s something truly precious, consider some sort of display like a shadowbox or display case so you can keep the item safe but still actually enjoy it.
And if you decide, after all of this, that you actually are ready to say goodbye to a craft project, here are some other alternative to preserving and storing craft projects:
- Take a picture, this is a great way to save the project forever but not ACTUALLY save it forever (this is an awesome way to handle kids’ craft projects)
- Gift the item to a friend or family member
- Use parts of the craft project to make something new
- Donate – if you have a donation place that might take your project, give it up for someone else to enjoy
- Sell it – might as well try, right? If you don’t have an Etsy or other online shop, consider selling your craft projects at local spots or on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace, you might discover a whole new side hustle.
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