The Bekins Blog
How to Pack and Move Tapestries and Cloth Wall Hangings
Pamper your antique and modern cloth wall hangings when you move them. By using proper packing methods, you ensure that your cloth wall hangings last a long time and look great. Follow these tips as you move tapestries.
Brush Up on Use-And-Care Instructions
Familiarize yourself with the correct ways to clean your individual fabric pieces. Try to locate the use-and-care tags on items, or contact the manufacturer or artist to learn the best cleaning methods for your pieces.
Thoroughly but gently clean tapestries to remove grit, dirt, cobwebs, and other surface debris. Dirt can cut through fibers of wall hangings. The vibrating actions of a moving van or car are enough to damage threads and woven fibers that are packed when still dirty. If you can safely wash a fabric piece before moving, do so.
Rare, delicate, and beaded pieces that can’t be washed must be handled carefully. Never wet these pieces if you aren’t sure about their cleaning instructions. Never use a vacuum on a beaded or fragile cloth wall piece. Use a paintbrush or art brush to lift and sweep away debris on these pieces.
Use a light vacuum with very low suction to gently clean delicate pieces. Before vacuuming a rare or worn piece, lay it on a flat surface and cover the piece with clean fiberglass screen material. The mesh in the screen layer keeps weaker individual yarns from pulling free of the cloth backing.
Stock Up on Cloth Sheeting
Unbleached cotton and muslin sheeting are essential tapestry-moving materials. Since oils, fumes, and acids stain and degrade fabrics, never store cloth wall hangings in contact with surfaces that contain these destructive components.
Fiber-damaging surfaces and wrappings include:
- Blue or white tissue
- Wrapping paper
Use cotton and muslin sheeting around rolled or folded cloth wall hangings. Tie and secure with strips of cotton or muslin. You can also pack tapestries and cloth wall hangings in clean cotton pillowcases. Body-length pillow covers are often long enough to cover wider rolled tapestries.
Check for Pests
A host of pests are happy to turn your tapestries into nesting materials or food for their babies. Both rodents and insects will destroy fabrics that are hung or stored. They chew holes in cloth, and insects lay their eggs in tapestries and cloth wall hangings.
The following are a few fabric-infesting pests:
- Webbing clothes moth
- Case-making clothes moth
- Carpet or tapestry moth
Experts say that most moth-related fabric damage happens to articles that are neglected for long periods of time. If your wall hangings haven’t been dusted or cleaned in many moths, inspect them for signs of moth damage, larvae, and eggs.
Before you pack and move tapestries, brush or vacuum away any eggs or silken attachments. Otherwise, you may take the moths to your new home. If you’re storing tapestries short-term, place them where rodents or insects won’t invade them.
Roll and Store Pieces Carefully
Avoid folding wall hangings when you pack them. The creases along folds may be hard to remove from the fabric. Pack smaller wall hangings flat and wrap them with cotton or muslin sheeting. Tape cardboard sheets together on the front and back to hold the piece in place, then pack it in a cushioned box.
For storage and relocation of larger wall hangings, pieces should be rolled. Always remove metal fasteners and pieces from your wall hangings, and never roll tapestries on metal pipes or tubes.
Use carpet tubes as rollers for your tapestries. Make sure the roller is longer on each end than the edges of the tapestry you’re rolling. This protects the edges and/or fringe from getting banged up or fraying.
To roll wall hangings, lay the hanging on a flat surface like a clean table, floor, or counter. Cut a piece of cotton sheeting as wide as the tapestry and long enough to cover the very end of the tapestry plus a few loops around the rolling tube.
Lay one end of the sheeting carefully over the edge of the tapestry where you plan to start rolling. Roll the opposite end over the rolling tube, keeping the fabric smooth and even until it meets up with the fabric laid over the wall hanging.
Continue rolling the wall hanging over the sheeting and around the tube. As you roll the wall hanging, adjust the tension of the roll so that you don’t crease the fabric or pull too tightly on the weave. Once rolled, wrap the entire roll in cotton or muslin sheeting.
For short-term storage before the move, place your clean, dry, sheeting-wrapped wall hangings in plastic bags. The plastic protects your wall hangings from rain damage and other accidental splashes during the move.
Take the hangings out of the plastic bags as soon as possible when you get to the new place. Cloth wall hangings stored in plastic may mildew, degrade, and attract pests.
Get a competitive quote for your next move by contacting the moving specialists at Bekins today. If you don’t have time to properly pack your wall hangings, our professional packers are happy to do the job for you.