an amazing fabric storage idea that I found…

by

I don’t know about anyone else, but storing my fabric has always been a problem. I want it to be kept nice and neat, but I also want it to be easily accessible.

Even more than that, I want to be able to SEE all of it… like, all at once…. during those times I’m brainstorming an idea. If I can’t see it, I forget what I have (which I guess right there signals a major obsession that is in desperate need of an intervention).

A couple of years ago, I bought one of those big cube shelves from Ikea , and I do love it. I have had my fabric stacked up in each section, and I could see it all. Well, mostly. The problem is, most of the time, each shelf ended up looking like this:

fabric disaster

I try to keep it all nice (I really do). But when I’m in the middle of 37 things, the last thing I want to do is stop and straighten out the pile each time it gets messed up because I’ve grabbed something from the bottom of it. It gets messier and messier, until eventually I can’t stand it any longer, and I re-fold the entire stack. It was the best way I could think of, though.

Until I found this awesome blog post at The Little Green Bean. She came up with the idea to fold her fabric around squares of foam board and then line them up on her shelf, like little mini bolts, and the fabric looks so wonderful in her photos that I decided I HAD to do this too.

Except that I realized it was going to cost me about $400 bucks to get enough foam board for all of my fabric. After a hopeful check to see if my money tree had sprouted in the backyard yet, it was clear that this was simply not happening!

So although I wish I could have used the foam board, my slightly less exciting but cheaper substitution was to just cut up plain old cardboard. As I searched around on the internet for some sheets of cardboard in bulk, I came across THESE.

comic book backing board

Comic book backing boards…who’d have thunk it!? These were the perfect height for my Ikea shelf, and guess what it cost me to buy enough for ALL of my fabric? $25.50! And no cutting required! The foam board would have certainly been sturdier, and I also really liked the idea of pinning the loose ends right into the foam…but for $374.50 less, I really didn’t have much of a choice. Another upside to the comic book backings is that they are thinner than the foam so I can fit a lot more “bolts” on a shelf. And that is good, because I have a ridiculous amount of fabric.

I did have to fold them a little bit differently than she did over at The Little Green Bean. My cardboard pieces are slightly shorter, so I folded the tops and bottoms of my fabric pieces over the boards, instead of just around them. But they still turned out okay:

folding the fabric

What a huge difference!

neat stack of fabric

And on my big Ikea shelf:

Perfect fabric storage on shelf

It’s like a library of fabric. I could cry.

library of fabric

Yes, I realize that being so excited over something like this pretty much makes it clear how badly I need a life outside my craft room, but still… I am happy. Considering I spend the better part of my days knee deep in fabric and craft supplies, this idea has certainly made my life a whole lot easier.

48 Responses
  • Faye
    April 10, 2011

    What a fabulous idea!!! Finally a solution to going through boxes and crates of fabrics to find the “right” ones. Thank you so much! I’m doing it!

    • Anonymous
      January 9, 2017

      Me too! Right now I have all my “ton” (according to family members), of fabric in those three drawer plastic units from WalMart. It works great for storage, just not so great for seeing, finding, and using the fabric. I am definitely going to do this. Thanks so much for the ideas.

  • ornamentgirl
    April 11, 2011

    awesome! it is SOO much better than the stacks and crates of fabric! and it looks really nice too :D

  • Darlene
    April 11, 2011

    That’s a great idea! My stash is so out of control because I’m always digging thru the piles trying to find just the right color or pattern and then leaving it all in a worse mess. :) I’m going to try this! Thanks!

  • ornamentgirl
    April 11, 2011

    awesome, Darlene! it has really helped me to keep it all organized. :)

  • Diana
    May 1, 2011

    You can find foam board at Dollar Tree and cut it down to any size you need.

  • Rachel
    September 2, 2011

    “It’s like a library of fabric. I could cry.”

    If I have a sniffle too, does that make both of us slightly less sad?! What a tip!

    • ornamentgirl
      September 3, 2011

      lol yes, slightly! :D

      • Terry Draheim
        March 27, 2017

        Oh my, I love this idea. I also love the price. Not only am I a new member to the ornament girls, I also teach quilting. I have spent way to much money on corragated quilt boards. This will be my go to problem solver. Thanks for the tip.

  • Renee
    October 19, 2011

    I truly understand you wanting to cry. It looks fabulous!!! What an awesome idea!!! I have been looking at ikea expedit for fabric storage and was pondering on whether to purchase the bin. I like this idea much better. Thanks for sharing.

    • ornamentgirl
      October 27, 2011

      So glad you like idea! I had to share, because I felt the exact same way when I first found it. :D

  • Queen Patricia
    November 7, 2011

    I love this idea. I don’t think there is any such thing as “a ridiculous amount of fabric.” I am 62 YO and am always thrilled when I see young people into crafting and sewing. I have just started my Etsy shop and have yet to build upon it, but you are inspiring. I love all your pics. I have a storage idea that I came up with that I thought was absolutely “genius.” I was looking for organized storage for my fat quarters, for which I have “a ridiculous amount.” Initially thought of CD storage racks but they were too expensive. I was looking for wall art one day when I came across wall shelving like shadow boxes, with different openings, well the depth was perfect for a folded fat quarter. Voila, I bought four of these and glued them end to end “tall” and it sits on my floor with a block of wood underneath it to keep the dust bunnies from collecting on the fabric. Actually used caulking gun because it would be more long lasting I figured. Then caulked on some black poster board onto the back so the FQ wouldn’t fall behind. It makes great storage and I can readily see them, plus they look pretty. My investment was 60 for the shelving and 5 for the caulking. My crafting room has a pretty almost lime green wall and the black shelving looks nice against it. Oops! Didn’t mean to get so much chatter in here. I do need storage for odd sized fabric and your idea is great. Need to order some. Keep on crafting. I used to think it was cheaper than therapy, but now I question that. Sincerely, Queen Patricia from Portland Maine

    • ornamentgirl
      November 9, 2011

      Thank you so much! You are right…I am not sure that crafting is any cheaper than therapy, but it’s certainly much better! :D

      Your fat quarter storage idea sounds fabulous, and I bet all the different fabrics look beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing your idea! And good luck with your new etsy shop!

    • Terri L. Scott
      January 24, 2012

      I’m not able to picture the shelving you’re talking about…can you maybe give a link to a picture of one? Thanks so much!

  • sher
    December 1, 2011

    I love this idea! Thanks for sharing. I also have discovered that I don’t have much of a life outside my craft room at times.

  • Markee
    January 29, 2012

    Wow! I actually gasped when I saw your pics of your beautifully organized and folded fabric. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE fabric. (What is wrong with me?) I love matching colors and prints and designs. I almost love putting different fabrics together MORE than I love creating something with them because I know I will be using my stash up (see, there IS something very, very wrong with me). But, look on the bright side. That only frees up space to buy more fabric. Your designs and crafts are beautiful. Thanks for the tutorials, beautiful pictures and creative ideas. You are a very talented young woman.

  • Jesse Tracy
    July 27, 2012

    And your right it looks so nice and neat..So until now you still have them?

    Jesse Tracy

  • Garry Valenzuela
    July 31, 2012

    Hi Staci,

    How tall is this ‘library of fabric’? I would like to have one.

    Garry Valenzuela

  • Nancy Sciple
    May 26, 2013

    I was looking through your site and was astonished to find your wonderful “passed on” idea about storing fabric. I guess we all have the same problem — being able to see all of our fabric and still having it stay neat. I do have one suggestion for those of us who have limited budgets — ask your fabric store if they throw away their cardboard bolts. If they do, ask if you could have them and then, using a craft knife, cut them to fit your shelves.

  • Cynthia Nordlie
    October 24, 2013

    I love all the ideas everyone has. I live in a small apartment and have hoards of fabric everywhere. Don’t have any place to put it. I am a crafter and do lots of it. Keep up the good work everyone. Keep them coming.

    Cindy

  • Cookie Pieczonka
    January 21, 2014

    I only go to the comic store to get boards if my son is with me. The guy who runs the shop always gives me this “This is a COMIC store, lady” look so I don’t go alone. At least my son gets some comics out of it when we go.

  • Megan B
    February 6, 2014

    I did this with my stash after seeing this post. Made such a difference and now I can find everything that I need! Thanks for the idea!

    Check out my FB page for the chance to win free fabric!
    –> https://www.facebook.com/pages/Woven-Treasures-Fabric-Shop/207278242810312?ref=hl

  • Joanne
    January 2, 2015

    I just received a couple of packages of the Comic Book Boards for Christmas and I can’t wait to organize my fabric. I have been using zip lock bags and they just slide all over the cabinet. I always try to organize my fabric by color as well. I am sure using these boards will make my like some much easier in finding the fabric I need for my baby blankets, changing pads and outdoor blankets for the family. Thank you to my daughter-in-law who found this terrific idea.

  • Mary Loy
    January 8, 2015

    How do I contact you to order? All I get are your photos. I love the Christmas tree and Halloween ornaments. How tall is the tree?
    Mary

  • Jackie
    January 17, 2015

    Great Idea! My fabric stash needs it. I’ll save the idea, When I update my workspace and get rid of a workstation peg board idea I incorporated about 10 years ago. Try it

  • Erin Salazar
    February 11, 2015

    I just found foam boards at DollarTree for $1 each! You can get them online too. I will be able to do this idea with foam boards (so you can pin fabric to boards) for $15! Hope this helps!

    • Staci Ann Lowry
      February 11, 2015

      oh awesome! That’s great to know. The comic book boards are still working, but being able to pin into the foam would definitely be easier. Thanks!!

  • sue ann sabanski
    October 14, 2015

    Hi Staci . I was wondering about the military ornament I need an army insignia . also thanks for the fabric tip I too have tried all kinds of ways to keep my fabric, I have a large dresser and store in the long drawers. however always messed up especially during busy season. I tell myself only Martha Stewart has a neat craft room … she has little helpers I think …. !

    • Staci Ann Lowry
      October 14, 2015

      hahaha I think you are right!

      Also, I will have kits for the military ornaments soon! I just managed to get my hands on a lot of that fabric. :)

      I also just sent a reply to your other questions that you emailed me about…. please let me know if you don’t get my email!

  • Cyndi Duke
    November 26, 2015

    That looks so awesome and I can’t believe how many different and number of bolts of fabric you have. I love that’s idea, but I would need to find a way to keep my fabric dust free. I live semi in the country and dust is a major battle for me. Are the cube dimensions 12″ cubed? I would need to use sealed plastic containers like I use for my other craft supplies I can’t wait to order the patterns and give this a whirl. I look at your ornaments daily and need to order the foam balls. I like the idea of a kit club as well but haven’t found what the cost would be. You have such talent. I am disabled so this would give me something to take my mind off pain I get when it rains or is cold.

    • Staci Ann Lowry
      December 13, 2015

      Thank you, Cyndi! I’m so sorry I didn’t see your comment here sooner. The cubes on my shelf are about 13 x 13″. I do use baskets too in a few of them, which helps to cut down on dust. :)

    • Cindy Chiarello
      April 6, 2017

      I bought a clear plastic tablecloth at Bed Bath and Beyond and cut it into pieces to fit over each shelf of fabric. I also cover the baskets with them. It keeps the dust off and it’s easy to wipe down.

  • Diane Fields
    January 8, 2017

    I have a LOT of fabric, and seriously thought about using the comic boards. I decided that I would need far more than you did! So, i went to Joann’s and asked for their empty bolts. Anything over two yards was rolled onto a bolt. Anything from ½ yard to 2 yards is on a half-bolt. Some of the bolts from Joann’s are just cardboard folded over. My hubby cut those into four pieces (not including the folded part), and I wrapped fabric around those. I have three inexpensive IKEA bookcases to hold full and half bolts. It’s wonderful! Unfortunately, I’m still not done bolting fabric! Still have two rather large tubs of fabric to go through! Oh, and I’m using plastic shoe boxes for my fat quarters. One or two per color. Organization!

  • Betty J Cornwell
    January 8, 2017

    Love that idea! I will be using that with some book shelves that only have all old books on them! I can give the books away and turn those int fabric and craft shelves! Thank you for that neat organization tip!

  • Kay Buske
    January 8, 2017

    Love the idea. I just ordered the dividers. Can’t wait to start “organizing”. Thank you.

  • Linda
    January 8, 2017

    I just went through eight huge plastic boxes of fabric that I’ve collected over 20 years and donated six boxes to a local community center with a quilting club. I kept all of the fabrics that I could possibly use for making ornaments and and of course some of my other favorite fabrics but got it down to two boxes but I love this idea and I’m going to do this in my new craft room besides Storing things better it looks really cool and I can look at my fabric all the time how pretty.

  • Pam
    January 8, 2017

    I love this idea. As a teacher I used to collect the boards that fabric is rolled on in the store. I used them for many things such as measuring in my classroom. I think that if you went to a fabric store and asked for some and cut them into the lengths you want that it would work the same. They are cardboard but a bit stronger.

  • Linda
    January 8, 2017

    Menard’s also carries these shelving units. They are so easy to set up and on sale are pretty cheap. I love mine.

  • Karen
    January 8, 2017

    Another idea for rolling your fabric, go to your local fabric store and ask for their empty bolts. They are FREE. Bring them home,cut them in half, & tape the cut end if you want. I just put the cut end up. My husband cuts them on his table saw.

  • Betty
    January 8, 2017

    I use the comic book boards for my quilting material also. It is so nice to be able to see what I have.

    • Andrea Macy
      January 8, 2017

      Amazing! That’s exactly what I did. I had so much fabric it took 5 bookshelves around the perimeter of my guest/quilt room. I searched and searched, then found the comic book boards. So economical. Good luck to you!

  • Hollie McNeely
    January 8, 2017

    I’ve been using comic boards for many years now and it is a lifesaver. Like you it was stacked nice and neat until I needed the one on the bottom as I used or auditioned fabric. I too use fabric boards when I have multiple yards but it uses less space when. Your stand up your fabric as well as helps you see it, sort it or what ever

  • Elizabeth Bahr
    January 13, 2017

    What a fantastic solution for storing material. Like you my shelf s look like a hurricane ran through them! And I can never find what I want because the shelves are too packed.
    I’m definitely going to try this ?

  • June Kite
    January 25, 2017

    I just found your website. I have been wanting to display (or organize) my fabrics for quite some time. Will use some of your ideas. Thank you for sharing.

  • nancy bishop
    April 2, 2017

    I also have the Ikea shelving & love it. I file by color and some by theme.

  • Linda
    August 10, 2017

    This is so timely a suggestion! I’m moving my Mom in with me. We are both crafters and have a hugh supply of material. I look forward to trying this suggestion . Thanks

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