How do you store fabric photo backdrops?

Fabric photo backdrops are a great way to create beautiful photo scenes and set the mood for photoshoots. They come in a wide variety of colors, patterns and materials. However, proper storage is essential to keep fabric photo backdrops looking their best for years to come. Improper storage can lead to creases, wrinkles, fading and even tearing or holes developing. With some basic preparation and organizing, storing fabric photo backdrops properly is easy. Here are some tips for storing fabric photo backdrops to maximize their lifespan and keep them looking pristine shoot after shoot.

Preparing Fabric Backdrops for Storage

Before storing fabric backdrops, it is important to properly prepare them so they can be neatly folded or rolled without developing deep creases or wrinkles. Here are some tips for prepping backdrops before storage:

– Shake out any dirt, dust or debris from the backdrop after use. Particles can grind into the fabric over time and cause wear.

– Spot clean stains with a damp cloth and mild detergent if needed. Allow to fully dry.

– Steam or iron on low heat if the backdrop is wrinkled. This helps relax the fibers before folding.

– Roll or fold smoothly and loosely rather than tightly. Sharp creases are hard on fibers.

– Place an acid-free tissue paper between folds or layers to prevent creasing or colors from transferring.

– Roll backdrops onto an empty cardboard tube for easy storage.

– Consider having backdrops professionally cleaned if they are heavily worn or dirty before long term storage. Built up dirt and oils can attract pests over time.

Hanging Options

One easy way to store fabric backdrops is hanging them up. This prevents folding creases and allows the fibers to hang freely. Consider these hanging options:

– Hang on a clothing rod in a closet or other covered storage area. Space out multiple backdrops to prevent rubbing or colors transferring.

– Hang on commercial backdrop racks designed for rolled canvas backdrops.

– Use skirt or pants hangers flipped upside down to hang folded backdrops. Clip bottom and top straps to the hanger hooks.

– Hang on heavy duty multi-hook hangers. Space hooks evenly across the top.

– Hang on wall hooks mounted to studs if you have thick wooden backdrops. Use multiple hooks for long backdrops.

– Purchase a backdrop hanging rack system that mounts to the ceiling or stands on the floor.

– Only hang lightweight cotton or polyester backdrops. Heavier materials may fall off hangers.

Folding Techniques

Rolling is ideal for hanging storage methods. But properly folding fabric backdrops can also be effective for drawer or shelving storage. Here are some folding guidelines:

– Fold on a clean, smooth surface like a table or floor rather than standing upright.

– For long backdrops, fold in half lengthwise first, then into thirds or quarters.

– Fold loosely rather than pulling fabric taut, which can stretch fibers.

– Smooth out wrinkles between folds. Do not sharply crease layers together.

– Insert acid-free tissue between folded layers to prevent creasing impressions.

– Only vertically fold backdrop shorter than 5 feet tall. Longer pieces are too heavy to support their own weight folded upright.

– For sectional backdrop pieces, keep corresponding sections folded together in a set.

Rolling Backdrops

Rolling is often the easiest storage method for minimizing creases in fabric backdrops. Follow these tips for properly rolling backdrops:

– Roll fabric face-out onto the tube to protect print designs from rubbing off.

– Roll loosely but smoothly, gently squeezing out air pockets as you roll.

– Foam pool noodles sliced lengthwise make affordable storage tubes.

– Use a tube narrower than the backdrop width so fabric doesn’t hang over edges.

– Store vertically standing upright in a backdrop tube holder or narrow box.

– Never tightly wind fabric around a tube. This can warp fibers over time.

– Secure rolled backdrop with ties or elastic bands around the tube. Avoid materials that may stain.

– Periodically unroll and re-roll in opposite direction to avoid impressions setting in fabric.

Storing in Drawers

Smaller fabric backdrops and fabric swatches can be neatly organized in storage drawers. Recommendations:

– Use shallow but wide drawers with smooth, unfinished wood bottoms.

– Roll clothes or towels and place underneath fabric to gently fill drawer and prevent creasing.

– Use archival acid-free tissue between each layer or backdrop.

– Fold fabrics loosely in stacks – do not overfill drawers.

– Designate separate drawers for lights, mediums and darks to prevent dye transfer.

– Install drawer organizers or dividers to separate backdrop pieces.

Protective Storage Containers

Plastic bins and archival storage boxes are great for protecting fabric backdrops. Look for these features:

– Acid-free, lignin-free materials won’t degrade delicate fabrics.

– Tight sealing lids prevent dust, pests and humidity from entering.

– Stackable and nesting box designs maximize storage space.

– Clear plastic lets you view contents easily for organization.

– Built-in handles make removing backdrops from high shelves easy.

– Available in various sizes from small swatches up to jumbo backdrops.

– Can be stored flat or upright depending on size.

Climate Control

In addition to storage methods, the environment the backdrops are stored in is crucial. Ideal conditions are:

– Cool 60-72°F temperature to prevent fiber damage from heat.

– Consistent humidity around 35-45% to avoid mildew.

– Low light or darkness to prevent fading colors.

– Clean and dust-free room with sealed storage units.

– Avoid direct contact with heating/cooling ducts or vents.

– Use dehumidifiers, humidifiers or climate controlled areas as needed.

Caring for Backdrops When Storing Long Term

For backdrops you won’t use often, take extra steps to prevent damage during long term storage:

– Clean backdrop thoroughly and allow to fully air dry before storing.

– Consider having professional specialty cleaning done before long term storage.

– Unroll, refold and air out fabric 1-2 times per year.

– Use archival plastic bags or acid-free cardboard boxes to store within.

– Place cedar blocks or sachets in storage containers as a natural pest repellent.

– Ensure backdrops are fully protected from dust, dirt, sunlight, humidity, heat and pests.

– Maintain consistent cool temperature around 60°F if possible.

– Lay flat and evenly to prevent creasing rather than rolling or folding.

– Store in interior closets or rooms rather than attics or basements that have temperature extremes.

Avoiding Mildew and Pests

Dampness and bugs are two big dangers for stored fabrics. Prevent them with these tips:

– Inspect backdrops thoroughly for any signs of mildew or insects before storing long term.

– Discard any backdrops with mold, mildew, unknown stains or pest damage.

– Choose storage bags, boxes and wrapping materials that are mildew resistant.

– Use silica gel packs in containers to maintain optimal humidity levels.

– Keep fabrics fully dry – wet fabrics can quickly develop mildew in storage.

– Periodically air out fabrics in sunlight and dry thoroughly if humidity is high.

– Store in an area kept between 40-50% relative humidity.

– Use cedar blocks, lavender sachets or other repellents to ward off fabric pests.

Organizing Backdrops

Keeping fabric backdrop collections neatly organized makes it much easier to find and select the perfect one for upcoming shoots. Some organizational tips:

– Assign each backdrop an identification number, name or code.

– Tag backdrops with attached labels for easy identification in storage.

– Inventory backdrops in a digital or written catalog. Include any specs like size, material, color.

– Group backdrops by color, pattern, material or size for easy retrieval.

– Maintain a ‘favorites’ storage area for your most-used go-to backdrops.

– Designate separate storage for vintage, seasonal, special effect or delicate backdrops.

– Store backdrops for a particular client or project together when applicable.

– Prevent colors from bleeding by separating lights, brights, darks and dyed fabrics.

– Roll in only one direction and use ties labeled ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ so backdrop unravels correctly.

Protecting Backdrop Investments

Fabric backdrops are an investment for photography studios and businesses. Protect your investment with proper storage and care:

– Inspect new backdrops thoroughly and return any with flaws, holes or uneven dyeing.

– Handle with care – don’t tug or drag across the ground where they can snag or pick up debris.

– Select quality dense, snag-resistant fabrics that will hold up over time.

– Consider stain-resistant, colorfast fabrics if using backdrops near food, drinks or soil.

– Repair any small holes, tears or loose threads promptly before they worsen.

– Clean stains quickly with gentle cleaners to prevent them setting.

– Unroll and reshoot older backdrops periodically to keep fabric flexible.

– Discard or replace any backdrops that become too worn or damaged for use.

– Invest in storage systems designed for fabrics rather than makeshift solutions.

DIY Backdrop Storage Ideas

Don’t have a big backdrop budget? Try these creative DIY storage solutions:

– Use PVC pipes clamped between furniture as backdrop poles.

– Hang on a freestanding clothing rack with clamps to secure top edge.

– Layer inside large cardboard poster shipping tubes.

– Keep in large zippered garment bags to prevent dust settling on fabric.

– Slide through the opening of an old laundry hamper, duffel bag or trash can.

– Use wooden paint stir sticks as rollers instead of pool noodles or tubes.

– Cut notches into a wooden board placed inside a drawer to hold fabric rolls in place.

– Use an old suitcase on its side to hold upright rolled backdrops.

– Hang lightweight backdrops on removable over-the-door hooks.

– Store in between the mattress and box spring of a spare bed.

Traveling with Backdrops

If you need to take backdrops on location for shoots, properly pack them to prevent damage:

– Roll loosely around a rigid tube that extends several inches on both sides.

– Pad ends of the tube to prevent puncturing fabric.

– Secure with soft elastic ties or fabric tape instead of anything harsh.

– Place upright inside a cardboard box or hard-sided suitcase. Surround with padding.

– Use a backdrop bag with shoulder straps for easy carrying.

– Pack in a plastic bin or waterproof carry bag in case of rain or spills.

– Bring backup velcro strips or clamps to safely hang backdrops on location as needed.

– Take down carefully, keeping fabric off wet grass or soil. Transport home flat.

– Unpack, smooth out and dry any damp backdrops immediately upon returning.

Storing Backdrop Kits

Portable backdrop kits contain frames, stands, lights and clips. Organize all the pieces neatly using:

– Foam lined hard carry cases for vulnerability during transport.

– Mark pieces with numbered tape or tags indicating their storage order.

– Cut custom slots in foam or cardboard to secure each item in position.

– Use small tackle boxes or sliding drawer organizers for fasteners, bulbs, adapters.

– Wrap cords around cord wraps or empty thread spools.

– Return all pieces to the same storage slots each time for organization.

– Store vulnerable bulbs and lights separately from hardware.


Properly storing fabric photo backdrops takes some time and preparation but is essential for protecting your investments. With the right materials, storage methods and a bit of organization, you can keep backdrops looking pristine and ready to capture picture perfect moments at upcoming photoshoots for years to come. Consider how often you use particular backdrops, your available storage space and portfolio size to select the best storage solutions. And be sure to periodically inspect stored items and care for any needed repairs promptly. Following these simple tips will keep your fabric photo backdrops ready to impress customers every time.

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