Care and Handling of Stage Drapes

Care and Handling of Stage Drapes

With proper care, stage draperies will last over 25 years. The best way to store your draperies is to leave them hanging on your stage. Care should be taken not to expose them to extreme dryness or humidity. Too much humidity can cause the flame retardant chemicals to bleed out of the drape, leaving stains. Too dry and the flame retardant turns to powder and will fall out.

Folding and Storage

Best advice is not to fold drapes, but if you have to:

  • Fold such that webbing and ties are accessible.
  • Label all drapes with positions
  • Don’t walk on them!
  • Don’t drag them, they will catch every splinter.
  • Be neat - fold with the pretty side up. Pull tight. Fold on seams, then vertically.
  • Store in dry area in bins which do not trap in moisture. Never store in a plastic bag.
  • Stage drapes typically can’t be ironed. When re-hung, wrinkles should fall out. Use weighted bar in hem to remove stubborn wrinkles.

Annual Maintenance

  • Vacuum or blow dust off tracks, chains and cables first
  • Vacuum drapes with a light brush or beat with clean broom
  • Start with the back, then top right front, working left
  • Brush first against the nap, then finish brushing with the nap
  • Be sure to brush in between the pleats
  • Keep stage area as free of dust as possible
  • Conduct a visual inspection
  • Check chords, hooks, look for missing hardware
  • Repair any tears/rips - A stitch in time does save nine!
  • Test drapery for flame retardancy with NFPA 705

Every 5 Years: Flame Retardant Renewal

Typically the flame retardancy of drapery will require renewal every 5 years. In all cases, drapery must be professionally cleaned prior to re-treatment with flame retardant.

  • For inherently flame retarded (IFR) drapery, cleaning them will restore the flame retardant properties as it is the dust which is flammable. IFR draperies do not typically lose their flame retardant properties when dry cleaned.
  • Flame retardant treated (FR) materials will require cleaning and re-treatment of drapery. Flame retardants wear off over time and are affected by humid or dry environments. Flame retardant properties are typically removed when washed, dry cleaned or steam cleaned.
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