Curtain Care 101

When you invest money in your curtains, you certainly want to maintain their quality for as long as possible. Whether you just purchased a divider curtain for your home, warehouse, office or business or are looking for ways to keep your stage curtains  in pristine condition, use this curtain care guide to find out how to make them last.

Professional Grade Curtains


Dry Cleaning Curtains

Dry cleaning is the best option for professional non-synthetic stage curtains or any other treated curtains. Let your dry cleaner know if your fabric is flame retardant and ensure they’re using a solution that won’t affect it, as this could pose a future fire hazard.

Common flame retardant fabric used in theatre are: muslin, commando cloth, chroma key, marvel velour, sound absorbing fabric, and shark tooth scrim.

A Note on Flame Resistance

Flame retardant curtains are necessary for public spaces. A lot of factors, including curtain care, venue humidity and more, could affect flame resistance over time. To ensure your curtain maintains its flame retardancy over time, always make sure to:

  1. Test the fabric before and after dry cleaning.
  2. Retreat with flame retardant sealant solution as needed.

Dusting Curtains

Napped velour curtains will gather dust in the nap; you can lightly vacuum or beat like a rug before dry cleaning. Smooth fabric curtains will have dust on the surface, so you can brush and shake the dust/dirt off.

How to Hand Wash Curtains

If you are using synthetic fabrics (like encore velour), you can hand wash your curtains in a tub using mild detergent only (no fabric softener). Tumble dry on low, then hang immediately; never hang while wet. If you find that your fabric is simply too big to wash on your own, you may just want to opt for professional cleaning for convenience.

A Note on Synthetic Fabrics

The great news about synthetic fabrics is that, although they can get dirty, they’re easy to clean! Here’s what to do in case you encounter a common care issue with your synthetic fabric curtain:

  1. Paint marks and other stains can be spot cleaned with warm water (no bleach or harsh cleaners or detergents). Be sure to always use a soft bristled brush and test a small area with your cleaning solution first.
  2. Synthetic fabric curtains are known to attract dust. A lot of theaters choose to sweep or vacuum to get the dust off, or use a compressor hose to blow the dust and other debris off.

How to Fold Curtains for Storage

Curtains should always be stored in a cool, dry place both before and after using. You want to avoid moisture and dust to maintain the quality and life of your curtains.

Before taking theater curtains down, sweep the stage to ensure you won’t get any unwanted debris on the fabric. Use the whole stage to straighten out the curtain and fold it neatly, face to face. Store in a canvas bag (never plastic) so the fabric can breathe and prevent mildew.

Industrial and DIY Curtain Care


Plastic and Vinyl Curtains

Plastic and vinyl  curtains are both easy to clean. To avoid mold and mildew, simply wipe them down as needed. Use a non-abrasive cloth and a mild detergent/cleaner. Cleaners with bleach are recommended for clear PVC curtains being used in industrial settings.

Canvas and Drop Cloth Curtains

Woven fabrics like canvas attract dust, hair and even mold (ick!). We suggest removing all your curtain hardware seasonally to clean. In between then, use a dust brush while they’re hanging. You could also spray your curtains with some water-resistant spray to help control mildew.

Final Tips

If you’re ever in doubt of how to care for your curtain, contact a professional. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Need more tips? Check out our Complete Guide to Fabric Care, or drop your questions in the comments below.

GG Knows – A Dictionary of Textile Terms

Meet GG, one of the beloved founders of Chicago Canvas & Supply. Although she’s no longer with us, her vast knowledge of industry terminology lives on in this textile dictionary! Each month, we’ll pull from GG’s personal collection of terms—don’t miss out by subscribing to our blog over on the right-hand side of this webpage.

Ready to learn something new? Let’s get started!
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Quick Guide: What is Velour?

If you have an upcoming theater production coming up, you’re probably debating which theater fabrics you’ll need. We understand that every production, team and budget is different. But if there’s one fabric we recommend to any size theater, it’s velour. What is velour? Keep reading to find out.

 

What is Velour?

Velour is a knit, napped fabric that’s memorable for its lush feel. Velour gets its signature soft feel from what’s called a pile knit texture (which comes from a weaving process where the loops are cut off at the end).
In the theater industry, velour is beloved for its rich luster, fabric durability and clean appearance. Velour fabric can be made from cotton or synthetic material, and has a range of qualities depending on the weight and type chosen.

 

Difference Between Velvet and Velour

Velour is not to be confused with velvet. Although similar, velour is a pile knit fabric, whereas velvet is a pile weave fabric (yarns are looped into one direction). The difference? Velvet is a lot softer and more luxurious, but also more delicate and better suited for lighter applications like clothing.

Velour Stage Curtains

Velour is a tried-and-true theater fabric. Known for its light-absorbing qualities, velour is most commonly used as stage curtains.

Uses for Velour Stage Curtains

Velour fabric is super durable and versatile in use. Plus, the crush fabric looks great, making it a smart investment for small to large theaters.  Any high school, college, church, community or national theater can use flame-retardant velour fabric for:

  • Professional looking stage curtains
  • Acoustical sound absorption
  • Pole and drape applications
  • Mid-sized main settings
  • Cyclorama curtains
  • Theater backdrops
  • Stage borders
  • Stage skirting
  • Upholstery

Black Velour Fabric

Example of black velour curtains - customer photo
Black Velour Fabric (Customer Photo)

Choose from many weights, naps, colors and styles!

Comparing Stage Curtains

If you’re looking to get some stage curtains for your production, this chart will help you compare the many fabric options you have:

FR Fabric Weight Light absorbing Wrinkle-resistant Opacity Sound absorbing
Duvetyn FR Cotton 12 oz. X
Commando Cloth FR Cotton 16 oz. X
Encore Velour IFR Polyester 15 – 22 oz. X X X
Sound Absorbing Material FR Cotton 20 oz. X X X
Marvel Velour FR Cotton 21 oz. X X X

Tips on Creating a Stage Flat

Stage and set design is an art form. Whether it’s for a professional Broadway show, or your local high school production, it’s the job of the set design team to find a way to transport you from the stage to another land. The tricky part is creating scenery that captures your imagination and can also be moved easily and quickly—this is where stage flats (or theatre flat) comes into play. Read more

FR vs. IFR for Stage Curtain Fabric

What Is The Difference Between Flame Retardant And Inherently Flame Retardant Theatre Fabric?

Fabrics are an important element in theatre and arts. However, determining the proper type of fabric can sometimes be challenging, especially when it comes to differentiating between Flame Retardant and Inherently Flame Retardant.  While they only differ by a few letters, there is a definite difference between the two.

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Comparing Fabrics for Theater Curtains

Guide to Selecting the Ideal Fabric Type for your Theater Curtains

Let me set the stage for you. Big production coming up and your job is to buy the fabric to make theater curtains. You are clicking from site to site, trying to figure out which fabric is going to be best-suited.  So many choices! There is also a budget to stay within. Isn’t it also always the case that these were needed yesterday?  Ya’ know… just to keep it interesting.  Let us save you some time with a simple chart comparing theater fabrics so the next time you are in need of fabrics for your stage curtains, you will know exactly what to order.

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Chicago Canvas Theater Fabrics at Stage Expo

Chicago Canvas had the pleasure of exhibiting at USITT’s Stage Expo March 19-21.  From costume displays to gorgeous fabrics, the Stage Expo always provides a dynamic hands-on environment to learn about the latest happening in the entertainment industry, including audio, lighting, set designs, and media. We even saw art being created on canvas with the artist standing up and using paint brushes with long 3′ handles on. Cool!
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