Posted on: 13 April 2016
Like tassels and honors cords, graduation stoles are mementos of your academic achievement and your graduation day. They represent not only your hard work, but also the grand finale of four (or more) years of memories. Once graduation day is over, you'll probably want to display it proudly or at least store it properly so it doesn't get dirty, ripped or wrinkled. Here are four ways to store it neatly, display it or keep it in great shape for years.
1. Hang it.
Hanging your stole is actually a great way to keep it from developing permanent creases, which can be helpful if you haven't yet decided how you will store it permanently. You can find a foam or velvet "neck" for displaying necklaces at most craft supply stores and attach a hook or hanging loop to the top. Drape the stole around the neck and hang it in an area away from direct sunlight to prevent fading. This won't prevent it from collecting dust, though, so you may need to vacuum it gently occasionally to keep it clean. Your stole will be wrinkle-free if you decide to do something else with it later.
2. Pack it away.
If you want to make sure it's protected from sunlight, dirt and dust, store it in a trunk a box designed for storing textiles. Place it between two sheets of acid-free paper and roll it up. Regular tissue paper or plastic can leech chemicals and pigments onto your stole and discolor it, and folding it can form permanent creases that will weaken the fabric.
3. Frame it.
Mounting and framing our stole looks professional and creates a beautiful piece that you can hang at home or work. You can do it yourself or have it custom framed, but either way, be sure to use an acid-free background material. This will keep the background paper from depositing pigment on the stole or absorbing colors from it. Additionally, an acid-free background won't fade or discolor over time. Frame your stole as you would a paper diploma – it may be exposed to sunlight or other environmental factors that can hasten the degradation of paper materials, so always use high-quality framing materials.
4. Create a collage in a shadow box.
A shadow box gives you some space between the backing and the glass to include dimensional items such as your mortarboard, tassels, academic medals, school pennant or any other items that are too thick for a traditional frame. It's a more casual way to display and preserve your stole, but it's perfect if you just want to give it a place of honor and keep it reasonably clean. As with framing, use acid-free or archival collage materials such as scrapbooking supplies intended for long-term use.
Whichever method you choose, have your stole dry cleaned before doing anything with it. Any organic matter such as sweat, stains or traces of cosmetics can eat away at the fabric. Stains can also get larger over time or set permanently, and you don't want to have to dismantle a shadow box or framed piece to have to clean your stole. When you order your custom graduation stole, be sure to ask the vendor for the fiber content and fabric care instructions so you can provide this information to the dry cleaner.