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Rolled Temporary Storage and Protective Shipping Support for Large, Flat, Flexible Objects


This storage system was designed to provide secure temporary storage for large flat, flexible objects. It offers protection from moisture, light, dust, or biological infestation, and is an efficient use of storage space (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Rolled object in 4in polyethylene foam plank cradles.


Diana Dicus
Pacific Regional Conservation Ctr.
Bishop Museum
Box 19000-A
Honolulu, HI 96817 USA
Tel (808) 848-4113
Fax (808) 841-8968

Figures. 1,2,4: Diana H. Dicus
Figure 3: Melissa ArnoldĀ 

Publication: 1992


This storage system consists of industrial grade cardboard tubes with a heavy paper surface, originally manufactured to be used as forms in the pouring of concrete. These tubes have good dimensional stability and weight bearing characteristics (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. Tubes, concrete column casting forms.

Each tube is cleaned and wrapped in a poly-aluminum laminate vapor barrier (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. Heat application to poly-aluminum laminate.

Next, a layer of needle-punched polyester batting liner is wrapped around the tube, followed by a layer of pH neutral unbuffered tissue (Fig. 4). The object is rolled on the tube with pH neutral unbuffered tissue interleaving for the full length of the object.

Figure 4. Tube wrapped with needle-punched polyester batting.

Only one object is rolled on each tube. and the outermost surface of the object is covered by the tissue. The finished roll is wrapped in polyethylene sheeting, sealed with polyester tape, and tied with cotton twill tape at the two ends (Fig. 1).

Two polyethylene foam plank cradles hold each tube, one at each end of the tube beyond the outer edge of the object. The cradles keep the tubes from resting on the floor (Fig. 1).

Alternatively, a polyethylene foam circle can be placed on each end of the tube after rolling the object. After wrapping the tube in polyethylene sheeting, the system can be slid into a larger diameter tube. This provides additional protection and is useful for shipping.

Materials Tools Supplies

  • Cotton sewing thread
  • Cotton twill tape, 1in
  • Hand lining iron with controller
  • Large-eye, blunt-end needle
  • pH neutral unbuffered tissue
  • Poly-aluminum laminate
  • Polyester batting, needle-punched or non-woven polyester sheeting
  • Polyester transparent tape, 1in
  • Polyethylene foam plank, 4in x 24in x 108in
  • Polyethylene sheeting
  • Tubes, concrete column casting forms, 8in, 10in, 12in, 14in, or 16in inner diameters – 20ft lengths
  • Vacuum cleaner


  1. Cut a 10in diameter tube, 12-18in longer than the width of the object to be rolled on tube (Fig. 2). This will give room for supporting the tube at each end without exerting pressure on the object.
  2. Vacuum clean the inside and outside of the tube to remove all debris and dust. Wipe with a cloth as necessary.
  3. Cut the poly-aluminum laminate so that it extends 1in over each end of the tube. Fold laminate over edge of tube.
  4. Heat seal the poly-aluminum laminate to the outside of the tube with the iron (Fig. 3).
  5. Cut and wrap a layer of polyester needle-punched batting around the tube. The padding should be long enough to fold over each end of the tube, and wide enough to go around the tube once.
  6. Stitch the padding together along length of the tube, with cotton sewing thread and a large needle. Fold over and sew at ends as needed (Fig. 4).
  7. Place a layer of pH neutral unbuffered tissue around the tube, and over the padding.
  8. Roll the object, interleaving it with neutral tissue paper.
  9. Cut polyethylene sheeting large enough to cover entire tube.
  10. Wrap the polyethylene sheeting with a 4-7in overlap along length of tube, leaving a 4-7in extension at each end for tying.
  11. Seal the wrapped polyethylene along the length of the tube with the 1in polyester tape. Gather the polyethylene together at each end of the tube and tie tightly with 1in cotton twill tape (Fig. 1).
  12. a) Measure the circumference of the wrapped tube for inner dimension of the polyethylene cradle, and make two cradles for each tube (Fig. 1). As an alternative to making cradles, follow 12b below.
    b) Thoroughly vacuum-clean and wipe a 16in inner diameter tube, cut slightly longer than the tube on which the object is rolled. Cut two donut-shapes from 4in polyethylene plank. The inner circumference of the donut should be the outer dimension of the tube on which the object is rolled. The outer dimension of the donut should be the inner dimension of the 16in tube. Place a donut on each end of the smaller tube and slide the entire system into the 16in diameter tube.


This system was designed for temporary use to store large multi-layered Kapa Moe (Hawaiian tapa cloth used for bedding or sleeping, usually made up of separate sheet folded at one end and hand stitched together). It provides an excellent solution to transporting these objects safely in and out of a large freezer for insect control freeze-sterilization, or for shipping to another location. This is a temporary system because over time it could stress the tapa, cause wrinkles in a multilayer tapa, and prohibit easy visual and physical access.

Objects should be rolled onto the tube by two persons, one holding each end. The roll is smoother if the tube is held above the table or work surface during the revolution of the tube. If rolling a Kapa Moe, good alignment is easier when the seam end of the tapa is rolled onto the tube first. The tissue interleaving should be long enough to cover the last layer of the rolled object.

If the two-tube system is used for additional protection or for shipping, the larger tube can be wrapped in polyethylene sheeting and sealed with 1in polyester tape along the seam and at the two ends.

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