Asked on Nov 03, 2013

Using straw bales for indoor display

by Desiree
I'm hoping someone can offer help with two questions about using straw bales as indoor store displays. First, would you do so in the first place? In other words, is it safe? (I've heard that bales often need to be sprayed with fire retardant.) Second, is there a way to reduce or eliminate the straw smell? Is there a way to reduce the amount of particulates/dust that fall from the bales?
Thanks so much,
  9 answers
  • Peg Peg on Nov 03, 2013
    Mice love bales of hay outside to keep warm! Not sure about indoors. They might dry out quick with heat indoors & what a mess?
  • Desiree Desiree on Nov 03, 2013
    Thanks for your comment. I'm not concerned about the mess (I have a shop vac). More concerned about the strong smell inside a retail store that will sell general vintage/antique items along with rustics.
    • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Nov 07, 2013
      @Desiree you may want to check with your local fire department as far as fire hazard and if your insurance will cover you. Professional deorators use them in our malls regularly, perhaps one of them could also provide some advice.
  • Peg Peg on Nov 03, 2013
    You should be fine.... Love that Fall smell :)
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Nov 04, 2013
    As long as you are willing to put up with smell and mess, you should be fine for a short time. Personally I be more worried about ingesting toxic fire retardant than the smell of the straw.
  • Barbara Barbara on Nov 05, 2013
    Big fire hazard, as well as allergies, dust, etc. There are smaller manufactured bales at craft stores available, which could be saved for years to come. You could work that into your display, along with old wooden boxes to get an outdoor effect.
  • Marci N Marci N on Nov 05, 2013
    Try getting some bales of hay instead. Its finer and smells better. Like cut grass. I love the smell of hay, straw not so much. But it will be messy, We have horses and I am amazed at just how far that hay gets. You could make some wooden "bales" then glue hay or straw to the outside so it looks like a bale. Then spray is with a sealer so its not smelly. One thing to be careful of is to NOT get wet bales. They can be a fire hazard if they get wet or are baled wet. Plus they would smell nasty and moldy. Perhaps that is the bad smell your thinking of. Good green sweet hay or straw smells pretty good. In fact I wish they could bottle it-I would buy that perfume....
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Nov 06, 2013
    Check out this product, it might work for your application.
    • Desiree Desiree on Nov 06, 2013
      @360 Sod (Donna Dixson) This just might be the solution I am looking for. Thanks for this.
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Nov 06, 2013
    You are welcome. Let us know how it works out for you
  • Glenna Nice Glenna Nice on Nov 07, 2021

    Helloooooo. Yes I do use them quite often for indoor decor.

    As you can see below. I have found that buying a can of clear spray paint for each medium size bale is a necessity. First unwrap the bale outside or in the garage. Next you will want to smack the bale several times with a flat palm on each side until the smaller flakes of wheat chaff either completely stop falling out, or becomes very sparse. Mind u this will take a bit more time than you think since the straw bales are made from waste wheat chaff from farm fields. Once you get all of the dusty small particles under control, use clear enamel spray paint. Any kind is fine, I use the cheapo stuff from the dollar store, since you do not need it for like an overcoat. All you want is to create a barrier to hold in any remaining dust from handling. Do get the straw pretty wet with it, I usually hold the can closer than if i was actually painting something. Completely cover the bale in thick coats on all 6 sides. After the first coat is completely dry, smack the bale again with a flat palm on all sides. This will encourage the dust and small particles to migrate to the outer layer, so that it can create somewhat of a conglomerate layer of straw dust and enamel. This is the last time u will want to smack the bale. Spray in coats letting each completely dry before the next,until the can is gone. For bigger bales use 2 cans, mini 6 inch ones usually do not make such a mess. If you plan using them indoors you absolutely must seal them. You do not want a customer returning an item because there is now straw all over their plus carpet, or inside the new fuzzy throws, because you have to pick out every piece. It is very irritating for someone to constantly clean up after something that they just bought for 30 or 40 bucks, depending on what you do with them. I am in the process of making a custom order one for my sister. I am using a mini horse driving bit, which i used thick hemp twine and flat craft wire to create a tiny bridle. I also bought a cowboy boot planter.. its way smaller than i had figured, but with some faux goldenrod, some dried wildflowers and a few silk leaves it looks amazing. I also got a black felt cowboy hat for a 16 inch doll on amazon, that is the perfect size for the 15 inch straw bale. I am also using a galvanized metal sign from dollar general to modge podge a print out of a sign i found on amazon, about behind every girl who loves horses, is a grandpa that believed in her. It has a small girl on a horse with an older man leading it. My sister and i grew up on a farm and had horses. I also trained and bread champions for quarter horse congress. I really hope this helps, like i said i use them and straw wreaths a lot. I have a new online business i am working on if you would like to check out more photos. please don't mind the flow of the website, I am way better at physical design than digital.

    p.s. You can also use more enamel if your bale is still shedding, or you can use camp dry, a water proofing, flame retardant for tents and boots etc.. you can find it anywhere like walmart, amazon, or outdoor stores. The enamel greatly reduces the straw smell, but u will trade for a paint smell. In our area tho, a straw smell in the house is a normal thing. Got to love Appalachia!

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