July 31, 2012

Spoonflower: Design and Print Your Own Fabric - Susan from crafterhours visits!

Today I hand over the blog to Susan, from crafterhours.  Susan is one half of the beautiful duo (Adrianna, the other half) that inspires me and thousands of other mothers, friends, sewers, and DIYers daily.  Check out their blog and their 59 tutorials, and please don't miss out on their ingenious creation: Drawer Stickers.   BUT first..... a word from Susan about Spoonflower!!

Hi Emmaline Bags readers! I'm Susan from crafterhours. I blog with my friend Adrianna. We write about things we make for ourselves, our families, our friends and our homes.


Janelle asked me to share some thoughts on my experiences with Spoonflower, a digital fabric printing service, and I'm happy to-- it's one of my favorite-est things to do and to talk about! Since there are two ways to use it, I've just written today at crafterhours about using it as a fabric shopperThe second way to use Spoonflower is to function as a designer. 

Spoonflower prints on fabric using giant inkjet printers. Not wildly different from what you likely have at home, just a lot bigger, using longer lasting washable inks and specially calibrated to give consistently good results. There's a quick video of one of their printers in action here. 

Prices start at $15.75/yard and go up based on the type of fabric you choose. You can order a fabric sample pack for just $1, shipping included. Spoonflower also includes a free printed fabric swatch with every fabric order. You can order swatches, fat quarters, half-yards and infinite yardage. Designers also have the option of ordering samplers at lower costs to test prints. Here's an example of a sampler, where I've printed several versions of a union jack cheater cloth design. Each section is 8" x 8":

Designing for Spoonflower not as mind-boggling as it may sound. If you want to keep things simple, Spoonflower makes it easy to do that. You can upload a wide variety of image sizes and file formats to create a design. Once your design is uploaded, you can use embedded tools to edit the image itself, adjust the colors and choose the way it will repeat. 

If you'd like to go a little further than the most basic functions, I have a few tips.

For sure, start by getting a color guide. You can get this one for $1, including shipping. I'd say that's step 1, no matter what you're planning to do. This color guide includes 171 colors-- both a tile of the color and beneath each tile the RGB code you'd need to create it.
The $1 color guide and a few of the printed swatches I've gotten along with fabric orders.
Consider getting the big color map. The $1 chart above is a fantastic start, but the large scale chart is a must-have if you're going to get serious about fabric design. Colors are critical to success. I love this as wall art, but it's entirely practical to have on hand because it doesn't matter how fantastic your monitor is, the colors that appear on a screen will be different from the colors that print on a surface.


In this larger format the codes are included on top of each tile.

Spend some time thinking about the fabric options. This page on the Spoonflower site discusses all of the types of fabric and gives you all of the relevant details like the width and the weight of the fabric. The images of each fabric help illustrate how the same image will appear slightly different on each substrate because of the base color, texture, weight and absorbency of the fabric. Interlock knit, for example, prints differently. It's a substrate that's slightly more oatmeal-ish in color, and the inks are a little more absorbed into the fabric. Not a bad thing, just something to keep in mind.
9 of the 10 current fabric options
At first glance, the price differences seem big in-between the "substrates" or types of fabric. But when you look at the cost of each fabric by the square inch instead of by the yard, the prices aren't that different. Kona (which is PFD white, I learned by asking) is 42" wide and $18/yard. Sateen is 56" wide and $27/yard. Cost per square inch is .14 and .16, respectively. Not too crazy.

If I were to be offered the chance to choose what's next as far as Spoonflower fabrics, I'd like to see a jersey knit option. I'd also like to see larger quantity price breaks. Currently there's a discount of 10% for all designers and 20% for orders of 20 yards or more. I have a projects coming up that could require more than that, at least I'm hoping, so I'd love to see some closer-to-wholesale options.

If you have questions, I'm happy to answer 'em! Thanks for letting me come and play visiting fabric nerd, Janelle!
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Thank you so much Susan!  I can't wait to get started on my own fabric designs.  I've got patterns and now colors and fabrics twirling around in my head. 

** Make sure your read more about being a shopper at Spoonflower by reading Susan's post today at crafterhours!

Thank you for stopping by,
Janelle

8 comments:

  1. Great information! I was curious about color selection, so the swatches are going to be a definite must have. I have not ordered from them yet, but have played around a bit but for those of you that have used Spoonflower fabrics, how do they do in the wash? Do you find the colors fade over time or some fabric compositions last longer than others? Thanks Janelle and Crafterhours for sharing the info! Cindy/RaspberrySunshine

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  2. Spoonflower recommends washing in cold water with phosphate free detergent. I've been using "Tiny Bubbles" powder. The pieces I've washed consistently that way do fairly well. The most important part of washing is paying attention-- making sure the Spoonflower bits are washed separately from general laundry. For a quilt, which I'd already be pretty attentive to/careful about washing, that's easy.

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    1. Thank you for the reply, Susan!!! Abby from Things for Boys, was talking recently about her spoonflower printed labels which were sewn on children's clothes and they have washed up quite well.

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  3. I learned a lot from this post, most importantly that I need to purchase the color card. Thanks!

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    1. Hi V! If you can, get the big color map. I have the small color guide and I have to say, it hasn't given me enough colors to start with. I wanted do to something with taupe or tans and there isn't any browns at all on it. One orange-brown, but that is it. But there is heaps of grey! Janelle

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  4. Now if only i was actually creative enough to design my own fabrics! I do love the colour chart fabric though - it would make a fab bag!

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  5. Fabric items online stores now it has become easier to find designer decorator fabric of your choice. The unique color scheme and pattern of fabric will surely light up your room decoration.

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I LOVE your comments! I like to reply via email, so please make sure your email address is set up in your Blogger preferences. However, if you are a 'noreply@blogspot.com' commenter, check back here for your reply, Thank you!! Janelle

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