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 shopper. The 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!
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,