Sandra Springs Into Spoonflower

Today is officially the first day of Spring and flowers are everywhere.  I think it’s a great time to take a look at Spoonflower. I’m going to give you a quick tutorial on how I turned black-and-white ink drawings into a quilt, using the wonderful Spoonflower printing services. Before I get going, for any of you who don’t know what Spoonflower is, it is simply, a company that will print your artwork onto fabric. I have used it several times with much joy and satisfaction and look forward to some free time when I can create more.

Some quick facts and great things about Spoonflower:

  • They have 12 kinds of fabric, from several cottons,  to knit, jersey, silk crepe de chine and even canvas, starting at $15.75 per yard
  • There’s no minimum order
  • Swatches are available for $5.00
  • Printing is eco-friendly
  • They even have wallpaper and gift wrap!

So, here’s a little lesson on how this works. First, you need to create your artwork. In this case, I’m using flowers I drew with brush and black ink, and scanned into my computer. In my illustration and lettering work, I mainly use Adobe Illustrator, but it is not necessary to use this program. You just need to be able to upload your artwork in a form that is acceptable to Spoonflower (there’s plenty of help on their site). Here are the flowers in their raw form:

black and white flower art

Then, I had fun playing with the colors and placement. I tried repeating, adding shadows,  and altering the colors.  For example:

Screen shot 2014-03-19 at 7.59.26 PM

I played with the layout, added a background color, and here’s the finished art, combining all the flowers:

Screen shot 2014-03-19 at 9.03.32 PM

Here’s where Spoonflower comes in. You simply go to their website, upload your artwork, and decide how you want it configured onto the fabric. This is what it looks like on your screen:

Screen shot 2014-03-19 at 7.54.18 PM

Knowledge about “dpi” (dots per inch) and scale are helpful. You can reduce the art for repeats, and even change the placement of the repeat. For example:

Screen shot 2014-03-19 at 7.53.10 PM

Here’s the cotton fabric (almost 2 yards) on the design wall of my studio…..

IMG_1960 copy

….and here’s the completed quilt. It is titled, “My Imaginary Garden”.

P1040104 copy

I have had several designs printed by Spoonflower, and have made them “public”, which means that anyone can go to the site and purchase my designs with the fabric of their choice. I get a small percentage which can be converted into “Spoondollars”, which means more free fabric for me, yay! My next hurdle in using Spoonflower is learning the correct way to do a repeat, so that my design can be printed without seeing the “tiling”, meaning the image flows and you can’t see where the repeat happens. I very much want to learn this technique and it is on my “to do” list! So far I have avoided it by making my image large enough to print it in one image across the width of the fabric. A lady from Paris ordered my “Big Buddha” fabric and made a dress from it! I was delighted to see a picture she sent of herself in the dress. Another Spoonflower customer bought my “Big Buddha” on canvas and had it stretched onto a frame so she could hang it in her dining room! Many possibilities!

This is basically it. I encourage you to go take a look at the website. You can put in a keyword to find existing fabric that people have designed that you can purchase. For instance, if you put in the keyword “underwater” you will find my “Big Star Maiden” design, along with 252 other underwater designs. I think the sky’s the limit when it comes to utilizing this service for one-of-a-kind fabric for quilting projects, and clothing too.

Before I sign off, I want to announce that an article I wrote is coming out in the April/May issue of Quilting Arts Magazine, in the “Spotlight” section. It is an issue about making portrait quilts and I feel very honored to have been included. I hope you’ll check it out and consider talking my class at Zephyr Cove this Fall.

Happy Spring, and don’t forget to smell the flowers!


12 thoughts on “Sandra Springs Into Spoonflower

  1. Wow, I forgot about Spoonflower. Thank you for the concise and to the point, lesson. I want to do fabric design too, someday… But reminding me about Spoonflower, I could make someday, TODAY! Love your work Sandra.

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