Friday, January 30, 2009

My Art on Fabric

For a long time I've wanted to put some of my art designs on fabric for my own use. I've tried doing it myself by using both pre-cut fabric sheets for the inkjet and using a product called Bubblejet Set. Of the two, I liked Bubblejet Set. It worked great in my printer and it didn't feel like plastic when I was done.

But I own a printer that only does normal 8.5" width sheets. So if I wanted a yard, it would take a bit of printing and sewing.

A while ago someone pointed me to an online fabric printing company called Spoonflower ( There, designers can upload their designs and order what they need as a sample, fat quarter, yard, or three yards amounts. As of this post, they do not offer it for sale to anyone other than the designer.

I thought I'd give it a try.

The uploading process was quick and easy. I chose to use TIF format for my photos, but they allow jpg and png as well. After the image is uploaded a new section comes up where you can chose how you wanted the image printed. As it is, repeated horizontally and vertically, or in bricks and half bricks.

At $18 a yard, the price to me is a little steep, especially if you plan to sell your own fabric designs. However, their shipping prices are low at the moment. I chose to have three of my designs printed (the designs in this post, of course) as fat quarters ($11 each). I probably should have gone for the sample sizes to make sure they'd print right, but I wanted to have enough to add to a quilt later.

Spoonflower is still in Beta testing, which is why their site says it will take three weeks to process your order. I got mine within a week, two days after they emailed me to let me know it shipped.

First thing I noticed is the colors weren't as dark as I'd like them to be. Two seemed faded. That is through no fault of Spoonflower. Monitors are different and I was afraid my prints would come out too dark. Easy enough fix. I darkened the images and uploaded again. Of the three prints, Minta fairy was my favorite. Now that I've looked at them some more, I realize they're good just the way they are.

I also noticed that the images were larger than I hoped for. Their program showed what my fabric would look like by checking which size I was buying, so, I should have known better. By shrinking the image on my graphics program I fixed that for the next time.

As for the material, it's 100% cotton. Nice feel. It's a little too thin for my liking, but most quilters who've used this service like the fabric. Probably light to light medium thickness. Seems close to my bleached muslin, which is what I use when I use Bubbleset jet.

I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at the large white border around the print. I haven't measured yet, but I'm pretty sure the print is in fact a fat quarter.

All in all, a good service. My suggestion is to order samples to make sure the colors, print size, and lightness are the way you like, and then tweak the photo. I plan to buy more for my personal use. I haven't decided if I like it enough to sell. Well, at $18 a yard right now, it's probably a no unless someone shows a real interest.

To see more designs visit my profile at


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