Designer Resources: The Many Uses of Spoonflower

This past fall I started working at Spoonflower, an online company based in Durham, NC that offers print-on-demand fabric, wallpaper, decals and gift wrap. The company was founded in 2008 and has blossomed over the years into a custom print powerhouse.

Being an independent designer with an entrepreneurial spirit, I started seeing new opportunities for my line as I learned more about the business - as well as crafty ideas I wanted to explore just for fun. I wanted to share a few of those ideas, in hopes that they might inspire other creative people to grow their own creative endeavors!

Textile Design. How many times, as a very small scale designer, have I looked for a fabric print that I just couldn't find? To get a custom textile printed typically requires such volume as to make it cost prohibitive for most small business owners. Spoonflower offers the unique service of print on demand fabric, in any yardage needed, on a variety of over a dozen different natural and synthetic fabrics, including an organic cotton sateen and organic cotton knit.

I found a tutorial online explaining how to create a basic repeating pattern and started playing with ideas for fabric designs. In the course of a month Of developed a handful of designs I liked and added them to my account, making them available for others to see on Spoonflower's website marketplace. 

A screen shot of my shop on the Spoonflower marketplace! 

A screen shot of my shop on the Spoonflower marketplace! 

There are many textile designers that use Spoonflower as a source of income. When you add a design to the Spoonflower marketplace, you receive a 10% commission on any orders placed for your design! This makes it possible for independent designers to share their work with the public at no up-front cost and gives Spoonflower a wealth of content to offer their customers.

Digital Patterns. In addition to the fabric aspect of the business, Spoonflower recently added paper media to their custom print offerings. This for me thinking.... if I can create textile designs to share on the  marketplace, why not also offer patterns for sale for people to make with that fabric?

I decided to scan one of my favorite hand-drawn sewing patterns and use Photoshop to turn it into a digital, printable pattern. (The tutorial for this undertaking will be available on the Spoonflower blog soon and we'll be sure to share it here!) The gift wrap rolls that Spoonflower offers are 24" wide by 72" long, which turned out to be a great large scale print format for my sewing pattern with room to include assembly instructions. Not only can I now print copies of my pattern to share for classes and have beautiful backup copies of my work, but I also have the option to offer my pattern for sale on the marketplace!

One of the fabric designs I created available in my Spoonflower shop, made into a great tank top for summer! 

One of the fabric designs I created available in my Spoonflower shop, made into a great tank top for summer! 

Endless Projects. By creating this online community of makers, designers, and crafters, Spoonflower has created a gigantic online library of project ideas along with the tools to make them. The company offers classes each week, often taught by employees and local artists, as well as open studio nights where anyone can come get feedback from like-minded individuals on their projects.

Redress Member (and Spoonflower team member) River Capel makes a shirt at a class in the Spoonflower Green House.

Redress Member (and Spoonflower team member) River Capel makes a shirt at a class in the Spoonflower Green House.

I recently taught a class making the shirt from the pattern I shared above and have another class on the calendar for next month! Redress has hosted workshops at Spoonflower and looks for other ways to work with this great local company and our collective community of artists, makers, crafters, and entrepreneurs.  Spoonflower recently awarded an Emerging Designer Grant to Angelika Gale of NCSU, who will be creating a collection for the 6th Annual Redress Eco Fashion Show coming up this May 30th!