Have you always dreamt of designing fabric but didn’t think you had the skills or tools? Samantha Lanier of Live Laugh Lanier visits the blog to share how anyone can be a textile designer by following her simple steps to creating your first surface design!

Custom Fabric

This past year I discovered the magic that is Spoonflower. As most of us can admit, the initial concept of creating our own fabric is super exciting; however, it quickly becomes SCARY for those who have no design experience and who don’t have access to top ­notch programs like Photoshop. I’m here to tell you that even ‘amateurs’ like us can create a basic­-yet-­fabulous surface pattern using the advice and user-friendly programming at Spoonflower. Your allies: creativity, GIMP, and repeating tile options.

First ­things ­first…THINK SIMPLE. I know we all adore those seamlessly overlapping patterns, but as a beginner it’s okay to take baby steps. To be honest, some of my favorite patterns are those that provide visual simplicity, slight imperfection, and a real hand­made look.

Here’s how I take a simple hand­made sketch and turn it into a repeated, color pattern:



I begin with a pencil and then trace over the sketch with a fine point pen.


Scanning your sketchBe sure to save the file as ‘original’ so it’s easy to relocate.


Editing design

Download GIMP. Click ‘file’­­>’new’ and enter 450×450 pixels/inch. Click ‘file’­­>’open as layer’­­>’original’­­>’open’. Click ‘layers’­­>’scale layer’ and enter 300×300 pixels/inch. To save your work for Spoonflower, click ‘file’­­>’export as’­­ >’name.jpg’­­>’export’.

*Color option: Highlight areas to be colored with the ‘wand selection tool’ and fill them in with color using the ‘paint can tool’. GIMP will provide every color option for you if you set the color square prior to using your paint can. Be sure that areas selected are completely closed to ensure the color remains in the intended area.


Uploading to Spoonflower

Log on to Spoonflower. Follow the directions for uploading a design. Navigate to your design library and select which repeat pattern highlights your design best. Be sure to save your work! There you go!

Note: These dimensions correspond to the fabric I’m using in this tutorial. To change the size of your image you will just need to increase/decrease the dimensions accordingly. It took me three tries to get the size I wanted by saving the file, adding it to my design library on Spoonflower, and viewing it using the repeat pattern of my choice.

Only 4 days later, my beautiful Linen­ Cotton Canvas Ultra arrived and I dare say that the result is basic­ yet ­fabulous!

Custom Fabric

What did I do with this lovely yard of fabric, you ask? Well I turned it into a magnetic seat cushion of course! Here’s how:

Magnetic Seat Cushion

You know all of those glorious industrial metal chairs everyone is obsessed with these days?! Yes, I am the proud owner of a few myself. I absolutely love the metal; however, when my family isn’t at the table, I relocate my extras into different rooms. One is currently placed in my reading nook. I love the metal look, though for this room it would benefit from a softer, more­ cozy look. What better way to do so than adding a cushion­, am I right? My recent addition of cotton buds into my decor inspired the design for my fabric. Next, all I had to do was create a basic cushion cover and attach magnets.

To do so, I folded the fabric in half and cut out the dimensions specific to my chair size. Using the scraps, I cut 4 small squares and sewed them to the inside of half the fabric, being sure to place 1 round magnet between the layers.

DIY Magnet Chair Cushion

After I had my template with magnet pouches attached, I folded the fabric in half again (pattern­side facing in) and sewed both sides. I then turn the cover right­side out and stuffed a 1­inch thick piece of craft foam (pre­cut) inside. All that was left to do was sew the top edge and stick it to my chair!

DIY Magnet Chair Cushion

DIY Magnet Chair Cushion

I hope you enjoyed this two­part tutorial and good luck on all your upcoming Spoonflower adventures!

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About Our Guest Blogger

UnnamedSamantha is an up-and-coming blogger from Central Florida.  When not maintaining her career as a speech-language pathologist, Samantha is blogging about the everyday aspects of her life as a newly-wed, career woman, and new homeowner. Her blog ‘Live Laugh Lanier’ provides a variety of posts for readers including recipes, home decor, DIY projects, beauty tips, style guides, travel tips, and lifestyle advice.