From Fridge to Fabric: Turn Artwork into an Adorable Apron

SEP 21, 2017 updated Aug 3, 2021

From Fridge to Fabric: Turn Artwork into an Adorable Apron | Spoonflower Blo

As a parent, one of the most joyful and fulfilling experiences is hanging up artwork created by your kids. But as the holidays stack up, so do the drawings, pictures, and art projects. Looking for a better way to hang onto your kids’ creations instead of a revolving cast of fridge decorations? One of our favorite projects is the DIY Adjustable Apron (click here for the apron tutorial). But how do you get from artwork on the fridge to a custom, DIY apron? In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to scan, isolate, and arrange a classic kids holiday art project, the hand print turkey, into a seamlessly repeating pattern. Kid’s will love seeing their work in a new way, and you’ll love having something functional that still shows your love and pride for your little one. So grab a turkey drawing (or a couple!) and let’s get started. 

Start by collecting your kid's drawing | Spoonflower Blog

We’ll start by getting a few drawings together. You can use just one, but for some visual variety, we used two drawings, one from 2013 and one from 2012. Scan these into your computer.

Scan in images, open in Photoshop, and select | Spoonflower Blog

Next, we’re going to isolate the images by removing the background so we can manipulate them freely. Open each file separately in Photoshop and duplicate the background layer (CMD + J on Mac or CTRL+J on PC), then click the eyeball icon next to the original layer to turn off the background layer so you are working on the new layer. Note: we’re using Photoshop CC, but you can perform this process with any version of PS.

After selecting the turkey, hit delete to remove the background | Spoonflower Blog

On this new layer, use the quick selection tool (shortcut is ‘W’) to add and take away parts of the turkey. Once you’ve selected the specific area you’d like to remove, hit ‘delete.’ You should now see your turkey with a transparent background. Follow these same steps for all the images you want to use.

Create a new canvas | Spoonflower

Now we’ll create a new document at 2000x2000px, 150dpi, in RBG. This will be where we create our repeating turkey handprint pattern! These settings will be the best for uploading to Spoonflower.

Drag isolated turkeys onto your new canvas | Spoonflower

Use the move tool (Shortcut ‘V’) to drag each cut-out turkey to the new canvas you just made. Resize turkeys if needed/desired.

Use the transform tool to move around and resize turkeys | Spoonflower Blog

Fill the canvas by dragging more turkeys from your isolated files and arranging them as you like: scale them differently, rotate them, flip them horizontally… go wild!

Add more turkeys to the canvas | Spoonflower Blog

Give some variety but be careful not to have any of the turkeys touching the edges or going beyond the white of the canvas. This last part is really important to making sure your pattern repeats seamlessly. If anything goes off the edges, it will appear cut off in the final design.

Adding in some turkey tracks! | Spoonflower Blog

Want to add extra flair? Cut out some feet from the turkey drawings and make little tracks in the pattern with them. To do this, duplicate one of the layers (CMD + J on Mac or CTRL+J on PC) and use the eraser tool (shortcut ‘E’) to remove everything except the feet of the turkey. Select one of the feet using the rectangle marquee tool (shortcut ‘M’) or magic wand tool (shortcut ‘W’) and move it diagonally from the other foot so it looks more like a walking footprint.

Adding in lots of turkey tracks | Spoonflower Blog

With the feet on their own layer, place them in your pattern and duplicate and move the layer as needed to create more tracks.

Once your get your design looking like you want, save it as a PNG or JPG | Spoonflower Blog

When you’re happy with the way your pattern looks, save it as either a PNG or JPEG. Visit Spoonflower’s upload page, upload your design, and get started creating! Once you receive your fabric, check out this tutorial on how to turn your hand print turkey fabric into an awesome DIY apron!

Tight on time? Find a ready-for-fabric turkey handprint design here.

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  • Hello,
    I’m wondering if I’d be able to use pictures of Canadian Submarines to make enough fabric to make a project? I would be looking at probably 2 yards/meters. My husband is a retired submariner and I think with your website tools I might be able to create a special gift for him.

    thank you very much, Kim

    • Hi Kim,
      As long as you have the rights to reproduce the photos or it’s one you’ve taken, you can certainly print the submarine image on fabric! Here’s a helpful tutorial to get you started.