How to Sell Your Art Online with Spoonflower

AUG 2, 2021 updated Aug 24, 2021
Drawings of flowers, cars, and other doodles on paper

Photo courtesy of Surface Design Symposium panelist Amarilys Henderson

Does this sound familiar? You’ve got a sketchbook full of drawings or an iPad loaded with digital designs. You think “This would look great as a t-shirt” or “I wish I could see my artwork as wallpaper.” You dream of your illustration coming to life in peoples’ homes and in their wardrobes.

At Spoonflower, this dream becomes reality! Independent artists from around the world utilize our platform to sell their art on fabric, wallpaper and home decor. Artists receive commissions for each sale (and retain the rights to their artwork), all while being a part of a creative community that is both encouraging and inspiring.

So, how can all your ideas and sketches end up for sale on the Spoonflower Marketplace? In this article, we’ll lead you through the whole process of selling your art online with Spoonflower—from the very beginning by designing seamless repeating patterns to growing your creative and business skill sets.

 

 

What’s a Seamless Repeating Pattern?

A seamless repeating pattern is a design that when duplicated and tiled side-by-side, the edges match up with no gaps. These patterns can repeat continuously and cover as much area as you need.

Spoonflower is all about these repeating patterns! It’s how we best print your designs on our products. We take the design file you upload and place it side-by-side in order to extend your art to cover yardage of fabric and rolls of wallpaper.

When you upload a design to Spoonflower.com, you are able to tile your design in a few different ways. If your art has a clean solid colored background with no imagery on the edges, you are good to go! Just upload and select your type of repeat. This works well with simpler designs like the Spoonflower logo below, but there are plenty of other ways to get more creative with your repeating pattern.

Layout of the Spoonflower design editor, the aqua Spoonflower logo is tiled throughout

How to Make a Seamless Repeating Pattern

Are you ready to add the skill of making a repeating pattern to your toolbox? Whether you prefer sticking with hand-drawn illustrations or are all-in with digital drawing, you are sure to find the way that works best for you.

 

Creating Hand-drawn Repeating Patterns

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of putting your favorite drawing utensil to work on a fresh canvas. If you’re a fan of this feeling and you’d prefer to keep the authentic hand-drawn look to your patterns, we’ve got several tutorials to walk you through the process.

Interested in drawing a repeat, but not so interested in involving editing software? Grab some tape, a ruler, scissors and your favorite art supplies and follow our tutorial to easily create a repeating pattern that you can scan and upload to Spoonflower.

You can also dip your toe into the digital world a bit more with your drawings after you scan them into your computer. Not only can you clean up your illustrations (goodbye stubborn eraser smear!) but you can also explore the different software’s tools that make it easy to create a composition with a more complicated and varied repeat. We have tutorials that use the free program GIMP and the always popular Adobe Photoshop.

Creating Repeating Patterns Digitally

Ready to start designing with your iPad, drawing tablet or mouse? Adobe products like Illustrator, Photoshop and Photoshop Elements make it easy to create a digital design and make a repeat at the click of their offset button.

More and more artists are perfecting their digital drawing skills on their iPad or tablet. Their drawing app of choice seems to overwhelmingly be Procreate®. At just $10, this app is an affordable and powerful tool with various brushes and textures to mimic traditional mediums. It’s easy to learn, fun to experiment with, and much more portable and clean than busting out your watercolor set.

Want to learn more? We’ve got three helpful tutorials to get you started designing repeating patterns in Procreate.

Selling Your Artwork on Spoonflower

Now that you’ve got your beautiful repeating pattern, you are ready to set it for sale in the Spoonflower Marketplace. Save your design file with our requirements in mind and upload your file. Once your design looks just as you want it in your preview window, you need to order a test swatch to proof it and make sure it prints exactly how you’d like it to. You can always order a single test swatch for each design, but if you have multiple patterns, a swatch sampler might be better. However, to get the most bang for your buck, we recommend using our Fill-a-Yard Quilt Template to proof up to 42 designs at one time for as low as $18.50.

Peach and rust colored quilt made from Spoonflower's Fill-A-Yard

Proof a large batch of your designs with Fill-a-Yard

While you wait for your printed proofs to arrive, you can complete the process to become a verified Spoonflower seller. Then once you’ve received your designs in the mail and made sure they printed correctly (and made any necessary revisions), you are ready to make them available for sale on Spoonflower wallpaper, fabric, and home decor.

 

Promoting Your Spoonflower Shop

You have your first designs up for sale and your Spoonflower shop is really starting to take shape! You know the right customer is out there for your mid-century design style or your cured meat illustrations, but how do you find them and start making money from your art?

We recommend digging more into our Spoonflower Seller Handbook for helpful articles, but two goals to get you started are to take advantage of every opportunity to customize your shop and to join the community and gain exposure through our weekly design challenges.

 

Customize and Personalize Your Shop

Don’t Forget About Social Media!

Platforms like Instagram and Facebook can be great tools to promote your work. We’ve assembled some social media marketing tips and created graphics to use on your page during Spoonflower sales.

Learn More

Finding Your Design Style

Now that you know the basics of selling with Spoonflower, you may want to refine your style and visual vocabulary so your patterns stand out in the Marketplace. We invited creative community member Virginia O (vo_aka_virginia) to share her top 3 tips for new artists selling their designs on Spoonflower.

Headshot of Virginia O

3 Selling Tips from Virginia O

Tip 1:  Draw something original. Forget doing the same style you see everyone else doing. What are you good at? Draw that! Your design will stand out if it doesn’t look like everyone else’s design.

Tip 2:  Decide which market your design would appeal to and tag your design to attract that customer. For example: if you present lime green aliens sunning themselves on Mars, your design may appeal to a novelty market over a home decor market.

Tip 3:  Understand how color can set a mood and attract or repel the eye. See color as a way to convey playfulness, beauty, calmness, etc. Color is subjective and personal—and multiple color versions can often enhance what you are trying to convey to different markets.

Vo’s Designs

What’s Next?

Motivated for more ways to improve your surface designs and become more business savvy? The blog has an ever growing collection of design tutorials as well as a frequently updated Spoonflower Seller’s Handbook with helpful articles to make sure those designs are finding customers.

On August 5, we are also hosting our first ever Surface Design Symposium where talented artists and industry professionals will be sharing their experiences and words of wisdom. The sessions will be recorded and available after the event, so you can attend and learn from these experts at your own pace!

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