Last week we had our first chance to mess about with a printer and one of the designs uploaded to our Spoonflower Flickr pool (an Indian maid created by okiegirl97). I’ve photographed the swatches we printed and added those photos to the pool as well, although it’s hard to tell much from a photo like this one. As soon as we can, we’ll print more swatches and send them out.
Sometimes, a design looks better when there’s more of it. But if you have the perfect design, is it possible to repeat the image to make a pattern? You’re in luck. It’s definitely possible, and we’ll show you the way. Here’s a relatively simple technique for using Photoshop to create a repeat without requiring a textile design plugin. The steps are taken from an online column by Frederick Chipkin, the author of Adobe Photoshop for Textile Design. Note: This is to create a pattern with a tiled effect. Unless you’re using an image with a borderless white background (like mine), the image won’t necessarily match up along the edges (a seamless repeat). If you’re looking to create a seamless repeat, check out this tutorial for making seamless repeats using Photoshop Elements, or this tutorial for repeats with Picmonkey.
1. Starting in Photoshop, open the image you want to be the basis of your repeat, then modify the canvas (in the top bar, click ‘image’ then ‘Canvas Size’ to reflect the size of the fabric you want to print (35″x35″ for example). This should create a white area around your image.
2. Using the rectangular Marquee tool, select the area for your pattern repeat.
3. In the Edit menu, drag down to choose “Define pattern.” In the dialog box, name your pattern and click ‘OK.’
4. Deselect the Marquee (‘Select menu’ -> ‘Deselect’ or on a Mac, hold ‘control’ and click the area).
5. Go to the Edit menu and drag down to ‘Fill.’ In the Fill dialog box, next to ‘Use” choose “Pattern.” You can now choose your selected image as a custom pattern. Click OK.
6. The area of your canvas around the original image should now be filled with your pattern. Congratulations! You have successfully repeated an image to make a pattern. Now, head to Spoonflower, upload your design, and create something beautiful!
As noted above, the new image might not ‘match up’ on the right/left and top/bottom, so there is a tiling effect. If you’re looking for how create a seamless repeat, check out this tutorial using Photoshop Elements, or this tutorial using Picmonkey.
I've delayed my response in the hope of being able to offer a bit more technical detail, but in the absence of a perfect response I'd like to go ahead and post a few suggestions. Please forgive me if I end up needing to revise any of this [likely].
Updated info on preparing images is here.
Make sure your design is at least 150 DPI. You could create the pattern repeat on your own computer and then upload a large file equal in size to the amount of fabric you wish to order. For example, the fabric we will be using is 44" wide (112 cm), so if you wanted to order a yard you could create an image that is 42" (the printable area) x 36" (or close to that). The file size limit is 25 MB, so if your design is large you will almost certainly have to use the JPG rather than the RIF format.
You can order a swatch (8"x8"), a fat quarter (18"x21") or any multiple of a linear yard (up to 8 yards continuous). We will always recommend that you order a swatch of your design before ordering a larger quantity. That will give you a chance to examine the colors firsthand to make sure they printed as intended.
When you upload a design to your Spoonflower account, you will be able to create a pattern by tiling the image, using a half-step or half-brick repeat (which staggers the tiles), or by mirroring your image. In the case of tiling, in order for the pattern not to appear to be composed of a lot of individual rectangles, the design you upload will need to be composed so that the left side of the design 'joins' to the right side, and the top of the design 'joins' to the bottom. If you have a textile design program or Photoshop expertise, you can probably do this pretty easily. For the rest of us, however, we plan to post tutorials to help you through the process of creating patterns on your own.
File Types / Color Profile:
You will want to set up your files in RGB profile with 8 Bits/Channel (rather than 16), and to save (and upload) them as .JPG, or .PNG files with flattened layers. RGB standard is the ideal profile for printing.