This month we're sharing some simple and unique ways to infuse a little personality into your space with DIY home decor projects using custom printed fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap. Today Mariah from Everything Golden visits the blog to show us how to update an old lamp with just a little custom printed fabric featuring one of her favorite landscape photos.
Check out Spoonflower crew member Allie's quick Photoshop tutorial for turning your own artwork or free downloadable printables into beautiful posters!
Looking for an easy update to an empty wall? Spoonflower's gift wrap opens endless opportunities for inexpensive DIY artwork, and you can print multiple posters on one roll!
This month designer, sewing instructor, and fashion writer Jamie Lau visits the blog to share her journey start to finish from creating her own textile design to sewing up one of her beautiful dresses. Last week, she shared her fabric design and color palette inspiration, and today, she walks us through her first textile design process from photo to printed fabric.
Last week on the blog, I shared some of my textile design inspirations and you may recall my interest in exploring textured gradients found in nature, and also that I had my eye on a certain blue-green color palette. For my design, I was inspired by the painterly landscape surrounding the Arashiyama and Sagano area of Kyoto and a piece of Japanese stoneware reminiscent of rippling water that I spotted at an art museum in New York. The commonality that I saw – and what struck me most about the two – was the layered and striated effect created by the rough lines of the wooded mountains and the tinted clay bands on the vase.
As much as we love watching our fabric hoard grow (and grow…and grow), we love sewing and making things even better.
The Spoonflower community is one of the most creative and skillful in the world, and we love sharing our work with one another. Post a photo of your Spoonflower projects with the hashtag #spoonflowered on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Use the hashtag to show off your finished or in-progress projects, and to find inspiring projects from other makers.
And don’t forget about our Flickr group! Post your photos here for kudos and comments.
Here are just a handful of recent #Spoonflowered projects from around the web:
This month designer, sewing instructor, and fashion writer Jamie Lau visits the blog to share her journey start to finish from creating her own textile design to sewing up one of her beautiful dresses. In this series, she'll share fabric design ideas and garment sewing techniques that will inspire you to start stitching up your own handmade wardrobe!
Texture, color, and prints are all things I look for when sourcing fabric for my line of dresses. Ever since I started designing and sewing five years ago (and back then it was primarily reversible tote bags), I was always drawn to Japanese textiles– both modern and traditional. This fall, I’m excited to delve into designing my own prints– something I’ve been dreaming up for the collection for quite a while.
Fabric is usually the starting point for me when working on a new dress design, with much of my inspiration coming from Japanese aesthetics. I love mixing basic silhouettes with pops of color, or pairing unexpected prints together.
When looking for textile design inspiration, I immediately turned to my camera to begin the creative process and looked at the images I’ve amassed in the past few years. In my early 20s, I dabbled in photography and worked in a darkroom for a year in college, so in my approach to textile design I naturally tend to think in images and compositions.
I love to document everyday things that catch my eye, including pretty color combinations, textures, and everything from worn interiors with imperfections to nature and minimalist ceramics. A theme I’ve primarily been interested in in the past few years is natural, textured gradients found in nature, and colors and tones that shade into one another for an ombré effect.
I loved going to the paint store as a child because it meant that I could collect paint chips while my parents shopped. I still collect them to this day for color palette ideas, including for my ombré and cherry blossom-inspired handmade wedding last summer (this was truly the ultimate art project!).
The inspiration for our wedding colors came from my idea to have an ombré red velvet and white cake design, reminiscent of paint chips.
Naturally, our wedding invites would have to follow suit. I collaborated with a graphic designer friend to create a modern wedding invite and chose a color palette to create my own paint chip.
As a fashion designer and creative person, I love being surrounded by a colorful work environment in my design studio. Above my drafting table, I have a cork board filled with fashion muses (Françoise Hardy is my all-time favorite), a mix of postcards from around the world, fabric swatches, and vintage buttons. I also love creating mood and beauty boards which are extremely helpful for art direction when I’m producing photo shoots. In addition to sketching with my favorite Copic Markers and chalk-pastel coloring pencils, I also compile themed inspiration books filled with swatches and photos (I love Williams Eggleston’s work) – an extension of the mood board in my studio.
I am constantly adding items to the inspiration board that sits above my drafting table.
I love collecting vintage buttons and fabric swatches as both a source of inspiration and design reference.
I look forward to sharing my adventures in textile design with readers on the Spoonflower blog next week as I design and print my own original fabric for the first time. In my third and fourth posts, I’ll be sharing sewing techniques in a tutorial on how to sew a basic shift dress using my newly printed fabric, so stay tuned!
In the meantime, I’d love to hear where other Spoonflower members find their textile design inspirations. Please comment below to share!
About Our Guest Author
Jamie Lau is a designer, sewing instructor, and fashion writer based in Brooklyn, New York. She received a sewing machine for her twenty-fifth birthday and hasn’t put it down since. For her line Jamie Lau Designs, Jamie transforms simple silhouettes into fashion-forward frocks sewn from Japanese prints, luxurious brocades, ikats, and her soon-to-be own original textile designs. In addition to doing custom work (including bridal), she teaches sewing, draping, and patternmaking courses at Textile Arts Center and across the country. Follow her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages for the latest updates and inspirations.
This month on the blog we’ve been sharing back to school DIYs for a creative start to the new school year. Emma Jeffery, author of Hello Beautiful blog, visits to share a design tutorial for cushion covers featuring your favorite book titles, perfect for your study nook!
Since it’s back to school season, I started thinking about a design that might appeal to teachers and children alike. I came up with the idea to create a book spine image (made to look like books on a shelf) with the authors being the names of children in the class and the titles saying something about the child, their interests, personalities or hobbies. I wanted to make it fun and quirky since I imagine this design being used on cushions in a reading corner of a classroom. I think kids would get a huge kick out of seeing their name on a book cover (even just an illustration of one) and I hope it might inspire a lifelong love for books and reading.
I have been desperately wanting to improve my design skills so that I can make the most of the array of options and possibilities Spoonflower has to offer, but until now I’ve been hesitant at trying my hand at using professional design software. For this project however, I had a clear idea of how I wanted my design to look, and I figured that with its straight lines and simple graphics, it might just be the project that introduces me to the world of Adobe Illustrator.
I downloaded the trial version of Illustrator, available here. The following tutorial is an absolute beginner’s guide to some of the most basic tools of the software, written by an absolute beginner (me). But hey, if I can do it, you can too!
Mariah from Everything Golden visits to share a simple vintage army messenger bag update using a mix of custom and vintage fabric scraps. Get the how to and head back to school with a creative book bag to haul your gear!
Mariah: In the spirit of heading back to school, I thought I’d spruce up a vintage army messenger bag with some custom Spoonflower fabric. I designed the orange fabric and used a piece of vintage scrap fabric for the flap. You can purchase the orange design here, or design your own custom print!
What you’ll need:
1. Any bag you’d like to update
2. Eco Canvas fabric (or any other durable fabric such as Linen Cotton Canvas or Faux Suede), 2 square pieces and 2 triangle pieces
3. Snap or regular button
4. Needle and thread
I wanted my pocket to fit my phone so I measured the fabric to ensure it would fit, leaving at least 1” seam allowance on all sides.
Place the two square pieces together, both right sides facing up. Separately fold the two top edges down using an iron and sew a seam on the edge that faces up. Then fold the remaining three sides under, and iron. Then place the triangle pieces together, right sides facing each other, and sew all sides leaving about 2” open so you can turn it right side out.
Place your square piece and your triangular flap together and pin to your bag. Sew the edge of the top back square piece with the triangle flap tucked under and sew the rest of the sides.
With a needle and thread hand sew your snaps and voila, you’re done!
Need more DIY projects? Check out our Back to School DIYs roundup for 41 awesome projects to get your creativity flowing!
About Our Guest Author
Mariah is a creative wanderer in design, photography, and style A nature lover to the core she grew up in Sun Valley, Idaho, spent some time in Colorado and is now happy at home in Bozeman, Montana, wher her laser physicist husband and a smarty pants border collie named Indie. Her biggest source of inspriation is found in the solace of the mountains.
Vintage school charts make creative wall art whether you’re decorating kids’ homework spaces with tools for learning or filling your home with character-rich treasures. Anda, from Etsy, visits to share how she designed her own vintage-inspired school chart map of the US. Get the how-to and create your own scholarly wall hanging!
Anda: While I was pregnant with my son, “nesting” took the form of an intense addiction to shopping on my phone. Specifically, vintage shopping. I became hooked on collecting old school chart posters (Rollkarte in German) of out-of-date maps, botanical illustrations, combustion engine diagrams, snake skeleton illustrations and the like. I would spend hours lounging on the couch like a languorous walrus and buying/bidding on scenes of the water cycle or posters depicting song birds of northern Germany. By the time I gave birth and awoke from my consumerist fugue, I was the proud and broke owner of about two dozen Rollkarten.
Summer’s winding down here in North Carolina, and it’s time to get ready for the fall term with new notebooks, book bags, and a little bit of creative inspiration. Whether you’re sending kids off to school, or want some fresh ideas for your own workspace or creative space, join us all month long in August for school-themed projects from some of our friends in the crafting community. To kick things off, Caitlin Topham, designer of beautiful, one-of-a-kind quilts at Salty Oat, shows us how to design custom book plates with Spoonflower’s Woven Peel and Stick Wallpaper. DIY school is in session!
I think it’s time for the underrated bookplate to stage a comeback. These old-school labels are the perfect way to personalize a book for a new baby, organize your personal library, see who owned a book before you, or label your child’s schoolbooks in the fall. And if you print bookplates on Spoonflower’s Woven Peel and stick Wallpaper, you can simply peel them off at the end of the school year!
There are lots of great, free printable bookplate designs available online, which you could upload to Spoonflower and print for your own personal use, but I think it’s fun, and easy, to create your own custom bookplates. Below is a quick tutorial on how to make your own!
To make your own custom bookplates, start by creating a new file in Adobe Photoshop that’s 3” wide, 5” tall, and has a resolution of 150 dpi.
Next, decide on the pattern/design/image that you would like to feature in your bookplate and save it to your computer. There are lots of great resources for patterns that can be used for personal use, including books like Heather Ross Prints by Heather Ross, Reprodepot Pattern Book: Flora by Djerba Goldfinger, and V&A Pattern: Novelty Patterns, Garden Florals, Owen Jones and Kimono. You can also upload a favorite photo or a child’s drawing. Just be sure that whatever image you select, make sure you’re using it only what it’s intended for (i.e., don’t make images for sale that don’t belong to you). For my bookplates, I selected patterns from Heather Ross Prints and Reprodepot.
To insert the design into your Photoshop file, select “File” and then “Open” and then select the image you’d like to use from your computer. The file will open in a new window in Photoshop. If you’re using an existing pattern, you may need to resize it so that it fits within the bookplate’s dimensions and is 150 dpi. You can adjust this by selecting “Image” and then “Image Size…”
Next, select the image, copy it, and then paste it into your 3” x 5” blank bookplate file.
Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, select a 3” x 2” rectangle at the bottom of the bookplate (using the rulers along the edge of the screen as your guide) and hit delete, leaving a white space in the lower section of the bookplate.
Finally, add your text in your favorite font with the Horizontal Type Tool. “Ex Libris,” “This book belongs to,” and “From the library of,” are all phrases commonly printed on bookplates. You can include the book owner’s name as well, or you can leave it blank to be filled in later.
When you’re happy with your design, merge all of the layers (select “Layer” and then “Merge Visible”), save as a JPG, and then upload to Spoonflower and print on decal.
Trim your bookplates using a rotary cutter and ruler, and they’re ready to use! Tie them up in a pretty stack to give as a gift or stick them right in your books. We’ll be using this pretty stack for the craft and sewing books in the Spoonflower library!
Need more DIY projects? Check out our Back to School DIYs roundup for 41 awesome projects to get your creativity flowing!
About Our Guest Blogger
Caitlin is the maker and blogger responsible
for the beautiful, one-of-a-kind quilts
over at Salty Oat. She can usually be found
blogging or quilting in her home studio.
Good monkey fur fabric is hard to find! We were so excited to help our friends
at Paperhand Puppet Intervention print custom fabric suitable for the monkey costumes in this
year’s performance, Invisible Earth.
Paperhand Puppet Intervention has been entertaining, educating, and inspiring NC's Triangle
since 1998. Co-founders Donovan Zimmerman and Jan Berger spend the summer working with
volunteers, interns, and performers in their Saxapahaw, North Carolina studio to create an annual Giant
Puppet Pageant that incorporates giant paper mache puppets, stilt walkers, and live music to
explore and celebrate the intricacies of life on earth. This year, “Monkeys of the Modern World”
will be leading the narrative of Invisible Earth, and we were thrilled to help dress them!
Unable to find the right shade of gray for their monkey costumes, Paperhand volunteer Brooke
suggested they design their own fabric to fit their vision. Jan whipped up a quick fur pattern on a
scrap of cardboard in the studio.
Brooke snapped a digital photo, and a friend “wise in the ways of Photoshop” uploaded the file
We printed a sample to see if the fur design would indeed make a suitable
monkey suit, and I was lucky enough to visit the Paperhand studio to see how the artists work!
While Jan and Donovan tested the Spoonflower monkey fur, the rest of the studio was abuzz
with interns and volunteers painting scenery and bringing the long extinct wooly mammoth back
Satisfied that the fur print would work for the monkeys, we were able to print the yardage
needed for the costumes in time for our sew-in in the Greenhouse!
Brooke, a Paperhand volunteer and frequent attendee to Greenhouse events, rounded up
materials and patterns, and we put out the call for volunteers to help sew through our Meetup
group. A couple of Sundays ago, we enjoyed a delightful afternoon in Greenhouse assembling animal
robes, cutting fabric for stilt-walker pants, and drafting patterns for monkey costumes. It was so
exciting to see everything come together!
Thanks so much to Paperhand Puppet Intervention and their awesome volunteers for letting us share this part of their creative process! If you find yourself in the Triangle this summer, be sure to check out Paperhand’s 14th Annual Giant Puppet Pageant, Invisible Earth! The show opens August 9th in Chapel Hill’s Forest Theatre, and performances run every weekend through September 8th. Check out www.paperhand.org for showtimes and information!
Becca McCoy spends her free time exploring Durham with her dog Clyde, planning craft projects and sometimes finishing them. Learning to quilt is her favorite new skill of 2013, which is really helping manage her ever-growing fabric stash.