We love the way the internet can increase people’s ability to design and fabricate things that have traditionally been the realm of professional designers and manufacturers. Our newest favorite online resource/service is digital fabric printing. Over the past three or four years, a number of online textile printers have popped up, including Spoonflower, Karma Kraft, and Fabric on Demand. While each site differs slightly in what they offer and how they work with you, the general principal remains the same: you pick a pattern or design your own, upload it to the site and select your fabric type and reference colors; then wait for your fabric (or practice swatch) to arrive at your front door.
As always, part of the trick is deciding which service to try. Luckily, Kim at TrueUp did the leg-work for us in 2009, printing the same design with four different companies. (One of them, Eye Candey, doesn’t seem to exist anymore). Her experience is extremely helpful, and includes tips about what file type and image resolution to use, as well as the differences in pigment type and the importance of color-correcting. She also created this handy comparison pdf (updated in March 2010) so you can see the differences between each printer.
If you’ve ever wanted to design your own textiles, it doesn’t get much easier than this. Need some ideas for patterns? We find them everywhere, from google images (‘Swedish fabric designs yielded some good ones…
…to designs of expensive fabrics we’ve admired, like these tea towels…
You don’t need a lot of sewing know-how to use your self-designed fabric; it would be perfect for simple things like pillows, bed covers, duvet covers, curtains, or to just throw a large piece over a sofa. Since we don’t have a sewing machine at the moment, if we have a simple sewing job, we bring it to the tailor who is happy to help out for a few bucks. If you go ahead and design your own, send us pictures!
Related posts: color/pattern meditation break
more fab (and daring) painted floors (to d-i-y?)
‘create your own’: building block system for your own inventions
d-i-y clothespin picture/leaf/anything hanger
what a painted slab of plywood can do (d-i-y)