As scrapbookers and creative souls, we are always searching for inspiring ways to preserve memories, give special gifts and surround ourselves with beautiful things. Custom fabric printers offer a unique tool to add to your creative arsenal, especially for hybrid scrapbookers. Don’t sew? You can even have your custom-designed fabric project made just for you at KarmaKraft!
How does having your own custom fabric printed work? It’s actually pretty simple. Upload a photo, graphic or even text (perhaps something from your favorite digital scrapbooking kit) to a custom-fabric printing site, select the type of fabric you want to use and then complete our order. In a relatively short time, you’ll have your own custom-printed fabric for all sorts of projects mailed to you. You could design a perfectly coordinated, totally unique bedroom set for your child and frame up the leftovers for custom wall art. Or sew personalized scrap patches onto jeans, T-shirts or bags. How about ordering a bolt of fabric printed with your child’s picture to create throw pillows for grandparents? The possibilities are endless when you can choose the perfect colors, text, photos or graphics to match just about any idea in your head! There are several companies that print small orders of custom fabrics and I’ve rounded up some information on three of them, along with lots of pretty inspiration, to get you started.
Fabric on Demand offers thirteen different types of fabric, so you can order just the right kind for your project. Their fabrics range from classic 100-percent six-ounce cotton and a linen-cotton blend to more specialized options like fleece, lycra/spandex, micro-denier suede, polyester silk and more. Not sure what would work best? Order a complete set of fabric swatches for only $2.50 (US) or a swatch of your design for five dollars (US).
To get started, upload your design(s) in .jpg, .tiff, .png, .psd, .ai, .eps, or .pdf format to the site. They ask for a 150dpi minimum resolution and file size less than 10MB. Be warned, you won’t see a preview of your design right away. Instead, one of their designers will e-mail you within twenty-four hours with a proof of what the design will look like on your fabric. If you’re working on a special project and need some help, for an extra charge one of their designers will work with you personally to create custom fabric from your images. You have five layout design options – centered, repeat, half-drop, half-brick and mirror. Check out this page for detailed descriptions and a sample of each option. Shipping is guaranteed within ten days, at a flat rate of five dollars (US). There is no minimum yardarge order.
Some inspiration from the Fabric on Demand web site’s photo gallery:
Fabric on Demand also offers software, Fabric Studio, that helps you personalize and print your own fabric at home using an inkjet printer. While the software costs $39.95, it looks like a fun, quick and easy way to whip up smaller projects. Printable fabric can be found at most any craft retailer or you can order it on Amazon.
Spoonflower is perhaps the most well-known of these three fabric-printing companies and distinguishes itself by featuring a marketplace where you can find the largest collection of independent fabric designers in the world and is an excellent place to go if you want something cool and different but don’t want to design it yourself! The fun really starts when you click the Create tab, though.
Spoonflower uses eco-friendly, water-based pigment inks to print on natural fiber textiles. Choose from eight different fabrics, including organic cotton, starting at $16.20 (US) per yard with no minimum order. (They do offer a twenty-percent discount for orders of twenty-plus yards). Upload your .tif, .jpg, .png, .gif, .ai, .eps, or .svg file of less than 40MB and choose your layout. You can preview your design on-screen before ordering or save it for later and the whole process is super easy and intuitive. You can order a test swatch of your design for five dollars (US), which they highly recommend. After all, fabric is a bit different than a computer screen!
Here’s some beautiful inspiration using Spoonflower fabrics:
|Fabric Sample with Photo|
|Fabric Upholstered Chair|
|Quilt with Printed Message|
|Wedding Invitation Map on Fabric|
KarmaKraft is the third company and distinguishes itself by offering a cut-and-sew option for them to create your custom project for you. Options include pillow shams, scarves, cloth bags, table cloths and much more. This option is perfect for those of us with limited (or nonexistent) sewing skills! Of course, you can also simply upload your design and choose from their wide array of fabrics. They work with most file formats and ask that you save your file in CMYK color gamut at 150dpi or greater for best quality printing. KarmaKraft, unlike Spoonflower and Fabric on Demand, uses reactive or disperse dyes. As described on their site, although this type of printing is more time-consuming, it “gives you a fabric more vivid in color, washable and softer in hand.” KarmaKraft provides a detailed step-by-step explanation of the entire process, from upload to finished product, here.
Here’s some KarmaKraft eye candy:
|Image on light cotton|
|Bridal Brunch Invitation|
|Photo Collage on light cotton|
Ready to tackle your own crafty project with custom fabric, but not quite sure where to start? Check out this awesomely simple tutorial featured on the Spoonflower blog for a fabric canvas (pictured at the beginning of this article) that costs less than fifteen dollars (US) – a great Christmas gift idea! Here’s a few more ideas for ways you could use custom-printed fabric:
- Tablecloths for different seasons
- Framed wall art
- Pillowcases, toddler bedding
- Purse/clutch/make-up bag
- Patchwork on T-shirts, jeans, etc.
- Scrapbook mini-album accents, album covers or even cloth pages for your album or art journal
- Rosettes for pins or headbands, fabric-covered headbands
If you create something with custom fabric, we’d love to see it! Feel free to share your projects – or ideas for projects – in the comments! Take a photo of your finished projects and upload them to the DST Hybrid Gallery and link us up here.