Handbook Shows How to Design Your Own Fabric, Wallpaper, or Gift Wrap

To encourage novices in surface design, Spoonflower has published “The Spoonflower Handbook: A DIY Guide to Designing Fabric, Wallpaper, and Gift Wrap.”

Not long ago, few artists ever had the chance to design fabrics and wallpaper because printing even a few yards required a significant financial investment. Today, thanks to digital, print-on-demand printing, anyone with a computer, Internet connection, and idea can upload a file and have their design printed on a yard of fabric, wallpaper, or wrapping paper.

Spoonflower, a North Carolina-based start-up, prints short runs of fabrics, peel-and-stick wallpapers, and wrapping-papers for hundreds of thousands of creative people worldwide. Spoonflower customers then incorporate their printed designs into thousands of creative projects for the home or wardrobe.

For example, the handbook shows you how to use digitally printed materials to make:

  • A world traveler pillowcase with map designs
  • A stuffed gnome toy
  • Pet silhouette hankies
  • Zippered fabric pouches
  • Autumn leaf table wrap
  • Typographic wrapping paper
  • Food for thought table runner
  • Photo panel wall art
  • Damask shower curtain
  • Portrait pillows
  • Infinity scarf
  • Color-chip lampshade
  • Family portraits necktie
  • Coloring wallpaper and desk wrap

Designs on peel-and-stick wallpaper can be used to personalize your laptop, tablet, phone, and other flat surfaces.

Written in easy-to-understand language, this beautifully illustrated, 207-page book covers everything from design equipment and software to working with photos, colors, scans, repeats, and vector files. It talks about sources of inspiration and explains how to source images and use them legally.

The book was written by Spoonflower co-founder Stephen Fraser with Judi Ketteler and Becka Rahn. Jenny Hallengren provided the photographs. It was published by the Steward, Tabori & Chang imprint of Abrams.

According to Fraser, the project ideas and information in the Spoonflower Handbook can help everyone from quilters and crafty parents to professional artists and aspiring fashion designers: “We set out to create the most approachable book possible…This book is about the joy of making something mingled with the challenge of learning new things.”


The Spoonflower Handbook: A DIY Guide to Designing Fabric, Wallpaper & Gift Wrap with 30+ Projects


Spoonflower Lets You Custom Design Wallpaper

Digitally printed, custom wallpaper is a rapidly growing trend in the decorating world, but until now it has been expensive and hard to find. With a new line of eco-friendly wallpaper and wall decals, the Spoonflower.com website has put personalized home decor within the reach of more designers, including crafters and do-it-yourself decorators.

With an eye toward environmentally conscious consumers and moms looking to decorate nurseries and kids’ rooms, Spoonflower wallpaper is printed on PVC-free paper using durable, eco-friendly inks. Unlike traditional wallpapers that can be devilishly difficult to take down, Spoonflower wallpaper is removable, making it suitable for renters and college students.

Individuals who don’t feel comfortable designing their own wallpaper can choose from thousands of designs by independent artists who have made their work available first on digitally printed fabric, and now as wallpaper.

The wallpaper sells for $5 per linear foot (24  by 12 inches), or $60 per roll (24 by 12 inches).

Spoonflower also offers three sizes of peel-and-stick wall decals: 5 by 5 inches, 15 by 15 inches, and 30 by 30 inches.  These easy to reposition decals are printed using eco-friendly inks on a tough polyester material that’s perfect for any room in the house, as well as for decorating furniture, trays, refrigerators, laptops, and many other everyday items. The decals can be easily removed.

“Wallpaper is definitely on an upswing in the decorating world, especially in the US, where it used to be perceived as fussy and old-fashioned. We’re incredibly excited to introduce custom wallpaper and decals at prices that make them accessible to everyday people, using materials that will appeal to folks who rent as well as homeowners,” said Spoonflower co-founder Stephen Fraser. He  says he hopes to persuade his wife to let him cover one of the bathrooms in their house with narwhals in the near future.

Lori Craffey of Little Rhody Design Company, a crafter from Rhode Island who sells on Etsy, was impressed by Spoonflower’s new products: “I just received my first wallpaper samples today! I love the quality and the packaging.” Craffey is one of thousands of indie artists on Spoonflower planning to make their designs available for sale to consumers as wallpaper.

Spoonflower has been in business since 2008, making it possible for individuals to create, print, and sell their own fabric designs. The site was founded by two Internet geeks who knew nothing about textiles, but had crafty wives.

Spoonflower’s community includes more than 600,000 individuals who use their own fabric to make curtains, quilts, clothes, bags, furniture, dolls, pillows, framed artwork, costumes, banners and more. Spoonflower’s marketplace offers the largest collection of independent fabric designers in the world.


Spoonflower: Create Your Own Wallpaper

Spoonflower: Custom-Designed Fabrics


Artist Converts Photographs into Limited-Edition Silk Scarves

In one of the first posts on this blog, I wondered how long it would take before designers started taking full advantage of some of the creative possibilities of the most recent advances in digital textile printing.  Here’s a great example of a photographer who is not only creating beautiful products, but also appears to be marketing them with a carefully planned strategy.

Cherry Blossom Scarf by BryonyShearmur

Photographic artist Bryony Shearmur, who has been creating fine art images of Los Angeles for over a decade, has brought some of those images to life as limited-edition silk scarves.

Entitled “Really Beautiful Things,” the Los Angeles-themed scarves are part of her new “Silk” series. The scarves are described as “living photographs” and “cascades of color.” Each piece is individually printed on 100% Habatai silk using the most advanced technology in digital fabric printing. Then, each scarf and pocket-square is hand-finished and signed by the artist.

“I have wanted to create ‘Silk’ for many years but the technology was not there,” says Shearmur. “Finally it is and I can realize my vision”

In addition to scarves and pocket squares, Bryony Shearmur is developing silk tops and skirts, and a collection of cashmere-lined blankets that feature her most popular snow and water landscapes. She says the “Silk” collection seamlessly blends her passions for photography, conceptual art, and design.

The press release she developed to promote the scarves is accompanied by top-quality high-resolution photographs designed for use if magazines that promote luxury goods.


Silk by Bryony Shearmur

About Bryony Shearmur


Are Designers Making the Most of Digital Textile Printing?


How Designers Are Using Digitally Printed Fabrics

DESIGNERS. In other posts on this blog, I observed that continuing advances in digital fabric printing might open up new opportunities for designers. This could be especially true as older fabric designers who relied on screen-printing retire and as customer expectations for fast turnaround continue to intensify.

Since then, I’ve been taking note of articles that show how and why fashion designers have started using digitally printed textiles. Here are just three examples:

Wall Street Journal: Are You Wearing a Watercolor?

An article by Christina Binkley in the Wall Street Journal called attention to dresses and tops in the Helmut Lang collection that use photographs shot by the brand’s designers, Nicole and Michael Colovos. Some of the images were shot with an iPhone. She says the designers uses make collages from photos they’ve shot of peeling paint, subways walls, and other sights. Thus, the resulting collages may look nothing like the individual photos.

She cites another example in which designer Albert Kriemler made a dress fabric from part of a painting by the late artist Ian Hamilton Finlay.

Binkley notes that some designers still prefer the deep, clear hues of screen prints because digital inks don’t soak into the fabric as thoroughly. Plus digitally creating and printing designs require technicians who understand software and “have a great hand with the computer.”

But she also gives an example of how digital technology enabled a designer to get a fast-turnaround job for an awards-show dress that he might otherwise have lost.

Brisbane Times: How to Wear Digital Prints

This article by Glynis Traill-Nash notes that digital fabric printing has become accessible to more designers. She says designers either use photographs manipulated to abstraction or create uniquely designed panels that can be sewn together to create an overall graphic effect.

Wall Street Journal: Akris Captures the Season with Wedding Tower Views

In this article, Christina Binkley notes how precisely digital photos can be reproduced on textiles by showcasing a dress on which designer Albert Kriemler reproduced a photograph by Jurgen Schreiter of the Wedding Tower in Darmstadt, Germany. She calls the effect “mesmerizing,” but notes that one of the risks of wearing a photographic-print dress is that it may be too memorable to wear frequently.


Are You Wearing a Watercolor? by Christina Binkley

How to Wear Digital Prints by Glynis Traill-Nash

Akris Captures the Season with Wedding Tower Views by Christina Binkley


Are Designers Making the Most of Digital Textile Printing?