I love the idea of being able to repurpose some of my designs that I have painstakingly created in appliqué or collage, and printing them on fabric. It would be a wonderful way to quickly and easily make a whole coordinated line of fabrics that I could then use to make lovely fabric art gifts or home décor.
At one point on my personal blog I was experimenting (rather playfully) with scanning my bird collages and then printing them on cardstock. I cut out the birds, made "balloon" captions for them, and stuck them all over the house for my children to find. I called them "chore birds": the birds told the kids what to do, like "Shovel the driveway" and "Wash the dishes".
|Fabric art made from custom-printed fabric. From Cloth Paper Scissors Jan./Feb. 2012.
I'd like to say the kids had as much fun finding the birds and doing the chores as I did making them, but that would be stretching the truth!
This kind of repurposing your already created work is very similar to the concept of custom printing your designs on fabric: make your art once, and use it repeatedly.
Our sister publication Cloth Paper Scissors® took a look at three different companies that provide that service: fabricondemand.com, karmakraft.com, and spoonflower.com. The editors sent in three pieces of artwork for printing, made some fabric art with the resulting yardage, and reported on the results with an overview of each service.
Here is the basic process of getting your art on fabric through one of these services.
1. Decide how you want to use the printed fabric. If you want to use it as yardage for sewing or quilting fabrics, then you'll probably want to create a smaller image to use for a repeat. If you want to make multiple prints of a piece of artwork that you can mount on stretcher bars as fiber art or incorporate into a series of small quilts or wall hangings, you will need to make a very good quality scan or copy of your original artwork.
2. Choose a website. Each of the three websites Cloth Paper Scissors researched has a slightly different selection of fabrics, user interface, and process. Choose the one that works best for you.
|Scanned images of a gel print collage and a tag,
lower right, with the resulting fabric behind it.
3. Choose a fabric type. Do you want cotton, silk, or a blend? Quilting fabric weight or voile? Consider trying a couple of different fabrics or, if you have time, request a sample before you place your final order.
4. Upload your art and complete your order. Each of the websites researched has a different ordering process, but the staff people behind the screen are more than willing to help creative people like you get up and running.
I imagine that once you got your hands on your very own designed and printed fabric, it would be very exciting. I'm going to have to give it a try.
Cloth Paper Scissors is always looking into new ways of using fabric and stitch with mixed media. Make sure you don't miss out on the fiber art fun by getting your own subscription in print or as a digital download.
P.S. Have you used a similar fabric-printing service? What advice do you have for those of us who are new to it? Leave your comment below.