Friday, September 21, 2012

Inside Spoonflower - Custom Fabric Printing



Have you ever searched high and low for that perfect fabric only to come up short?  You have this picture in your head of the fabric or a design that you love, but just can't find what you want...


That's exactly how Spoonflower got started. The wife of one of the company's founders, Stephen, was in search of large-scale yellow polka dot fabric to make curtains and the idea was born.  Why can't custom, on-demand fabric be feasible for everyone?  Well now it can...thanks to Spoonflower you can upload almost any digital image on their website and print your own fabric creations on various  forms of textiles.  It's seriously amazing...
...and I had the incredible opportunity to see it first-hand at their manufacturing facility and headquarters in Durham, NC.  As I've previously mentioned, I've been a part of an incredible group of women planning next month's Southern Blogger's Conference here in Raleigh and Spoonflower is graciously donating some great prizes and swatches to the swag bags, as well as printing our custom fabric signs for the event!  
Spoonflower Color Map
Fellow planning committee member, blogger, and friend Amy, from Atta Girl Says, and I toured Spoonflower this week and learned all about the process of custom-fabric printing from digital upload to outbound shipping and it.was.fascinating.  Everywhere I turned, I saw fabric ranging from cute, delightful, beautiful, graphic, and creative.
The fabric is printed on large ink jet printers, but these machines are modified for textiles and print out custom orders 24 hrs a day at Spoonflower...
The beauty of digitally printed fabric compared to heavy-dye based conventional textile printing is the eco-friendly water-based pigment inks that are used.  There are no harsh chemicals and there is very little waste of fabric, ink or electricity used in the process.  In addition, digitally printed fabrics allow more freedom and flexibility in color ranges and number of colors used, making for some incredibly detailed designs.
After a design is printed out, the fabric is sent through large heat units that set the ink, then is cooled and sent to the cutting tables where each order is cut and separated out for shipping...

While being completely inspired by the waves of unique fabric everywhere during the tour, I noticed a more important trend occurring in the heart of Spoonflower... pure creativity.  From weekly fabric design contests on the Spoonflower website to project galleries that feature customer's creations, Spoonflower really embraces and recognizes the innate human need to create...

The employees also have regular design contests on how they can incorporate fabric into creative objects. Their creations, like hanging fabric umbrellas and fabric wall art, are featured throughout the Spoonflower facility.  What a fun place to work!

Amy and I left Spoonflower with our heads spinning with ideas and since then, I've spent way too much time browsing through the Spoonflower Marketplace soaking in the multitudes of fabric designs already designed by others and available for purchase.  If you haven't checked it out yet, you won't be sorry you did.  One thing is for sure...you'll be seeing more Spoonflower around here!

If you want to see more of our Spoonflower tour, check out the Southern Blogger's Conference blog post here as well as Amy's from Atta Girl Says.

Kristen  

5 comments:

sharon said...

I'm so glad to know about this! Finding the "right fabric" for an upholstery project was impossible and ultimately, I just painted my own. It turned out very nice, but THIS would have been so much BETTER. Next time, I'll work smarter, not harder. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Suzy said...

I so wish I could have gone on the tour with y'all! Spoonflower is an amazing company.

Jenny S said...

Oh my gosh! So much fun!! I can't wait!

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

I was so disappointed that I could not join you and Amy on the tour...Spoonflower looks amazing...and looks like you had a wonderful tour!!...

Johnson said...

I am very impressive to read out your blog. Thanks for sharing such great post.

Environment Friendly Printing

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...