Spoonflower free swatch day is TODAY!

DIY on the cheap free

Our digital fabric printing friends, Spoonflower, are having a 24 hour FREE swatch day.

Get a free swatch of your own design printed on any of their 8 fabrics, or order an indie design from the Spoonflower marketplace. Shipping is also free to anyone, anywhere!

When you order your free swatch, you can also choose to a make a $5 donation to Heifer International.

Get all the details on Spoonflower’s free swatch day HERE.

Spoonflower fabric + Personal Factory project winners announced

Congratulations to the winners of our June blog giveaway

For last month’s giveaway, we asked you how you would combine design-your-own fabric printed by Spoonflower with the make-it-yourself possibilities of Personal Factory.

Our judges have picked their favorite 5 ideas, and each of these winners will get their design printed on their choice of fabric courtesy of Spoonflower.

Amy‘s idea of lasercut, custom quilting templates and ombré printed fabric sounds beautiful. (Bonus: you can download the templates for free.)

Gabriella‘s intimate apparel idea is fantastic: combine 3D printed underwire with printed knit or silk to create a custom fit & design bra.

Kate started off her idea entry with “Oh! Oh! I am actually already working on this!” So what’s she working on? Her own ottoman design with a CNC routed frame and printed upholstery twill fabric. AWESOME

Michael grabbed our attention with his idea for a prop, steampunk jet pack with folding wings. The wings will be created from printed linen-cotton canvas and operated by lasercut gears. We have to see this.

Tamara had a brilliant take on decorative wall art. Print a repeat pattern on some cotton sateen and then continue the pattern on a lasercut frame.

Congratulations again to our winners, and thank you to everyone that entered. And huge thanks to Spoonflower for sponsoring the giveaway!

Stay tuned to the blog for the July giveaway. We’re announcing it today.

Last chance to win your design printed on fabric from Spoonflower

contest closes June 30 at 10pm pacific

You’ve got just 2 days left to enter our June giveaway sponsored by digital fabric printers Spoonflower!

You could win a free yard of fabric printed with your own design.

How to Enter: leave a qualifying comment at the original contest announcement by June 30, 10pm pacific.

For your comment to qualify, you must:

1. Tell us how you would combine Spoonflower printed fabric with a Personal Factory project

2. specify which Spoonflower fabric from you would use*

3. specify which Personal Factory digital making method you would use**

Winner selection & Prizes: People from Ponoko and Spoonflower will pick their favorite 5 ideas to each win a free yard of digitally printed fabric in any fabric they choose.

Ideas & Inspiration: check out what ideas other people have entered and take a look at our latest Maker Story interview with Andy and Becka Rahn.

Click HERE to enter & get full contest details!

*Spoonflower fabrics include:
quilting weight cotton, organic cotton sateen, organic cotton interlock knit, upholstery weight cotton twill, linen-cotton canvas, silk crepe de chine, cotton voile

**Personal Factory digital making methods include:
3D printing, CNC routing, laser cutting

Win a free yard of *your design* printed on fabric from Spoonflower

Contest ends June 30th

UPDATE: Thanks so much for entering our Sponnflower fabric giveaway. The contest is now closed and winners will be notified and announced very soon!

This month the Ponoko blog has partnered with digi fabric printers Spoonflower to give away a free yard of printed fabric to 5 winners.

Spoonflower lets you upload your own design, choose a fabric, and get your design professionally printed on to fabric.

They’ve been digitally printing fabric for the masses since 2008, and the Spoonflower marketplace is the largest collection of independent fabric designs in the world.

Spoonflower can digitally print on 7 different kinds of fabric, and winners of our blog giveaway can choose whichever fabric they like.

How would you use digitally printed fabric from Spoonflower in a Personal Factory project?

How to enter:
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling us how you would use digitally printed fabric from Spoonflower in a Personal Factory project.

Think about how you would combine your own textile design with your own design for 3D printing; CNC routing; or laser cutting. Or all three!


Spoonflower Digitally Prints on Silk!

cotton schmotton

On-demand digital textile printers Spoonflower announced today the addition of silk to their printable fabrics! Crepe de chine, to be specific.

Crepe de chine is a 100% silk with a slightly bumpy texture. (It’s not the ultra shiny stuff; that’s silk charmeuse.) The addition of crepe de chine silk makes six fabric choices including quilting cotton, organic sateen, organic knit, upholstery twill, linen-cotton blend canvas, and cotton lawn.

And don’t forget, you can sell your original silk textiles in the Spoonflower shop.

Free Swatch Day at Spoonflower!

free printing & shipping for just one day

Spoonflower is offering 24 hours of free swatch ordering! Get a single free, custom fabric swatch for 24 hours between noon EST on Thursday, 26 August and noon EST on Friday, 27 August.

This awesome offer also comes with the option to donate $5 (or any amount you wish) to Heifer International.

To learn more about Spoonflower, check out our interview with company founder Stephen Fraser.

Centerview: Spoonflower

I’ve been writing a lot about digital textile printing, but you may be wondering where and how you can get your own designs printed. And I’m here to tell you. Spoonflower is a no-minimum, unlimited color digital printing start-up for custom, on-demand fabric. I interviewed company founder Stephen Fraser to tell you all about it.

So where did the name Spoonflower come from?

Spoonflower is the common name of an endangered wildflower native to North Carolina. The White arrow arum, or Spoonflower, grows along the edges of swamps and bogs. My wife Kim and I ran across the name when we were looking for plants that would survive in a rain garden we were building in the backyard of our house. When the idea came along to build a web site to serve the crafting community, Spoonflower just seemed to fit.

Where did this idea come from and how long did it take to actualize it?

Spoonflower was originally my wife’s idea. Kim has always been a crafty sort, but over the past few years she’s also become an avid sewist. A little over a year ago I was a marketing consultant helping Internet start-ups, and I knew nothing at all about textiles. One night Kim asked me if I had ever heard of a company that would let her print her own fabric. My immediate response was that there probably was a company like that, but I expected that she would need to order hundreds of yards at a minimum.

As a conceptual problem — Can an industrial production process be put at the service of an individual’s creativity? — her question about fabric rang a bell for me. I used to be the marketing guy for a company called Lulu.com that solved the same problem for people who wanted to publish a book. By marrying the Web with digital printing technology, Lulu made it possible for an individual to publish a single copy of a single book for less than $10.It turns out that you can also print fabric digitally. Putting that technology together with the Web seemed like such a good idea that I was able to convince my former boss, Gart Davis, to join me as my business partner shortly after he stepped down as Lulu’s president last year.

It took us about six weeks to put together a very rough beta site that went live around the beginning of June 2008. Based on buzz among craft bloggers, the number of people on the waiting list grew into the thousands. We ended up opening registration to one and all in October and at this point Spoonflower has around 20,000 registered users. We’re still working on getting all the features of the site in place, most importantly a marketplace for designs and a broader choice of fabrics for printing.

Custom Fabric Printing from Spoonflower

Spoonflower logo

Spoonflower is a web-based digital textile printing service run out of an old sock mill in downtown Mebane, North Carolina. Indigo has mentioned them previously in relation to the very apt Wordle.

At the moment the site is in Beta and as such does not offer any facility as an online marketplace or shared repository, but they will do in the next phase. This from their FAQs:

“When we come out of beta, … you will be able to choose to make your designs available for purchase by others. This feature — which will make Spoonflower into a marketplace for independent fabric designers — will probably take some time to evolve and grow in complexity. But displaying your designs, as well as selling them, will ALWAYS be under your control.”

Looks like another good opportunity for makers, keep up with their progress on their blog, where the Spoonflower folk also post pictures of their beta users’ creations.
via Make

Top 10 Design Star Stories of 2013

Top 10 Design Star Stories of 2013

Inspiring stories of independent designers creating products with Ponoko.

2013 was an amazing year for us and our amazingly creative customers. Ponoko customers are not only making super cool original products, they’re solving design problems for underserved markets and building successful small businesses.

#10 22 year-old Vlogger Celeb Brings You Interrobang Jewelry

Video blogger Karen Kavett has a earned a huge online following for her quirky and educational videos on design. Her audience was large enough that Karen wanted to try offering merchandise related to the topics she covered in her videos, specifically typography.

Read Karen’s story on how she launched a line of typographically inspired jewelry designs, and get her tips on building your own social media following.

#9 Photoframe Jewelry Turns Your Instagrams into Accessories

Monique Malcom thinks there are some photos that are “just too amazing to be locked in the digital dungeon.” Having already created her own t-shirt business, she decided to expand her brand with a line of photo frame jewelry that’s perfect for showing off printed Instagrams.

Read Monique’s story to learn how she hand finishes each piece and created custom laser cut gift boxes for her products.

#8 Bamboo Cake Toppers of Animals in Love <3

With a background in editorial art direction and experience running her own creative agency, design veteran Valerie Thai decided to translate her graphic designs into product designs. Her Cabin+Cub Etsy shop sells adorable cufflinks, collages, cake toppers and more.

Read Valerie’s story to find out why she loves wood and how she got the idea to make cake toppers.

#7 Creating Cloud Sculptures from Laser Cut Layers

Being an artist doesn’t mean you’re not in business. And artist Helen Reynold’s is taking control of her own career — from organizing her own exhibitions, handling marketing and PR, and managing sales. Of course, she’s also busy creating art!

Read Helen’s story on creating an installation of cloud sculptures, and why she thinks there’s a shift happening in the business of the art world.

#6 Cases and Enclosures for the Raspberry Pi Computer

As it says in the Raspberry Pi FAQ, “The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard.” And for Fabien Royer and Bertrand Le Roy, founders of DIY electronics company Nwazet, it’s the perfect technology on which to base a range of kits and enclosures for electronics hobbyists.

Read Fabien and Bertrand’s story to learn more about the Pi and the challenges they faced prototyping some of their products.

#5 Which Comes First, the Product or the Business? For iluxo, it was Business from the Start.

While most small businesses evolve from the demand of a particular product, Mariko Carandang proves that some people can simply sit down and say “Ok, I’m going to start a business.” She now designs and sells everything from city skyline clocks to locket necklaces to her popular kitty cat rings for her brand iluxo.

Read Mariko’s story for tips on starting your own business and what the biggest challenge has been for her.

#4 Dapper DIY, Fabric & Pattern Templates to Make Your Own Bow Ties

Jay Thompson is a many of many roles and… bow ties. He manages a museum gift shop, designs fabric, and makes his own bow ties. People often ask Jay where they can buy a tie like his. So Jay decided to start selling his fabric on Spoonflower and the plastic pattern templates on Ponoko.

Read Jay’s story to learn why it was totally worth it to teach himself Adobe Illustrator and check out a video on the right way to tie a bow tie.

#3 Electric Eel Wheel is a Hardware Hit with Fiber Hobbyists

Maurice Ribble’s wife Emily spins her own yarn for her knitting projects. But toting around a spinning wheel to her knitting group was a bit of a hassle. So Maurice, a computer engineer fascinated by the way things work, challenged himself to design a portable, electric spinning wheel for his wife.

“One thing lead to another, and now you can buy them on the internet,” he says. And lots of people are buying them!

Read Maurice’s story to find how he scaled his business to meet popular demand for his hit product.

#2 Think You’re Too Busy to Start Your Own Product Line? ROBOMUSTACHE Proves it’s Possible!

“I basically worked a full time job, a part time job and at the same time developed all of these ideas,” says Charles Wade, creator of ROBOMUSTACHE. It all started with a race to make products in time for a local craft fair. By creating variations of a single core design, offering DIY kits, and using Ponoko’s on-demand service, Charles was able to establish his product line and keep up with all of his professional work.

Read Charle’s story for motivation to start your own product line.

#1 Photographer Creates Camera Accessory for 150 yr old Photo Technique

Jody Ake works with a wet collodion process, one of the earliest photographic techniques, to create his distinct style of eerie, antique looking images. When the wooden plate holder, a necessary part of for his in-camera method of photography, fell apart, it was impossible to find a replacement; so Jody created his own.

The popularity of his “Ake Holder” industry-grade photographic plate holders encouraged him to start a small side business called In Camera Industries.

Read Jody’s story to learn about the design requirements for creating a device for a such a specialized process, and see examples of his excellent work.

Inspired to create your own product line? Make stuff from prototypes to production runs with Ponoko’s laser cutting and 3D printing services.

What Etsy’s New Policy Means for Ponoko Customers

Early this month, Etsy released new guidelines for Etsy shops. The new policy officially welcomes shops that use outside/outsourced manufacturers — as long as they are first “approved”.

Etsy writes that “These new policies are crafted to support a diverse community of makers, designers and curators — from the solo artisan just starting out, to the full-time seller hiring staff, to the artist who partners with a manufacturer to bring her creations to life.”

The “artist who partners with a manufacturer” should apply for approval in order to sell on Etsy. This includes all Ponoko customers using our laser cutting service to help create their designs.

According to the new policy, “Digital prints and posters, music, books you’ve authored, and 3D printed items can be sold without review.” This means that Ponoko customers using our 3D printing service to create designs do *NOT* need approval.

I contacted the Etsy integrity team and asked some questions on behalf of Ponoko customers.