And if the low minimum & convenience is not enough, the Spoonflower process is eco-friendly! Traditional printing results in gallons and gallons of excess toxic dye being dumped into the environment at the end of the run. Spoonflower uses dye that is eco-friendly, and because of the nature of the digital printing process, uses only the amount of dye needed for the yardage being printed. AND this all happens relatively nearby in North Carolina, USA as opposed to China or Japan. No airmail necessary! My tree-hugging side is satisfied!
the nitty gritty
When printing through Spoonflower, you will have to submit artwork that is in repeat so your design is seamless. For the general idea of how to do a repeat, this post on Design Sponge gives a good basic idea. For digital printing, you won't be able to make suitable artwork without Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop or something similar. Taking a course in Illustrator was one of the best things I ever did, so I highly recommend it (then you can get the student price on the software which is a plus!).
I like to start with hand-drawn artwork so it will have some spontaneity to it, then scan it into Illustrator, and finish it there. I'm working in an 8" square and black & white knowing I'll increase the scale later and recolor. I just want it to be a manageable size for scanning. I fill the middle of my square with motifs covering a general diamond shape area that comes close to the edges on the points.
It's a busy design, so I like it best with just 2 colors on a white ground. To recolor, switch the color mode from black & white to RGB and go to town. If color matching is important you can use Spoonflower's color map which you can have mailed to you on actual fabric. I was too impatient, so I didn't bother, but I think I will get it for the future.
To finalize the artwork, copy the contents of the artboard and "paste pixels" into a new document in Photoshop. Here is where you will determine the final size of your print. Spoonflower prints at 150 dpi, so I input that under image>size and go from there. I decided to resample my image to be 14" square. Since this is sharp 3-color artwork, I save as a .png file. Jpegs work too.
Now to decide which fabric to print on...When they first opened, Spoonflower only offered basic cotton. Now they have 10 choices including silk crepe de chine ($38) and wallpaper too. The basic cotton is the cheapest at $17. I chose linen/cotton canvas ($27) because I thought it would be nice for an apron, tote bag, or pillow. The prompts are pretty easy to follow on the Spoonflower site...and voilà!