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Designing for beginners - Create a Design with Paper Shapes

27 April 2015 09:47

Here's another way of creating a fabric design which doesn't demand advanced computer skills, or expensive software!

If you follow Print me Pretty on Pinterest, you may have seen this design on our Inspiration board:


It's called Ennaland, by Anny Who.   It caught my eye immediately as a possible fabric design.  It's been repinned lots of times, so I think other people like it too!

Creating a design using paper shapes

I don't know how the original design was created, but I decided you could make it using pretty patterned papers.  Craftseller and Mollie Makes magazines often give away patterned papers and you can also buy them in packs designed for card-making and scrap-booking.  Or, if you prefer the plainer look of the original, you could paint some paper in the colours you wanted to use.

You will need:

pieces of paper in co-ordinating shades

scissors or craft knife

plain paper


paper punches (optional)

To make

Cut out paper shapes in various colours, shapes and sizes.  Squares and triangles are fairly straight-forward.  Circles are a little trickier.  I drew round a coin with a paper knife, but a paper punch or hole punch would be easier.  Getting a smooth edge on a tiny circle is not easy!

Arrange your shapes in a vertical pattern.  It's easier to do this as you go, so you can see what colour or shape would look good next.  You can rearrange them if you come up with a better idea.

Once you're happy with your design, stick the pieces down lightly onto a piece of plain paper.  I used white, but you could use a coloured piece if you prefer a coloured background.  Before you stick them, draw a faint pencil line to mark the centre of your design - if you don't make it continuous, you may be able to stick the shapes onto the pencil and have the gaps in the line where you have gaps in the design.  Otherwise, you'll have to get rid of pencil marks which show, either by rubbing them out or - probably safer - by removing them on the computer.  If you don't draw a line, your design may be charmingly wobbly - but the top and bottom may not join up when you repeat it.

Scan your design.

Open it in software like or Photoshop.  Make sure it's set to 150dpi.

Tidy up the image, if needed, and crop so that you have the desired distance between coloumns and rows.  You can also resize the design.  If it's easier to cut larger shapes when creating your design, you can make it the size you actually want your design to be at this stage.

My design at the original size

At half size and twice the size

Upload to our website and order a print!