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  • Writer's pictureJanet Federico

Review: Spoonflower Success Secrets: Patterns for Print on Demand by Carrie Cantwell


Logo for class about Spoonflower

I have avoided Spoonflower, the seemingly omnipresent POD site for fabric and wallpaper. It all just felt like too much. It was one more platform. One more set of rules to learn and master. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. All of that changed after I began learning how to hand-sew and hand-bind books. While the two may not seem related, they are for me. I’m working out a plan to use my designs and illustrations with the journals and sketchbooks that I create. This requires that I make custom book cloth. Enter Spoonflower.


I figured if I was going to bite the bullet and join the platform, I might as well take a class to position myself for success in the long run before loading all my designs onto the platform. A serious clap on the back here for me. I usually jump in headfirst, throw all my designs up on a platform, and then try to figure out all the tips and tricks. I finally got sick of myself on that one.


They say that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. In this case, that was Carrie Cantwell's Spoonflower Success Secrets: Patterns for Print on Demand on Skillshare.


What the Course Gets Right

No Drip Pacing

As a general rule, all Skillshare classes are provided in their entirety immediately. So, while this wasn’t Carrie’s choice specifically, I’m still giving it points because she chose the platform. I watched her entire class while on the treadmill which is generally when I have time to watch videos, so getting the content en masse is important to me. Read any of my reviews and you’ll see why.


Chunking of Content

The course has lots of nicely chunked content. Modules run between six to twenty-six minutes with a clear logical breakup and progression. The module topics include creating your profile, uploading and scaling patterns, Spoonflower design challenges, wall hangings, tea towels, tagging, and more.


Carrie also offers some great value-added insights with modules on leveraging your art, finding trends, and connecting with the community. She’s clear and concise in her explanations and walks the learner through her thought processes, all of which are helpful.


Collateral

I have to say that Carrie provides some of the best collateral out there! They are well laid out, easy to understand, and visually appealing. For the typography nerd in me, I geek out on her offerings. For this course, you get a “Spoonflower Success Secrets Bundle” which is jam-packed with goodies. She gives you:

  • A tagging cheat sheet

  • Popular Spoonflower themes guide

  • Spoonflower resources

  • Surface Design Communities to join

  • Recommended tools

  • Color Trends Resources

This bundle is gold. Seriously. Tagging and themes can be the difference between your shop sitting empty and getting sales. Carrie makes it easy to get started.


Cost

This course is behind the Skillshare paywall. However, I’ve been a member since 2019 and find it worth every penny. I'm an affiliate for Skillshare, you can use my link and get a free month immediately. Additionally, Skillshare is bringing back its monthly subscription after years of being annual only. Even if you just sign up for a month to get this class, it’s worth it.


What Could Be Improved

Nothing (unless I’m nitpicking)

From a cognitive learning and retention perspective, my only critique of the class is that the 26-minute module is too long. Humans generally need to interact with the material they are learning every eight minutes. All of her other modules facilitate this by their length. However, try as I might, I couldn’t see a way to break it up. I think it’s just one of those things where you pop another window and pause the module as you work through the content. That's what I'm doing.


Verdict: Worth Every Second

This class doesn’t disappoint. It was easily consumed, packed with valuable insights, and highly implementable. I’m currently working through all the information a second time as I build my own Spoonflower shop for a January 2024 launch.


 

Janet Federico, MBA, MFA is a licensed artist, award-winning author, trauma educator, and speaker from Washington, DC now based in the Midwest. Her art has been exhibited at the Wichita Art Museum, the Wilson K. Cadman Art Gallery, City Arts, and InterUrban Art House. Janet’s writing has been featured in Elephant Journal, Writer’s Digest, and The Mighty. Want more? Get Janet in your inbox.

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