Behind the seams…

by

How to create embroidery on Zazzle
Yes, folks, embroidery will keep you in stitches. Sew I wanted to get right into it and show you just how seamless an experience it can be. I will show you the ups and downs and the ins and outs of the process.

These embroidery puns doin’ anything for ya?


Guide Us
First, I want to point you to an important document, the Embroidery Design Guide (PDF). This guide explains a lot of the details about creating successful embroidery products on Zazzle. Read it. Know it. Love it.

Also have a look at our embroidery information page. It contains important information regarding our process as well as links to pricing information.


Walkthrough
In this section, I will guide you through the process of creating an embroidered product from a standard JPG, GIF, or PNG image. It’s very similar to the normal print process, with a few key differences.


Step 1: Choose a product
The first step is simply to select what kind of product you would like to design: shirt, hat, or bag. Go to http://www.zazzle.com/custom/embroidery and choose one of the options:

Choose an embroidery product

Once you select a product, you will be taken to that product’s design tool. For this example, I chose Hooded Sweatshirt.


Step 2: Add an image
Once you are in the design tool a “Get Started” dialog appears where you can add an image or text. This is just like our print-on-demand design tool:

Let’s add an image. Click the Select Image link and you will see your image collection. Select an image, click Add Image, then click Make it now.

Now here’s one of those “key differences” I mentioned above. At this point, a new dialog will appear explaining to you that this particular image needs to be converted for embroidery.

This is an informational dialog only. It explains why we need to convert your image, how to choose an image that will convert well, and talks about the fee and time it takes to convert. In traditional embroidery, this conversion process is called “digitization”.

The conversion process is done by skilled technicians who know how best to interpret designs into stitches. It’s not an automated hit or miss process. It’s looked at by actual people using actual human eyeballs.

Once you finish reading the dialog, click Ok, add this image.

At this point, I’d like to mention that if you already own a stitch file in .OFM format, you can upload it and bypass all conversion costs. If you’ve had images digitized in the past for embroidery by a traditional embroidery company, you might have an .OFM file.


Step 3: Size your image
Now that the image is placed on the product, we can calculate the conversion fee. You will see that there is now a big yellow box under your image that tells you the cost of conversion at the current size.

In this example, the image is sized to 1.7″ x 2.1″ and it’s telling me that will cost $30 to convert. If I wanted to reduce that price, I could do a couple of things:

  1. Reduce the size of the image
  2. Simplify the image by removing fills and keeping outlines

The conversion fee is calculated by how many stitches it takes to create the image out of thread. The rate is $5 per 1000 stitches. The smaller the image, the less stitches it takes to create. Also, fewer blocks of solid color means less stitches required.

Keep in mind that once you convert an image at a particular size, you cannot change its size as an embroidery file.  You must convert it again if you want a different size embroidery design.  A handy tip is to convert images at the smallest size you can.  You can convert a smaller image once and use it on a greater number of products.  If you convert an image in a larger size, it will only fit on some products.  Hats, for example, have very small design areas and can only accept smaller images.


Step 4: Buy or post
Once you’re satisfied with the size and placement, you have the option to Add to cart or Post for sale. If you choose to add this product to your cart, you will see two line items in your cart…the product itself, and the conversion fee.

If you choose to post this for sale rather than purchase the product yourself, you will be presented with the normal Post for sale page first. Fill it out normally with the description, tags, title, etc. Click Continue when finished.

Now you will get a page reminding you about the conversion that is required.

This page gives details about the conversion fee as well as how long it takes to convert. You must click Continue to cart to add the conversion fee to your shopping cart.

Once it’s in your cart, simply checkout normally, and your image is sent off to be converted.


Step 5: Enjoy!
That’s it! Once the conversion is complete, you will receive an email with a link to your stitch file so you can see how it will stitch out. If you purchased the product, this is when the product begins its normal manufacturing process.

If you posted for sale, your product will appear in the marketplace when conversion is complete.


Free Text
What if you want to create an embroidered product, but don’t want to pay to convert an image? Use one of our over 100 embroidery fonts and create a text only product! No conversion required!

We have specialized monogram fonts, cool fonts, and traditional block and script fonts.

Bend it like Beckham
Another cool thing about using our built-in embroidery fonts is that you can automatically arch your text up or down, or re-orient to vertical or horizontal text, using a simple drop-down menu.

Templatizing the stitchy way
Did you know you can create templates from embroidery products? Any text object in an embroidered product can be made into a template placeholder. This is great for sports teams, family reunion shirts, etc.

For more information on how to create templates, see the post titled More than just embroidery…

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4 Responses to “Behind the seams…”

  1. Jo Says:

    sooper helpful – and ever so punny :o) thanks, dude!

  2. The Oscar Spot Shop Says:

    Hey Ed, I love a good pun. I hope to hear one sometime. Ba-rum-dum!

  3. Paintedlynx Says:

    Wow, can’t wait to get started. Thanks!

  4. Schelly Keefer Says:

    Once my image is converted into an emboidery file can I download that file so i can use it for other projects that that found on Zazzle?

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