Introduction: Digital Image to Personalized Heart-shaped Fabric Cover

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of t…

This is not a cover for fabric, this is a cover made of fabric. However, I suppose you could cover fabric with it if you want to.

This is simply a method of turning a black and white digital image into a large heart-shaped fabric throw that can be made of any two fabrics of your chosing.

I made mine for use with the Inflatable Love seat.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff


- A computer with Photoshop
- A black and white printer
- 60 sheets of paper (give or take)
- Scissors
- Masking tape
- Tracing Paper
- 200 beaded pins
- Thread (to match fabric)
- Fabric for foreground color (as large as you want to make your heart)
- Fabric for background color (as large as you want to make your heart)
- A sewing machine
- A sewing needle
- Photoshop file (see below)

Step 2: Black and White.

Open up heart_template.psd in Photoshop.

Create a new layer behind the layer entitled "heart border."

On this layer create the black and white image that you want to turn into a large fabric throw. The ideal image would be simplified and ideally consist of one large inter-connected shape. At the very least it should not hundred of small shapes. The fewer ___ pieces there are, the easier it will be to sew later.

If you are not a competent artist, but want to make something that looks nice see the next step on how to posterize a photo with decent results. Competent digital artists can skip that step.

Step 3: Stamp Your Image.

Well, if you aren't a very good artist, you can hide that fact pretty easily. Find a digital photo you like and open it in photoshop.

Cut out the image using the polygonal lasso tool (see secondary image). Copy the seleciton made with the polygonal lasso tool (edit --> copy) and then paste it into your heart_template.psd image (select heart_template.psd and then edit-->paste).

Once the image is pasted into the template you are going to want to posterize it. The best way to do this in Photoshop is to make sure your foreground color is black and your background color is white and then apply the "stamp" filter to it (Filter --> Sketch --> Stamp).

If you have not done so already, reorder the layer so that it is positioned behind the layer "heart border." Also, you may need to resize the layer (edit --> transform --> scale). Now, using the move tool, move around your posterized image until you find just the right framing.

For extra flair you can cut out an image of flowers, posterize it using the stamp filter and stick this image in the background behind the person.

Step 4: Rasterbate Your Image.

Once you have a black and white image that you like save it as a JPG and go to The Rasterbator official website.

If you are making this cover to use with an inflatable love seat it should be 70" x 58" with the paper's orientation set to horizontal (see image).

Step 5: Print and Assemble.

Open your rasterbated image, print it out and assemble it with tape.

Once assembled you should cut out the image along the border.

(Note that the rasterbated image in the secondary photos is a different image)

Step 6: Trace Your Image

Take out your tracing paper. It probably won't be large enough to fit over your rasterbated heart. You're going to need to tape together a number of sheets so that it can fit nicely over your rasterbated heart. Once you have a large sheet of tracing paper you are going to need to tape it down so that it doesn't move

Trace your image very carefully. Use your initial digital image as reference since the rasterbation will be slightly abstract from close up.

Step 7: Lay Your Image.

Now it is time to lay your traced image over the fabric that you intend to use as the black part of the original image.

Make sure to lay the fabric nice and flat. Once you have done so lay the tracing paper nice and flat on top of it. It helps if you take the masking tape and tape both the fabric and the tracing paper in place.

Step 8: Cut Out the Image.

Once your tracing paper is in place you are going to want to cut out your foreground image very carefully along the traced border lines. Don't forget to allow for the stretch of the fabric if there is any.

Also, it helps a lot if you tape down the cut fabric and the cut tracing paper to the floor as you work to hold the shape of what you are cutting (see picture). This will give you a more accurate cutout when you are done.

Step 9: Pin Your Image.

Lay down the rasterbated heart over the background fabric. On top of the rasterbated image lay down the fabric pattern you just cut out so that it is laid perfectly in place. Once the pattern is in place you can start pinning the fabric image down through the paper so that the fabric cutout is pinned to both the paper and the fabric background.

Once this is done, you have to painstakingly and very carefully remove the rasterbated image from between the two layers. It is time now to slowly and carefully cut away the paper bit by bit until it is no longer between the two layers of fabric.

One method for doing this includes cutting away the paper right up to one of the pins holding the fabric in place. Putting a new pin right next to it that holds just the fabric together and removing the pin that was holding both the fabric and the paper. This will make more sense as you start to do it.

After all the paper is removed, pin down your foreground fabric more carefully so that it doesn't come apart while handling. Use the initial computer-generated image as reference to make sure you are pinning it right.

Step 10: Prepare to Sew.

When you start sewing you should start from the top corner of the image and move inwards (down and across). But before you actually begin sewing you are going to want to trace the edge of the fabric with pins about 1" away from the actual edge (see image). That way, when you start to sew, the sewing machine plate will be between the edge of the fabric and the needles following the edge that are holding it in place. This should give you pretty accurate placement of the image when it is finally sewn in place.

Step 11: SEW!

Well, as soon as your fabric is pinned down as per "step 10," you then need to sew along the border with your sewing machine. So do it.

Once you are done repeat "step 10" with the next part of the image that needs to be sewn and then sew that. Repeat these two steps over and over and over.

Step 12: Cut Out the Heart.

So it is sewn. Now you only have to cut out the heart. Leave as much of a border as you see fit for whatever you are using the heart for.

If you intend to use your heart as a cover for the Inflatable Love seat as I have, then leave 2 inches of excess fabric to that you can attach the rest of the cover (as shown in that instructable).