Sunday, February 16, 2014

Excel as a design tool

I don't own any fancy graphics design tools.  I've tried a few and they always seem hard to learn and have many more features than I need.  I am pretty happy with what I can do with Excel, MS Photo Editor and Picasa.  I start with Excel using just borders, drawing tools and colors and a macro that makes square cells.

You can change the Excel color palette, which is key.  Here is a simple quilt design I did in Excel and then pasted into MS Photo Editor so it is a .jpg file.  It shows the colors, design and fabric requirements.  I like the colors a lot but am having some trouble finding the right fabrics.

Sometimes I lay out a single block and take a photo of the block. It looks like this after it has been cropped:

Then I open several copies in MS Photo Editor and put them together.  I can also rotate the blocks (the second row is made of rotated blocks):

I can get a pretty good idea of what the whole quilt will look like by putting lots of blocks together.

I also sometimes download fabric photos from on-line quilt shops/fabric manufacturers to use in this process.  That helps me decide if I want to buy a fabric for my quilt.  This doesn't work perfectly since the photos sometimes are not accurate representations of the colors, but it's still pretty helpful.

I use Excel for lots of design problems.  I designed our kitchen cabinets with Excel.  You can look at that here.


Anonymous said...

Do you have a copy of the excel sheet used for this quilt i could purchase?

donaleen said...

I uploaded the SS to GoogleDocs ... there is one funny line in it but that shouldn't get in your way

Anonymous said...