My Creative Resolution – Watercolor, Illustration, Print Pattern Design

How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop

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How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop. For fabric prints, gift wrap, wallpaper and more.
Nothing completes a day at the beach like a treat from the ice cream truck! I created this fabric print using illustrations from my sketchbook. Want to create a pattern from your illustrations? Follow the instructions below.

How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop

  1. Scan your artwork (or draw your elements in Photoshop)
  2. Create a new file in Photoshop that is the size of your intended repeat size.
  3. Create a layer that is a solid color (will not be visible in the design – just for positioning. Mine is white.)
  4. Double the size of the file (for example repeat is 3 x 4, make file size 6 x 8)
  5. Use guides to Mark the repeat area (solid area)
  6. Import the scanned artwork into your file
  7. Separate the elements of your artwork into different layers
  8. Size the elements and arrange them mostly within this rectangle (the guides) – elements can go over the guidelines.
  9. Create a background color that is the entire file size – keep it out of all the groups we will be making (it needs to be positioned below all the other layers)
  10. When you are happy with the arrangement create a group with all the layers – except the background color
  11. Copy the group 2x, place one group to the left of the guide and one to the right using the color layer as a guide for positioning
  12. Create a group of the three groups – the original, the right and the left, make a copy
  13. Place the copy above the original group (above the guide)
  14. Create another copy and place it below.
  15. Turn off the color layer in each group that was for placement only
  16. Do you like the arrangement of all the elements now that the elements are repeating? (If elements go over the guidelines in your design, this is where you will see if things accidentally overlap, or are too close to one another.) If yes go to step 18. If no go to step 17.
  17. If not, delete all the groups except the original, adjust the position of the elements, and repeat the steps of copying the group and placing left and right and then making a group from the 3 groups and copying to place above and below.
  18. To save the final repeat, first go IMAGE, CANVAS SIZE and enter the original repeat size.
  19. Test your repeat – open the repeat, change background to layer, increase canvas size by double. Copy repeat layer and place to the right, left, above, below. Do the elements line up properly? If so yes…
  20. Upload the final repeat file, and order a test fabric swatch. I use Spoonflower.com.

How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop
Want to see another example of designing a repeat? Read this blog post.
Another helpful post: Designing Patterns – important things to remember.

Want to order the Ice Cream Truck pattern as fabric, wallpaper, gift wrap? Visit my Spoonflower shop here.

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Author: Eileen McKenna {my creative resolution}

Web and Print Designer living in New York. I blog about painting, illustration, and designing patterns. Inquires are welcome.

5 thoughts on “How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop

  1. Wow! Thanks for sharing this info, Eileen! I have always wondered how people did this! 😊👍

  2. Pingback: Designing print patterns – one a month | my creative resolution

  3. Pingback: Zest for Life Citrus Print Pattern | my creative resolution

  4. Pingback: Designing a Summer Print Pattern | my creative resolution

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