Designing a Summer Print Pattern

Goggles print pattern
I challenged myself to design one fabric print a month this year. Since June is winding down, it was time to get to it. When I first started designing patterns I would sit with a blank page and start drawing. Since then I’ve changed my approach. Now when I’m designing, I go to my sketchbook and paintings and look for artwork I’ve already created that would work well as a repeating pattern.

I’m in a summer frame of mind, so I selected this painting of goggles. Click here to read the details of the steps I take to create a pattern in Photoshop.
Watercolor goggles

I tried designing a pattern with the goggles before, but didn’t have success. This time, I had a new vision. I isolated the goggles, leaving only a little of the blue background and adjusted the colors to create the goggles in every color of the rainbow. I struggled a bit with how to get the design to repeat perfectly when the goggles were in a diagonal line. Sometimes I make things harder than they need to be. So, I revised the design to be a more organic placement and in doing so made it easier to create the repeat. I added a blue background color. I’m excited for the fabric swatch of this design to arrive!

So far my “Swimming Laps” design is my most popular one.
Swimming Laps fabric print. Swim team, swimmers

I recently reworked my Valentine squares to become a new “Pool Tile” design. The swatch of this design should be arriving any day.
Watercolor pool tiles fabric print design.
Valentine’s Day Squares:

See all of my fabric print designs in my Spoonflower shop.

Pink Dogwood Flower Fabric Print

Pink dogwood flower print pattern
I used watercolor paintings from my sketchbook to create this pink flower repeating pattern. I’m keeping my goal to design a new pattern every month this year! See my other designs here.

Do you sew? Designing the fabric is where my skills ends! If you create anything with any of my fabrics, let me know. I’d love to feature you on my blog. See all my fabrics in my Spoonflower shop.

How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop. For fabric prints, gift wrap, wallpaper and more.

A swimming pattern…perhaps

Swimmers in my sketchbook. An idea for a pattern design.

My goal this year is to design a pattern a month. So as the month starts to wind down, I’m thinking about swimmers.

Last month I created an ice cream truck pattern from illustrations in my sketchbook. It’s available for purchase on Spoonflower here.

Ice cream truck print pattern / fabric

Ice Cream truck treats fabric print on a pillow

In January I designed a penguin polar bear pattern. Available here.

polar bear penguin Christmas pattern with Christmas trees, wreaths, and mistletoe

See all my designs in my Spoonflower shop.

Want to learn how to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop? Read:

How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop. For fabric prints, gift wrap, wallpaper and more.


How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop

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

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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