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Create Seamless Repeating Pattern in Illustrator

Posted in Tutorials on October 9th, 2015 | No Comments


Repeating patterns are very powerful decorative design elements and can be created easily. It can be used in cards, wrapping paper, websites, textiles and many other materials. Mostly you can download these pattern for free from many vector websites but creating your own is a little extra something and simply fun. Let’s take a look at it in Illustrator and follow these step by step instructions to create your own pattern.


We will be creating a pattern using various Dashain and Tihar (Diwali) themed elements. But the challenge here is to make a pattern repeat seamlessly. Let’s try one of the techniques to get a fully seamless vector pattern.


Let’s start by creating some Dashain and Tihar (Diwali) themed doodles. I have drawn some items like Kites, Diyos, Crackers, Marigolds etc to mix up which I will be using for my pattern. Don’t forget to Expand your items if they are created using Pen or Brush Tool.


Create a square to set an area for the pattern using Rectangle Tool. You can use any color but our elements should be visible. Copy these elements and place randomly in the pattern area. Click and hold Alt or Option key to create a duplicate of an element.


Keep on dragging items into the area until the square is filled. Arrange them by rotating and maintain space to balance the design as shown above.


Select the square and move it slightly right and down using the Arrow Head key on the keyboard but should cover an equal distance. It will keep some elements out of the square and maintain some space on the opposite sides.


Now, select the square and all the elements that are overlapping the left side of the square.


Hold the Alt or Option + Shift key and drag the selection to the other side of the square. Line up the duplicate of the selection perfectly with the right edge of the original square.


Now, do the same with the elements that overlap the top edge of the square. Select those elements and the square. Press Alt or Option + Shift key and drag the selection down to lineup the duplicate of the selection with the bottom edge of the original square.


Delete both duplicate squares as we don’t need them anymore. Arrange and change the elements within the original square area if necessary. In the picture above I have marked some elements that I am going to change and move. But don’t move or replace the overlapping elements.


Now you have the basic unit of the repeating pattern something like the image above.


Bring the square above the elements by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + ] with the square selected and fill the elements with white color. I have changed the background dark to make the white elements visible.


Select all elements and the square. Then hit the crop option in the Pathfinder Tool. You will get the trimmed pattern to create a repeatable pattern.


Drag this pattern into the Swatches palette so it can be applied as fill.


Create a new rectangle and fill it with the gradient of any color of your choice. Copy it and press Ctrl or Cmd + F to paste the copy of it in front. Fill the copy with the pattern that we have created from Pattern palette.


You can use it to create greeting and wrapping paper with any variety of colors you like. Click the above image to get a full size image.


Written by Ashok Shrestha
Ashok Shrestha is an up and coming graphic designer for both print and web. He is knowledgeable in Adobe C.S. 3/ C.S. 4, Joomla and Wordpress. He likes to experiment with various techniques in both print and web.

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