Do you ever wonder how those patterns that you see on paper, clothing, and just basically anywhere in the world are made? Well here is a tutorial to show you how to create that seamless pattern right in Illustrator!

1. Gather Objects/Graphics

First you might want to gather the different graphics that you would like to include in your pattern. I did so here with the various icons I knew I wanted to use.

2. Open New Document

Now you will need to start a new document. Go to File > New and create a document with the sizes of 300 px by 300 px. Press OK.

 

3. Turn on the Grid

You might want to turn on the grid so that it will help you as you are placing the graphics on your document. You can do this by pressing Command + ‘ (apostrophe) on the keyboard (Control + ‘ on PC). Or you can go to View > Show Grid.

 

 

4. Create a rectangle

Grab the rectangle tool on the left tools panel (  screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-9-28-19-pm  ). Create a rectangle the size of the document.

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

5. Lock the background layer.

Now you need to lock the background layer so that it won’t move around while you are designing. We will unlock it later so remember how to get back here to the layers panel.

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

6. Place an Object

Now you will take one of you graphics or objects that you want to use and place it somewhere on the document. I placed the Visual Society logo in the top left corner. It’s okay that it’s overlapping because we are going to use the transform panel to make it seamless.

Save

Save

Save

7. Create a copy and transform

Next you need to create a copy of the object. Do this by pressing Command + C (Control + C on the PC) and then to paste in front press Command + F (Control + F on the PC). Now you can go to the transform panel (Window > Transform). In the X Value, add “+ 300 px” to the end of current value. Once you click return then you will see that it was duplicated to the other side and it’s in the exact position it needs to be to create a seamless pattern.

Save

Save

Save

Because the logo went off the top as well, we need to make sure it’s repeated at the bottom. So we need to do the same thing as we just did above except in the Y Value we add “+300 px”.

 

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Fill your document with the objects/images/text that you want. I added more objects, text and other elements to fill up the space. Notice how anything that went off the edge was repeated on the opposite side.

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

8. Define the pattern

Now that you have your pattern made, let’s define the pattern. Remember how I said we would come back to the layers panel? We need to unlock the background shape. Once you unlock it then you need to copy it. Use the same shortcuts from before, Command + C and then Command + F (Control + C and Control + F on the PC).

Now you need to make sure this shape has NO fill and NO shape screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-8-30-54-pm. With the selection tool, select everything on your document, and then drag everything to the swatches panel.

Save

Save

Save

Save

9. See it in action!

Now you can create a shape and fill in the shape with your new pattern!

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

If you notice anything you don’t like about the pattern then you can always go back and make changes to the original document. For example, I noticed that my background had a black stroke so I needed to fix that. I also wanted to make it more “fun” so I rotated some of my objects and added a textured background. After that you have a seamless pattern you can put on anything you want!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Final Pattern!

Latest posts by nicole (see all)