I love patterns! There are so many applications for them: website backgrounds and headers, books, posters, CD packages, wrapping paper, iPhone cases, fabric, and more. It’s fun making them, too. My tool of choice is Adobe Illustrator and here’s how I do it.
- Create a new document. The dimensions should be square. I usually make mine 600 x 600 pixels.
- The edges represent the seam. Place your objects around the edges of the square so that part of the object is visible inside the square and part of it lies outside of the square.
- Duplicate each object placed on one edge in the identical position on the opposite edge.
a. To accomplish this, select an object on the left edge and copy it (CMMD-C). Then Paste in Front (CMMD-F) and move it 600 pixels to the right edge (OBJECT > TRANSFORM > MOVE or use the Transform tool by adding 600 pixels to the “X” coordinate value).
Note: When using the TRANSFORM > MOVE method, the horizontal field is for left-right movement, and the vertical field is for top-bottom movement.
b. Similarly, select an object on the top edge, copy it, paste in front, and move it 600 pixels to the bottom edge.
c. Continue duplicating and moving each object that rests on the edge of the 600 pixel square.
- When finished with the objects on the edges, fill in the rest of the square as you like.
- Draw a square box that is 600 x 600 pixels. In the Layers panel, place it above all the objects in the pattern. Select ALL, then create a Clipping Mask:
OBJECT > CLIPPING MASK > MAKE. This gives you the option of simply duplicating the pattern as a clipping mask or, going to Step 6, making it into a swatch.
- With everything still selected, drag to the SWATCHES panel.
- Create a new artboard, doubling the size to 1200 x 1200 pixels. Draw a square to fill the entire new artboard. Fill the square with your new swatch pattern.
You might need to adjust the pattern, especially if you are using the CC 2017 version of Illustrator.
- Double-click on the pattern swatch.
- The Pattern Options window will appear. Make sure the width and height of the pattern are both 600 pixels.
- Exit Pattern Editing Mode. Your pattern swatch will now be updated and should work as a seamless pattern!
If you prefer, you can watch the video tutorial I made that shows you how to create a seamless pattern in Adobe Illustrator: