Exploring Photoshop: Designing Repeat Patterns

Designing your own fabric patterns has never been easier with all the amazing tools that we have at our disposal these days. And making a repeat pattern design is one of the most common ways to create designs. Although there are special programs that make this task very easy indeed like Adobe Illustrator, you can make repeating designs quite easily using Photoshop Elements or Photoshop.

In Photoshop Elements and Photoshop Elements you can of course make repeat patterns using several different methods. This one is my personal favorite.

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

So let’s get started …

Note: This tutorial is for Photoshop Elements 6 but the steps will be similar in other versions.

1. Download the image
Right click and save to your desktop.

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

2. Open the image in Photoshop Elements

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

3. Create a half-drop repeat design

Duplicate the image by clicking on the flower image in the layers panel to select it.
Right click and select “Duplicate Layer”.

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

Click on the top layer in the layers palette to select it.
From the main menu:
Filter > Other > Offset

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

The original image is 200px wide by 200px height so to create a half-drop repeat, you will need to offset the image using half of the width and height of the original image.

In the “Offset Dialog Box” change the settings:
Horizontal: 100
Vertical: 100
Undefined Areas: Wrap Around

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

Click OK to close the dialog box and you can now see that the image has become offset.

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

With the top layer in the layers palette still selected, now select the “Magic Eraser Tool” from the tools palette.
Click inside the center of the offset image to remove the white background which reveals the flower image underneath. This creates a dense pattern design.

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

4. Define a pattern

From the main menu:
Select > Edit > Define Pattern

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

The pattern dialog box will open and you can see that the design you just made is displayed. Click OK.

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

5. Make a new file and fill it with the pattern

From the main menu:
File > New > Blank File

Make the size 2000px wide by 2000px high by 72 ppi resolution.
Click ok.

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

Position the new blank file alongside the flower image.

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

From the main menu:
Select the “Paint Bucket Tool”
Check the “Pattern check box” at the top of the screen
Open the “Pattern Picker” drop down box
Click on the offset pattern you just made which you can see has been added to the default set of patterns

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

Click inside the new empty file and you will see that it fills with the pattern you just made.

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

And you can make all sorts of creative designs by using the same process but with different images.

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

Easy when you know how right?

Have a creative day!

22 thoughts on “Exploring Photoshop: Designing Repeat Patterns”

  1. What a great tutorial, Linda! One of these days I may have to sit down and actually go through and do it. Thanks for sharing it.
    Katherine Sands

  2. Thank you very much for this explanation. I don’t have photoshop, but paint shop pro has very much to offer and is similar in this manner. When choosing offset, it worked better for me to choose wrap, and center. Once the first tiny square was made, I set the flood fill pattern to the still open, newly created pattern and just one click filled the entire canvas! Voila! I LOVED it; it saved so much time. I’ve saved this page for later use. Thanks again for the time spent showing how to do it!
    Judi

  3. Thank you so much. I’ve had PSE since version 5 and have not done anything with it. I’m determined to use it more in scrapbooking and this tutorial has helped tremendously. I’m using version 9.0 and will stay here until I can justify upgrading. I will keep a close eye on your site. Thank you for sharing your talent. I’m retiring in a couple of months and want to know how to use some of the stuff I’ve buying over the years. This will definitely help me create my own scrapbook papers.

  4. MRS.Amber Khurram

    i likr it much more,i don’t know hw to use adob 4 textlie desiging,i feell it’s very difficult but it is so easy becuase of you.thxxxxxxxxxx

  5. This is probably one of the most concise and easily understandable patter repeat tutorials I have seen. So much so I did it! YAY. Great, Linda. Thank you so much!!!

  6. Is there any way we can message back and fourth. I have a few questions in making a pattern with a few different images. I think I downloaded editor instead of the regular Elements… I don’t know if that makes a difference. If you could please email or FB me, that would be great. Thanks!

    1. I’m sorry but I don’t offer individual coaching. However if you have a question about this tutorial, please post in the comments.

  7. Steffis Papierstübchen

    I can’t believe how easy it is to create such a beautiful effect. not only for fabric patterns, also for cardmaking/backgrounds or anything else.

    your tutorial is fantastic, thanks so much for sharing!!!

    greets from germany
    steffi

  8. Linda: I’m an artist and have been struggling with this for a long time, thank you EVER so much for sharing this, as it’s finally worked for what I need!!!

    BIG HUGS!
    Diana

  9. Deborah Blodgett-West

    Thank you for posting this! Please make sure you warn people that making patterns can be addictive!! 😉 Also, how do you save the pattern when you go to another pattern group. Mine just disappear from the group they were appended to. Thank you for all the time and effort it takes to do this!

    1. Saving patterns is done via the Edit > Preset Manager where you can select the patterns you want to save as a set. If you need more help you can check the photoshop help files for the exact steps.

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