At some point in your life, you’ve probably spent five minutes doodling on a napkin or scrap piece of paper. But have you ever wondered what your doodle might look like as a repeating pattern? Spoonflower’s graphic designer, Alexis, is stopping by the blog to show you how easy it is to take your drawing off the paper and onto the screen to create a seamless repeat in Photoshop. Download your free trial and get started on your next fabric design! 

Please note: This tutorial is best suited for artwork on white paper. 

1. Scan your artwork at 300 DPI and open it in Photoshop. Use Replace Color, to make sure the background of the image is pure white. Click Image > Adjustments > Replace Color, make sure Preview is checked, and set the Fuzziness to 25.

2. Next click on the background of the image; that hue will appear in the box labeled Color. Drag the Lightness slider all the way to the right—the Result box will turn white. You should see your image background turn bright white as well. Click OK.

TIP: To adjust the colors of your image further use Image > Adjustments > Hue & Saturation and edit as needed.

3. Focusing on one element at a time, use the Lasso tool (in the side toolbar) to trace around your element as close as possible. Copy (command+C) and Paste (command+V) your selection; this will put it on a new layer. Click back onto your original layer and repeat this process with any remaining elements.

4. Set up a new canvas to create your repeat by going to File > New. Any dimension will work (but a square is easiest). Set the Resolution “DPI” to 150, Color Mode to RGB and click Create. Be sure to remember the measurements for the center point of your design as you’ll need it later. For example, if your canvas is a 1200px square the center point would be 600px.

5. Go back to your first canvas and click on one of your element layers. Make a selection of that layer under menu Select > All (command+A) and Copy it. Then Paste the element into your new canvas. Resize (if needed) and place it in the center.

TIP: To resize your element, use the Transform tool under Edit > Transform > Scale (command+T). Hold Shift while clicking and dragging from the corners, and press Enter to confirm the new size.

6. Make a duplicate of your first layer by clicking Layer > Duplicate Layer and click “OK” (command+J). Select your new layer and choose Filter > Other > Offset from the menu.

7. In the offset tool, enter the center point of your canvas (see Step 3) in the Horizontal and Vertical boxes. Click OK.

8. Your element should now repeat in each corner of your canvas with your first element still in the center. Now simply fill any empty space on your canvas with additional design elements (should you choose), being careful not to touch the edges of your canvas with any of the other elements.

9. That’s it! When you’re happy with your repeat, save out an image as a JPEG or PNG under File > Save As and upload to Spoonflower.

Now that you’ve learned how to create a repeating design, why not put your skills to the test during one of our weekly design challenges? We can’t wait to see what you create! 


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  • This tutorial has lots of great information. What version of PhotoShop was used for this video?

    Thank you.

  • To think I’ve been doing this by hand the whole time! My method prior to this has been to match up the elements in the corners using the grid lines to match up landmarks in the elements, create a new canvas, and test out the pattern. Repeat until everything matches. This seems so much easier.

  • Thanks Alexis!
    I´m starting my journey as a pattern designer and this article helps a lot!
    I use Ilustrator most of the time but I will give Photoshop a chance now.

    Have a great weekend!

    Jime 🙂