How to Make a Repeating Pattern

Surface pattern designer extraordinaire Julia Rothman is guest-blogging at Design*Sponge this week. Today she shared her method for hand-drawing repeating patterns. Just draw, cut, reassemble, and fill in the blank space! Well, not “just”; there’s much more to making attractive patterns (technical drawing skills, artistic voice, and color savvy to begin with), but if you’ve ever puzzled over how the interlocking, allover design (without white space in between elements) is achieved, now you know!



images by Julia Rothman on Design*Sponge

Tip: You can also start drawing in middle of your paper, then flip the paper over, fold the opposite edges together, draw across the join, then repeat with the other two edges; no cutting necessary.

If you have Photoshop/Illustrator skills it’s easy to see how you can now scan in, clean up, and colorize your design. If you can’t afford Photoshop, Gimp is an excellent, free, open-source alternative.


  1. meggiecat says:

    Thanks for the heads up. Useful information is always welcome.
    I love visiting True Up.

  2. Oh how great!! Selling vintage fabric all day just makes me want to print my own, now i know how to make the design. Thank you so much.!! Really! cheers Elizabeth

  3. [...] useful links I found when researching this: How to create a repeating pattern from True Up. An example of one illustrator’s work made into fabric (her artwork is pretty [...]