How to Make Repeating Patterns in Procreate

Welcome to your ultimate resource page for making patterns in Procreate.

Have you ever wondered how to make a pattern that repeats perfectly? It’s actually quite simple to do right in Procreate. There are so many things you can use repeating patterns to create. In this article I’ll teach you exactly how to make patterns and provide you with resources about making patterns, different ways you can use your patterns, as well as some places you can print your patterns on fabric, apparel, products, and more. 

In this video, I will teach you how to make seamless repeating patterns in Procreate. I’ll teach you how repeating patterns work and tips and tricks to make patterns quickly and easily.  

Play Video

Follow along as I teach you step by step two methods for making patterns in Procreate:

Learn how to make this simple pattern made of basic shapes…
… and this more complex pattern that utilizes multiple layers.

To test your patterns, use this handy tool! I recommend using split-screen view with Procreate and Safari. You can then drag a single layer directly from Procreate onto the tester page and see your pattern repeat instantly. You can even adjust the scale to see how your pattern looks at different sizes. Find the tool quickly by going to bardotbrush.com/repeat.

What is a Repeating Pattern?

A seamless, repeating pattern is a tile or block that will repeat infinitely, with no gaps or seams, when duplicated and placed side by side with itself. For the seamless repeat to work, objects along the edges of the block must line up perfectly with what is on the opposite side. 

How does it work?

You can make a seamless repeating pattern by adding elements of your design, called motifs, to the center area of a canvas. Don’t let anything touch the edges. 

Divide this canvas into quarters, and switch the left half with the right half and the top half with the bottom half. 

Your canvas has now become a tile block. Add to your pattern by drawing more motifs in the center area. 

A seamless pattern can tile infinitely!

Pattern Design Vocabulary

Block
A design or illustration, that when placed side-by-side or on top of itself, will repeat the design infinitely.

Tile (verb)
The process of repeating your block.

Repeat (noun)
The point at with elements or motifs visibly repeat. Your design’s repeat might be very noticeable or not, depending on how you set it up.

Motif
a single element of pattern that will be repeated. A pattern can have multiple motifs. In this article, I use the terms objects, elements, and motifs interchangeably.

Scale
The relative size of your pattern’s repeat. A smaller-scale pattern would mean a greater amount of tiles in an given area, and and larger-scale pattern would mean fewer tiles within that same area. A small scale will usually make the repeat more obvious.

Colorway
A variant of a color scheme in a design or pattern. A pattern with multiple colorways would comprise of the same design made with different color palettes. In Procreate, you can make different colorways by altering your art with the Hue, Saturation, Brightness adjustment.

Surface Design
Artwork, patterns, illustration, lettering, etc. that are designed to be printed on a surface. Surface designers make artwork that is printed on just about anything: clothing, blankets, notebooks, mugs, bags, gift wrap, fabric, you name it.

Pattern Repeat Types

The following repeat types are just a handful of the ways you can arrange the motifs in your design to create a pattern. 

Block / Full Drop Repeat

The motifs are right next to and on top of itself with no offset. The objects are arranged in a perfect grid.

Half Drop Repeat

The motif is placed into a grid, but every other COLUMN is offset at the mid point. The top edge of one motif would line up with the center of the motif next to it.

Brick-by-Brick Repeat

The motif is placed into a grid, but every other ROW is offset at the mid point. The top edge of one motif would line up with the center of the motif above or below to it.

Diamond Repeat

The block is rotated and repeated diagonally. This may allow motifs to appear closer together in the pattern. Polka dots are a well-known example of a diamond repeat.

Mirrored Repeat

A mirrored repeat is similar to a full drop or block repeat, except every other column or row is mirrored or reversed. Mirrored patterns are quick and easy to make since you don’t have to worry about objects lining up on opposite sides. 

Stripe Repeat

The tiling of objects occurs on only one side of the block. Motifs tiled across the top and bottom would produce a vertical stripe pattern, and objects tiled across the sides would create a horizontal stripe pattern.

Toss Pattern

Scattered or random placement of objects within the tile. Imagine you tossed a bunch of objects on a piece of paper, and you’ve pretty much got the gist of this pattern type. Toss patterns are my favorite! Nearly all the patterns I show you in my tutorial are toss patterns. It’s very unstructured and organic, with a lot of interest.

Pattern Design Inspiration

I’m curated some amazing pattern designs on Pinterest for your inspirational pleasure! Peruse the Pinterest board below for inspiration about types of patterns you can make.

Tips for Making Great Patterns

Scatered or random placement of objects within the tile. Imagine you tossed a bunch of objects on a piece of paper, and you’ve pretty much got the gist of this pattern type. Toss patterns are my favorite! Nearly all the patterns I show you in my tutorial are toss patterns. It’s very unstructured and organic, with a lot of interest.

Common Pattern Motifs

floral
geometric
animal print
paisly
checkered
gingham
novelty
plaid
herringbone
houndstooth
chevron
argyle
stripes
polka dot
ikat

Ways to Use a Repeating Pattern

There are countless ways to use your repeating pattern designs! Below are some ideas and places you can print your patterns on fabric, apparel, products, and more. 

What’s your resolution?

The first consideration in printing your patterns and artwork on products is image resolution. Use my Resolution Calculator to see how large you can print your art or how big you should make your Procreate canvas for printing at specific sizes. PRO TIP: Always check with your print vendors to see what image resolution they require.

Printing your Patterns on Fabric

I use Spoonflower to print my fabric and am very satisfied with the quality! Spoonflower and Contrado also offer a myriad of other products on which you can print your artwork. I highly recommend giving them a look!

Places to print on fabric: Spoonflower | Contrado | Joann | Bags of Love | DesignYourFabric
An example of a pattern I printed on Spoonflower's Petal Signature Cotton
I printed my flower snake pattern on Spoonflower's Poly Crepe de Chine

Printing your Patterns on Apparel

T-Shirts

The companies below offer all-over printed shirts which are perfect for repeating patterns. I have personally used Printful and was happy with the quality. The banana shirts I show in my tutorial are printed through Printful.

Places to print patterns on t-shirts: Printful | Contrado | Print All Over Me
A t-shirt I had printed through Printful
Other apparel items: 

Your designs can be printed on hats, leggings, ties, socks, aprons, dresses, bags, scarves, backpacks, and more. These companies offer custom printed apparel items

Printful | Contrado |  Zazzle | The Studio | BagsofLove | Cafe Press | Threadless

Print your patterns on Home Decor items

Home decor items are a perfect match for preparing patterns. Some ideas are blankets, pillows, bedding, curtains, rugs, tableware, even furniture! Contrado offers a few furniture options if you want to check them out.

Places to print on home decor items: Printful | Contrado | Spoonflower |  Zazzle | BagsofLove | 
Threadless

Other ideas

The possibilities are nearly limitless. Some other ideas are phone and laptop cases, face masks, stationery, notebooks, mugs, coasters, wallpaper, tapestries, water bottles, clocks, and more. You can find items like these at many of the companies linked to above. 

7 thoughts on “How to Make Repeating Patterns in Procreate

  1. This is an excellent post and just watched the tutorial, I’ve been using Procreate for a while but these tips and tricks are super handy, Thanks so much!

  2. Thank you Lisa! I’ve been looking for information about this for a long time, and as usual, you provided it in an interesting and understandable manner. All of your tutorials, brush sets, and videos are fantastic and so very helpful and informative. Thank you again for all the work you do to help us out with Procreate. I really appreciate you!

  3. Loved this video and your teaching style. May I ask. What size canvas and resolution is best for these projects if you intend to have them printed to material? Those strawberry look soooo good

  4. I’ve always used Affinity designer for patterns. Would love to avoid all the exporting, etc. Thanks for this easy to understand tutorial! Would a half drop repeat be designed using the same technique?

  5. Lisa, I learn so much watching your videos. Thanx a million. With the strawberry-pattern I was a little overwhelmed – black layer and grouping and flatten… But I have to say I live in Austria and of course I have to translate in my head.

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