Sometimes using the pattern maker filter in Photoshop doesn’t give the results you want. Here’s how to create perfect repeating patterns using only photoshop and a brush set. This is the method we used to use at college when I was studying textile design.  Instead of slicing digital images we cut our hand drawn or painted paper designs in half and then taped them back together again. This way is much less destructive if it goes wrong!

First make a new image 600 x 600

Make a new layer

Using the photoshop brush set of your choice, make your design in the centre of the image on Layer 1. it can be as complex as you like, just don’t go up to the edges of the page.

Make a new guide (View> new guide). Type 50%, check vertical, and click ok

Make another horizontal guide the same way.

Now you’re going to cut your image in half vertically..

Take your rectangular marguee selection tool and select the left half of your image, using your rulers as a guide (make sure snapping is enabled)

Copy your selection (Edit > Copy, or Ctrl + C), hit delete, then paste (Ctrl + V). This is Layer 2. Now deselect the marquee (Ctrl +D)

Using the move tool , and using the keyboard arrow keys, move layer 2 all the way over to the right edge of your document


Select layer one, and move it all the way over to the left edge of your document

Now we’ll merge these two layers together. Uncheck the eye on your background layer so that it’s not visible. With layer 1 or 2 selected, go to Layer > Merge visible

Next job is to cut the whole image in half again, but this time horizontally. Select the top half of your image, copy it and move it to the bottom. Now move the bottom half up to the top. It should now look like this:

Create a new layer, and fill in the centre of your image with more flowers, making sure that none of them hang over the edges.

You may want to reduce the size of your pattern, I made mine 400 x 400. (image > image size)

Go to Edit > Define pattern

Now to test it out..

Make a new image sized about 800 x 600. Its not important, just so that its bigger than your pattern
Select the paint bucket tool, and set it to ‘Fill: Pattern’ (in the top tool bar)

Fill your new image with your pattern and the job is done. You may find you want to go back to your pattern tile and move things around until the pattern repeats nicely at this stage. You can also of course, draw your own design to cut in half, and use colour, texture to get as fancy as you want.

For lots more repeating goodness, check out PatternTrail, a new resource just for patterns.