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How to create a repeating pattern

Lot’s of people ask me where my ideas come from, or how I create things. In particular, how do I make a repeating pattern. So here’s a way to design a super easy repeating pattern the old school way-without a computer! It’s a great little trick and it’s fun to do. All you need are the materials and a little imagination. To get started, make sure you have the following:


Paper (I find it simpler to use a4, then it’s ready for my home printer)

Scissors or a scalpel blade


Sticky tape

Your drawing medium (pens, pencils, stickers, etc)

Access to a copier




Start by making your first image on the paper. It can be big or little, many or one, as long as you DONT go off the edge of the paper. Once you have your first part of the design, cut the paper in half through the middle in a STRAIGHT line.

Swap the pieces over so that the images cut edges are at the outside of the paper, then flip both over and tape together, making sure the edge fits together perfectly and the halves are aligned, as this will affect how your future tiles will meet. Next, fill in the blank space with the next part of your design, again being careful not to go off the outside edge of the paper.

Repeat the center cut, but in the other direction. Swap the halves and tape the backs together again, same as before.

Continue to fill the remaining space until you are happy with your image. Never go off the outside edge of the paper. This will cause the pattern images to meet incorrectly once you you put the repeats together.

When you are finished, copy or scan your image making sure none is ‘chopped off’ by the copier/scanner. Try colour, black and white, and print as many copies as you like. Four is a good start to check you’ve got them matching. Now you have a repeating pattern tile to make your pattern as large as you like! Just keep printing and joining! Cover books, line drawers, wrap presents, make wall art, wall paper, or digitise. Many custom fabric suppliers can clean up the joins and prepare for print, so you can make your own fabric!

I hope you liked this little art hack, and you have fun getting creative and making some cool stuff. Please post your creations, I’d love to see them. I’m always posting process shots of my work on insta @jacquelinecreative so have a look there for more videos of my art. xox J

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