Create Repeating Patterns - Doc Cotton


We’re all about customisation here at Doc Cotton and it’s so much easier to put your own artwork onto our garments then you think. What about those smaller pieces of artwork you have? The small doodles or quick scribbles. They could be made into the perfect pattern. Read on to find out how to make a repeating pattern using Photoshop and how to use this on the Doc Cotton website!


Prepping your Image from Paper

If your pattern components are on paper, scan these first into your computer at 300 DPI.  Once your image is scanned, cut the components out.

Open your scanned images with Photoshop and use the ‘Replace Colour’ tool. Use this to make sure that the background is completely white. You’ll find this tool under the image menu, under adjustments. In the replace colour options, set fuzziness to 25 and ensure that you have ticked the box to show the preview.

Once you have closed the window with the correct settings, click on your background. Doing this will cause the background shade to appear in the box that’s marked for the colour. There will be a ‘lightness’ slider – drag this slider all the way to the end and both your preview and your image will change to display a bright white image. Once this is done, click ‘OK’.

Cutting out your Components

Now you should have your components, either scanned from paper or from a file on your computer in an image file that you can open in Photoshop. Use the ‘Pen’ tool and carefully cut out each component one at a time. Once each component had been carefully traced around, copy and paste it and it should create a new layer, specifically with that one component on it. Once a separate layer has been made, re-select your original one and cut out the other components too, individually. You will end up with a file with multiple layers, each layer being one component of the pattern that you want to create. You can do this with one or two pieces, or several. It depends on how you want your finished piece to look and what pattern you have in mind.

How to Make a Repeating Pattern

With the components open, you will need to bring those into one file and arrange them to make sure that they will repeat properly. How? Read on…

Create your Canvas

Create a new canvas within Photoshop by selecting ‘New’ from the ‘File’ menu. This canvas will represent one tile or one ‘repeat’ of your pattern. For example, if your pattern is a simple picture of a flower repeated, then this tile would have the flower on it.

You can choose the size that you want the canvas to be, it doesn’t even have to be square, but it makes it easier if it is. The bigger the tile, the fewer times it will repeat, so for example 100 x 100 pixels would be repeated four times on a 200 x 200-pixel background, whereas 50 x 50 pixels would repeat eight times on the same sized background. Make sure that you create the canvas with a transparent background, which you will be able to see on your canvas by the checker-board effect, rather than a plain white background.

You will need to know where the centre of your canvas is. You can do this by making a note when you create the canvas (for a 100 x 100-pixel canvas, the mid-point would be at 50 x 50 pixels). You can get Photoshop to show you this. Under the ‘View’ tab, you should find an option which says, ‘New Guide’. If you select this, you will get a pop-up form, where you can select ‘Horizontal’ or ‘Vertical’ with a position. Set this up for both horizontal and vertical (separately) and set the position to 50%. By the time you have finished this step, you should have a cross hair through the centre of your canvas. (You can change the colour of the lines to be easier to see in the ‘Edit’ menu, under ‘Preferences’ you need to select the ‘Guides, Grid & Slices’ menu)

How to Make a Repeating Pattern Tile

Go to your original file and select all your layers which contain your pattern components. Copy this selection and then paste it into the new canvas that you just created. You can resize this if you want to. To do this, choose ‘Scale’ from the ‘Transform’ menu under the ‘Edit’ tab. Once this is the right size, position this in the centre (on the crosshairs if you set up the guides) of your canvas.

Then make a duplicate of your first layer by selecting ‘Layer’, then ‘Duplicate Layer’and confirm by clicking ‘OK’. If you want more than one component of your repeated pattern to be at the point where the image ‘slices’ for the tile, you will need to add those on to this duplicated layer too.

Select the new layer – the duplicated one – so you can actually start making a repeat pattern. For the new layer, select ‘Filter’, then ‘Other’ and then go for the ‘Offset’ option. This is where the centre point of your image is needed, the one you made a note of when creating the canvas. Add the centre point in the horizontal and vertical boxes. You can tick the preview box and this will show you the results on your canvas before you confirm and click ‘OK’. Under the ‘Undefined Areas’ section, make sure that ‘Wrap Around’ is selected.

Your component should now have a duplicated version of itself in each corner of the tile and your first piece in the centre. You can then fill the blank areas with your other components, if you have any. Make sure that these don’t touch the edges.

How to Make a Repeating Pattern to Use on the Doc Cotton Website

To be able to use your repeating pattern on the Doc Cotton website, save the tile as a JPEG, as we only accept this file on our website when you upload your patterns. Use the ‘Save As’ option under the ‘File’ tab and select the file type from the drop-down menu within the form.

Simply add it to a range of Doc Cotton garments by choosing ‘Upload Print’ after choosing your garment style and you will see it automatically applied where you can customise and adjust your print size. Voila!

Doc Cotton x