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How To Create A Seamless Repeat For Spoonflower Using Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop

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Published on Nov 20, 2014

Theresa, from the Help Team, stops in to explain how to use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to make a design repeat seamlessly for Spoonflower. Once you have a seamless repeat, it's easy to use it to make your own fabric, wallpaper, or gift wrap.

You can find a shortened transcript below. Don't forget to subscribe to our channel for more tips, tutorials, and product info!

We’re going to be using the Pattern Making tool, new for Illustrator CS 6, so keep in mind that if you’re using CS 5 or older, you’ll need to skip this first step. We’re going to start by selecting our motif, and then choose Object--Pattern--Make.

Now, if you look over to your swatch palette menu on your right, you’ll see that a new swatch pattern has been created there for you. Here we can see a preview of how our repeat is going to look. Our original pattern stays at 100% full opacity, while all of our copies are 50% dimmed, which makes it very easy to see and manipulate our original motifs, which is great when we start to edit our pattern. Copies are set to 3x3, but you can select however many copies you would like.

Now for the tile type: it’s going to default to gray, which is your standard straight repeat. For my pattern, I’m going to choose the Hex by Column option, which is going to make my shapes fit together nicely. What’s really great about this tool is that all of our adjustments will update live in our preview. Clicking on the pattern tile tool in the upper left allows us to adjust the space in between each repeat, so you can get a nice, tight repeat of all those hexagons with no spaces in between. You can either do that manually, or type the values you want into the width and height fields. If you’re happy with your repeating design, you can go ahead and click Done. Before I do that, I’m going to save a copy of the pattern as it stands now and name it. Now, it’s going to tell you that any changes you make are only going apply to the original and not the copy. So the Hex1 copy that we just made is the final edition. Any changes that we make to our pattern will not reflect on this pattern swatch.

After we choose Done, it’s going to bump us back to our original motif. You can just move that out of the way and start filling shapes up with our new pattern. Now, if I decide I want to make an update, I can do so very easily by just double clicking on my original pattern swatch, not the copy. And any of the changes that I make to this pattern will automatically be updated on my art board. Click Done and you’ll see that all of the shapes in our art board have automatically updated with the change. But our work is not yet done.

We’re going to now export our 8x8” file as a .PNG at 150 DPI and bring it into Photoshop. Once we have our file open in Photoshop, we’re going to use the Offset tool to simulate exactly how the image is going to repeat in Spoonflower with the basic repeat option selected. This method will not work with any layout option other than basic repeat. The first thing you want to do is go to Image--Image size and look at the pixel dimensions for the width and the height. Divide each value by two, and write it down. Now go to Filter--Other--Offset and type in the width and height dimensions in the text fields there, making sure the wraparound option is selected. This allows us to see exactly how it will look once we have it uploaded into Spoonflower.

Because we want to be able to easily manipulate each quadrant, we’re going to separate out each one and put it on its own layer. Use the guide tools to splice the canvas into four parts. Then use the rectangular marquee tool to select each quadrant. Hit Command + X or Control + X on a PC to remove that section, then open up a new layer and paste it into place by hitting Shift, Command, or Control + V. Repeat this until all four quadrants are separated out and on their own layers. And don’t forget to name your layers!

Once we’ve done that, we’re ready to make our pattern seamless. Drag each quadrant to manually overlap it until it appears seamless. You may have to eyeball this and use your nudge keys to get it right into place. Once you have your seamless repeat, crop out the empty parts of the canvas. Save your file as a .PNG and you’re ready to upload to Spoonflower. A few tips: always make sure your file resolution is at least 150 DPI and for best results, make sure your color format is saved in RGB. Now it’s time to upload our file. Log in to your Spoonflower account and click on create then create fabric. Choose the file from its saved place in your hard drive, confirm the copyright, then click upload.

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