Create Your Own Seamless Pattern in Photoshop

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Have you ever wanted to create your own seamless patterns for sublimation printing? They’re really easy to make in Photoshop and are a great way to push the boundaries of your creativity.

You can make original designs or combine elements you already have to create something completely new. In the video below, we show you how to make a simple pattern using some cute fox graphic elements for Sublime knee socks. Be sure to scroll through for step-by-step instructions and how the pattern was sublimated onto our final product.

Step 1: Create a New File

Open Photoshop and select File > New. You’ll see a range of file choices based on your recent projects. You don’t need a large file for most patterns, so we recommend an 8.5″ x 11″ size at 300 ppi/dpi and RGB color mode. Once your settings are correct, click “Create.”

Create-a-New-File-in-Photoshop

Step 2: Open a Product Template

Since you’re planning to use your pattern to create a sublimation transfer that will go onto a product, select a product template and open it in Photoshop. In our example, we are using a template for Sublime socks.

Step 3: Start Designing

Go back to the new file you created. Check that the canvas orientation will work for the pattern you want to design and the template you’re going to use. In our example, we need a portrait canvas because we want our pattern to be tall and narrow. A simple rotation of the canvas changes it from landscape to portrait.

Import your graphics and use Photoshop’s tools to create your design (watch the video for tips for how to do this). You don’t have to take up the whole space of the canvas, just enough to build a pattern sample that can be repeated.

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In our example, we used four rows of fox graphics and paw print accents, arranged in a tall, rectangular shape.

Create-Your-Design-in-Photoshop

Step 4: Select Your Pattern

Once you are happy with your design, select the Rectangle Marquis tool and draw a box around your design. If you make a mistake drawing the box, just click anywhere on or off the canvas to start over again.

Rectangle Marquis Tool in Photoshop

When you’ve boxed your design, go to Edit > Define Pattern. This will tell Photoshop that the design you selected can be used as a pattern. Name your pattern and click “OK.”

Use-the-Rectangle-Marquis-Tool-to-Define-the-Boundaries-of-Your-Pattern

Step 5: Apply Your Pattern

Go to your product template and select the Paint Bucket tool. This will activate a toolbar area just above your workspace. There will be a dropdown that defaults to “Foreground.” Click on that and select “Pattern.”

Click on the box to the right of the “Pattern” dropdown to see all of the pattern options available. Your new pattern should be the last on the list. Click on that pattern to activate it for your Paint Bucket tool.

Pattern Options in Photoshop

Bring your cursor down to the product template, and click in an open area you wish to fill with your pattern.

Apply Pattern to Sublimation Template in Photoshop

If your template has multiple areas to fill with your pattern, click to fill each area. The pattern will be applied seamlessly (the line you see in the image below is the division between the socks in the template).

Apply Seamless Pattern to Sublimation Template in Photoshop

When your template looks the way you want it to, save and print!

Our socks came out great with this fox pattern. Even our friend Simon the FIV+ Siamese loves them!

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Pattern-Sublimated-Onto-SocksFinal-Pattern-Sublimated-Onto-Socks

What kinds of design tips and tutorials do YOU want to learn about?

Tell us in comments or e-mail us at editor@sublimationtoday.com.


Robin Kavanagh

Robin Kavanagh

Robin Kavanagh has spent five years working in the sublimation industry. Formerly the Public Relations Manager for Sawgrass and owner of a sublimated products business, Robin brings unique knowledge and experience to the readers of Sublimation Today.
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