Seamless patterns can be applied to any background you can imagine, from a website or application to your Tinder photo.
In this howto, we’ll talk about raster patterns you can create in Photoshop. If you prefer vectors, check out this tutorial instead.

What You Will Need to Perform the Mission

1. Adobe Photoshop. If you came across this tutorial, chances are high that you already have this program. However, just in case, here’s the link to download a free test version.
2. Icons8 for desktop. It’s a free app containing lots of icons and works well with Photoshop.
3. Icons or other images you want on your pattern. We took our Nature icons for this tutorial. FYI, they are free in PNG of any size, so you can save them in your account and use for the pattern as well.

8 Steps for Creating a Pattern in Photoshop

1. Make a Base for Your Pattern

Create a new file of any size with the equal width and height. In our case, each side is 200px.
Base for the pattern

2. Add the Icons

Drag and drop the icons from Icons8 for desktop (or any other icons) to the Photoshop file. We went for a Crab, a Fish, a Clown Fish, and a Seahorse.
If you use monochrome icons, you might need them in different colors. Here’s how to recolor PNG icons in Photoshop.
Adding icons

3. Place Each Icon on a Separate Layer

Press Enter to finish the icon pasting process. You have to press it as many times as needed until you do not see the black frame anymore.
Black frame
It should look like this in the end:
Icons on separate layers
Now each icon is on its own layer in your file.

4. Set up the First Layer

Select one layer in the layers panel and go to Filter > Other > Offset:
Filter menu
Set the parameters Horizontal and Vertical to be half of the file’s side length. Remember the Width and Heigth of your square? Those are the two settings you need.
The size of our file is 200x200px, so we set 100px for both parameters. Make sure you check the Wrap Around option in the lower part of the pop-up window. Click OK. The first layer is done:
The first layer

5. Set up the Second Layer

Select another layer in the layers panel. Now go to Filter > Other > Offset again.
The first layer
Then set Horizontal at 0px and press OK:
Set Horizontal

6. Set up the Third Layer

Select yet another layer and go to Filter > Other > Offset. Now flip the Horizontal and Vertical values. For our case Horizontal will be 100px, and Vertical 0px. Click OK.
The third layer
Now we have the pattern tile ready.

7. Merge the Layers

Select all the layers except Background in the layers panel and use the hotkey combination Ctrl+E. The selected layers will be merged.
Merge the layers

8. Create Your Pattern

First, use one more hotkey combination Ctrl+A (select all).
Select all
Then go to Edit > Define Pattern:
Define pattern
Name it and press OK. Ta-da! Your pattern is ready!
Define pattern

How to Apply the Pattern

You have the pattern, fine. Now let’s see how to use it on a background.

1. Create a New File

Make it bigger than your pattern tile to see the result. Ours is 800x600px.
New file

2. Choose the Pattern Overlay

Double-click on the Background in the layers panel. Click OK in the pop-up window.
Click on the background
Go to Layer > Layer Style > Pattern overlay:
Pattern overlay
Select your newly created pattern in the pop-up window and click OK.
Select the pattern

3. Enjoy Your Pattern!

The pattern

Further Reading


Try free tools for creators by the Icons8 team

Icons8, a library of about 120K+ free icons and free clip art images
Lunacy, free graphic design software with built-in design resources
Photo Creator, free collage maker with AI-based technologies to make custom photos for your story
Fugue, royalty free music for videos of any kind
Pichon, the desktop app to download icons and clip art and use them offline
Icons8 Photos, the big collection of free stock photos designed to work together
Ouch!, a library of free vector illustrations

Also, get the lists of free vector software and free photo editing software.


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