How to Make a Seamless Ornamental Pattern in Photoshop

by . February 16th, 2011

Today we are going to show you how to create your own seamless ornamental pattern in Photoshop using some of the shapes that already come with Adobe Photoshop. This tutorial works best for those who are familiar with the basics of Photoshop.

Step 1

Step 1

You want to open Photoshop and create a new document (File > New). We are just going to use a Web Preset in Photoshop, size 1024 x 768 with the above specs.

Step 2

Now you want to prepare your document for pattern making. I like to turn on my Grid (View > Show > Grid) to make sure things are even.

Step 3

To first start the pattern, we are going to use a custom shape from Photoshop. You want to grab the Custom Shape tool by using your tool palette or by simply typing ‘U’. If another shape comes up (such as the Rectangle Tool), at the top of your window you should be able to select the Custom Shape tool (it kind of looks like an ink blot). Click on the drop-down arrow to get to the menu of shapes. Open up the ‘Ornaments’ package. We will be using ‘Ornament 5’ (2nd column, 2nd row).

Step 4

Select your shape, and hold down your Right-Click + Shift to create the shape. Make it as big or small as you want (the above picture is blown up a bit). Once you get it the size you like we are going to only use a piece of the ornament. Grab your Lasso tool (‘L’, any except for the Magnetic Lasso), and make a selection around the portion of the ornament you want to keep.

Step 5

Press ‘D’ to make sure your colors have defaulted (Black Foreground, White Background). Making sure you still have your selection from Step 4, you want to ‘Add Layer Mask.’ The easiest way to do this is to  locate your Layers Palette and click the third button from the left on the bottom of your Layers Palette (the white circle surrounding the gray rectangle). This removes the remainder of the selection without totally getting rid of it.

Step 6

You should end up with something like this when you are finished. You may also want to clean up your selection a bit by using a small eraser.

Step 7

Next we are going to rotate the ornament we have a bit, but with your layer mask you want to make sure none of your masks are selected, otherwise you will only end up rotating a piece of the ornament. When you select your Shape Layer, make sure your selections look like the above.

Step 8

To rotate, go to Edit > Transform > Rotate (or Ctrl/Cmd + T) and drag your mouse to move it around. When you have it in an ideal place, press Enter.

Step 9

Duplicate the layer (Layer > Duplicate > Ok), and Scale it down (Ctrl + T, Shift and drag down from a corner point). Once you get it to a smaller size, place it and rotate it like so.

Step 10

Then Duplicate both layers by selecting both layers (Ctrl/Cmd + Right Click) on the Layer Palette and dragging them towards the New Layer Button (second from right). While both layers are still selected, you want to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal then Shift + drag the layers over so they are right next to each other.

Step 11

Here is what your Layer Palette should look like. Remember none of your masks should be selected when you want to move your shape layers.

Step 12

Now we are going to add some leaves to what we already have to add a bit of style. Go back to your Custom Shapes (‘U’) and in your Ornaments pack, grab ‘Leaf Ornament 2’ (first column, third row).

Step 13

Create your shape anywhere on your canvas. Then make a selection, using your Lasso Tool so that you only keep the leaf and get rid of the stem. Push the ‘Add Layer Mask’ button on your Layers Palette.

Step 14

Once you get it the way you want it, move your leaf to one of the swirls to make it look like the leaf is attached.

Step 15

Erase pieces of your original shapes to make it look like one big shape. Select the Layer mask attached to your original shapes and pick a small, hard eraser (‘E’) to make everything look consistent.

Step 16

To finish off the design, we are going to add one more piece. Get back to your Custom Shapes (‘U’) and select the first shape we used (‘Ornament 5’). You want to make it a bit bigger than before and select the top portion of the ornament to keep.

Step 17

When you get your selection, you want to move it so that it is at the top center of the ornament. That’s it for your shape!

Step 18

Now we are going to get the canvas ready for the pattern. First you want to select all your Shape layers. Go to your Layers Palette and select the first layer, the push Shift and select the last layer so all layers will be selected.

Step 19

Next, you want to group the layers by going to Layer > New > Group from Layers.

Step 20

Once you do that, you want to name the Layer Group–‘ornament’ will suffice.

Step 21

Once you create the Layer Group, you want to Duplicate your group by dragging the group to the ‘New Layer’ button at the bottom of the Layers Palette.

Step 22

Duplicate your group again.

Step 23

You can turn your Grid on to help you create a pattern within a box (Ctrl/Cmd+’). I created guides from my Rulers (Ctrl/Cmd + R) to help create a box out of the grids. Select your two new group layers and Flip them vertically (Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical). Set them up so that your original ornament is considered the inside of the box (created by the Guides). Your vertical ornaments need to be set up so that whatever is inside the box on the top, is outside the box on the bottom.

Step 24

You may want to zoom in to make sure everything is as equal as possible. Your Guide lines should hit the same areas on each ornament. The above picture, is actually incorrect. The bottom vertical ornament is closer to the horizontal line than the upper one.

Step 25

To fix it, I just selected the top vertical ornament and move it down a bit.

Step 26

To complete the pattern, you want to select your vertical ornaments, duplicate them and move them over while holding shift so that what is outside the box on the left is inside the box.

Step 27

A look at your Layers Palette after duplication.

Step 28

Once again, make sure everything is even and equal. Use your lines to help determine what should be where.

Step 29

Add some color to your background. I chose this purple color, but grab a color from your swatches or Color Picker and fill in your Background layer with the Paint Bucket (‘G’).

Step 30.

Grab your Crop Tool (‘C’) and select the space inside of your box defined by the Guides or Grid. If you are using the guides, your lines will turn red once you have gotten the entirety of the box. Once you’ve gotten your selection, press Enter.

Step 31

Now go to Edit >Define Pattern.

Step 32

Name your pattern and press OK.

Step 33

Test your pattern out by creating a New Document. Grab your Paint Bucket (‘G’) and at the top left corner of your window, change the mode from Foreground to Pattern. Find your pattern and fill in your space. You are finished!

If your pattern comes out with issues, go back and make sure your selections are even and your shapes are as mirrored as possible.

Download the Pattern — Download the PSD

Kendra Gaines

About the Author

Kendra Gaines is a graphic designer from Virginia, United States. She designs for print, brand identity and websites. Visit her blog on tumblr and folllow her on twitter.