In a few simple steps make a seamless pattern in Illustrator that will baffle your friends and amaze your co-workers!
For this pattern, we will not be using the grid or snap to grid so make sure those are unchecked under the VIEW menu. We will need to snap to anchor points, however, go to the VIEW menu > SNAP TO POINT to turn that on.
1. Use the Polygon tool (typically associated with the Rectangle and Ellipse Tool) and make a 3 sided shape with a 20pt radius.
2. With the Triangle selected double click the Rotate Tool and rotate it 90 degrees. Click OK
3. With the Triangle still selected, click the Reflect Tool (typically associated with the Rotate Tool) to activate it and hold the ALT (PC) or OPT (MAC) key down and click on the bottom right corner – your goal is to reflect the triangle along the vertical side. This will bring up the Rotate Transformation dialogue box. Select Vertical and click COPY.
4. Select both triangles, go to the WINDOW menu > PATHFINDER and unite both shapes.
5. With the newly combined shape selected, click the Rotate Tool and hold the ALT (PC) or OPT (MAC) key down and click on the bottom point.
Rotate the shape 120 degrees and click COPY.
6. With the newly rotated shape still selected go to the OBJECT menu > TRANSFORM > TRANSFORM AGAIN (cmd/ctrl + D)
7. Recolor all three shapes and make the stroke color none. Group the three objects together OBJECT menu > GROUP.
8. For this next step, it is best to turn off the bounding box to make it easier to select and place the shape based on their anchor points. Go to the VIEW menu HIDE BOUNDING BOX (about halfway down the list)
9. Select the grouped shape with the Black Arrow from the bottom left corner, hold the ALT (PC) or OPT (MAC) key down and drag a copy to the top point of the group.
10. Select the original group with the Black Arrow from the same point, hold the ALT (PC) or OPT (MAC) key down and drag a copy to the right-hand point.
11. Select the original group with the Black Arrow from the top point, hold the ALT (PC) or OPT (MAC) key down and drag a copy to the right-hand point.
12. Precision is the key to making this pattern work correctly. Before you go on to the next step go to the VIEW menu > OUTLINE – this will take you into a view of your artwork without any style applied. Zoom into the intersections to make sure all corners are lined up. If they aren’t, select each group and snap them into position (this is why we have SNAP TO POINT turned on)
13. Stay in Outline View. Select the Rectangle Tool and draw a rectangle that snaps to the upper left and right-hand corners of the top diamond and the left and right-hand corners of the bottom diamond. Zoom into the corners to make sure everything is lined up correctly if it is not, use the White Arrow to adjust the Rectangle.
14. Exit Outline View by going to the VIEW menu > GPU PREVIEW. Change the fill and stroke of the rectangle to none and go to the OBJECT menu > ARRANGE > SEND TO BACK – this becomes the cropping frame for the pattern.
15. Select all shapes with the Black Arrow and drag the contents to the Swatch Panel.
16. Zoom out and make a large shape and fill it with your new pattern.