Illustrator Quick Tip: Using the Blend Tool to Create Repeating Patterns

Illustrator Quick Tip: Using the Blend Tool to Create Repeating Patterns

Creating even the simplest repeating patterns in Illustrator can be time consuming. But knowing a couple of easy tricks can greatly reduce the time it takes. In this quick tutorial we’re going to explore using the Blend Tool to quickly create a repeating pattern for background elements in Illustrator. This method makes it easy and can save you a ton of time.

Step 1

Create your repeating element. For this example I’m going to use a single diagonal line. This element can be anything that you would like to repeat, so feel free to experiment.

Copy and paste your element and space it at the end of where you want your patter to appear.

Make sure the elements align perfectly. To do this you can use the “Vertical Align Center” button on the align palette.

Step 2

To create the pattern click (Object | Blend | Blend Options). For this example I’m going to use Specified Steps at 75, but you can experiment within a different amount of steps, or by choosing Specified Distance from the drop down.

Choose Okay and then click (Object | Blend | Make). You should then see your repeating pattern take shape.

Step 3

To edit your pattern you’ll need to expand it by clicking (Object | Expand). Now you can change the colors or remove some of the elements etc… For my example, I changed the color to white and reduced the opacity to 30. Then I placed a shape behind the pattern.

I hope this quick tutorial inspired some thought on creating repeating patterns and how to use the Blend Tool to greatly speed up the process. Experiment and have fun!


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Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown is a graphic designer who loves working with various media. He combines traditional art styles with a little experimentation and digital flare. Nathan's works have contained everything from ink and paint to leaves and a box of dirt. Everything is fare game when it comes to his approach to art. Nathan lives in Austin, Texas where he has been working as a designer for 10 years.


(+add yours)
  1. Nice, Quick and Easy..

  2. Duncan Craig

    Ah cool – that’s pretty sweet

  3. Jerret

    Hmmmm…Didn’t work for me. It won’t let me preview. When it doesn’t let me preview, I know it’s not going to work. :-(

    • Drew

      Make sure you set the options first, then Make

  4. Simple and handy trick worked for me.

  5. Jackie Winston-Bey

    I love your quick tips! When put together, you can create some fantastic artwork! Thank you so much!

  6. Neeha

    my preview option is freezed so what can i do ?? :(

  7. tnx a lot. your site is very good

  8. gideon

    thanks for sharing

  9. Tahlia

    Why is it it that when I’m using the blend tool, it can only work when I do your example, so with the line, but when i try to do it with type, nothing happens. I’m trying to do this tutorial –

    what i mean is when i try to do it on type nothing happens, no blendings happens. but yet with line, the blending happens.

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