How To Make A Repeat Pattern – The Swiss Method

This is a very easy way to put any drawing, painting or collage into repeat, without the need for computer programs or technical knowledge. After you have finished you can scan your design into a computer, use a simple photo editing program to tidy up the edges, and copy and paste it to create a repeated, tile-able design. If you send this through to us we can then digitally print it onto fabric for you.


You will need:

  • a piece of paper or card
  • art materials (whatever you would like to use for your design)
  • a sharp pencil
  • a ruler with a metal edge
  • a scalpel or sharp knife (sharp scissors will do)
  • a cutting mat (not needed if you are using scissors)
  • tape


Print and Press, London - Swiss Repeat Method 1

Step 1: Make a pattern in the middle of you piece of paper, leaving a clear white border around the edge of the paper and being careful not to touch any of the sides. I made a collage by tearing pieces of coloured paper, but you can do anything you like.


Print and Press, London - Swiss Repeat Method 2

Step 2: Turn the paper over and drawn two lines, one vertical and one horizontal, to create a cross on your paper. It’s very important that these lines are perfectly straight, but they don’t have to be exactly in the centre of the page.


Print and Press, London - Swiss Repeat Method 3

Step 3: Using your cutting mat, scalpel, and ruler, cut along the vertical line. If you don’t have a scalpel you can use scissors, try to cut as straight as possible. When you have two halves of paper, flip them so they are on the opposite side to where they started. Very carefully line up the two vertical edges, using the edges of the paper and your horizontal line as a guide, and tape the two pieces together. Now do exactly the same thing with the horizontal line, so the top and bottom halves are reversed.


Print and Press, London - Swiss Repeat Method 4

Step 4: Turn your piece of paper over and your design will look very different! You can now fill in the blank paper with the rest of your design. Again take care not to go too close to the edges of the paper. Your finished design is now a perfect block repeat pattern! Here’s what my finished one looked like after I’d tidied it up on the computer:

Print and Press, London - Swiss Repeat Method Final Design 3


We’d love to see any designs you come up with using this technique. You can tag us on Instagram, or post them on our Facebook page. Our if you’d like your own custom printed fabric just send us an email.

Comments are closed.