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Easy ways to make geometrical patterns

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

These are such strange times, we are all still trying to make some sense of it and trying to figure how to live our lives now. I have been wondering where to go with the things I was doing and initially I didn’t really know until I saw a few people using the blog printing tutorials I made before to start printing, sometimes together with their children now that everyone has so much time at home. That was really great to see and so I’m making another blog post to maybe give you some new ideas to make patterns.

In the first few days of staying at home here in the Netherlands I really wanted to do some printing, but it was not easy for me to access my creativity and so I resorted to a simple technique that seems to work always: a way of making very simple geometrical patterns. If you’re wondering what to print this might be a nice way to start. I actually got the idea in a workshop by Heather Moore of Skinny Laminx (look her up if you don’t know her, she’s wonderful) she had just done some workshops in Portugal using the inspiration of Portugese tiles to print patterns. She’d made sets of square cards with tile patterns on them, each set containing 9 cards with the same tile design and she let us play with them. As you rotate the tile cards you can make a few different patterns with just one tile design.

A while later I was making a bag that I thought needed a really simple geometrical design and I went back to the square, just cut one bit out of it and by rotating it in two different directions and it instantly made an interesting pattern.

So that’s an idea I’m proposing to you now, you can start by simulating Heather’s cards if you like by cutting 9 square’s out of paper and cutting some bits out of the square (in the same way for every square) to make a motif. As you can see in the example of my bag, it does not need to be very sophisticated, it can be something really simple. And then you can start playing around with it. This would definitely be something fun to do with kids. When you’ve found a motif and pattern you like you can cut a stencil with that motif and start printing.

I’ve done an example here where I used one simple stencil to make 3 different patterns. I didn't cut them out very carefully, but it still seems to work. I hope that this will give you some ideas to print and make something nice. And as before I’d be delighted to see what you make!

And if you find yourself becoming very interested in the possibilities of geometrical patterns there is a book that I can highly recommend. It’s "How to make repeat patterns" by Paul Jackson, it goes from the simplest obvious repeats, like the ones I’m showing you here to very intricate Escher like patterns still only using very simple techniques like rotating and mirroring. It’s absolutely fascinating.


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