How to create an argyle pattern in Illustrator

September 02, 2010

Do you love argyle patterns? Have you ever wanted to know how to make them? Today, I am going to teach you just how easy it is to create an argyle pattern in Illustrator. This is an intermediate Illustrator tutorial where you will learn how to add a custom argyle pattern to the swatches palette. The steps to follow are outlined below followed by an instructional video.

Step 1: Creating a diamond shape

Open a new Illustrator file that is 1200px by 900px. The first thing that you want to do is to turn on the smart guides. This will make creating your argyle pattern a whole lot easier. With smart guides, you will be able to align everything easily. To turn on the smart guides, go to View -> Smart Guides in the main menu.

Choose the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a square on your stage that has a fill and no stroke. The fill colour should be one of the colours that you want in your argyle pattern. Convert your square into a diamond by rotating it45 degrees. In the main menu, go to Object -> Transform -> Reset Bounding Box. Squish and stretch your diamond shape until you get a diamond shape that you are happy with.

diamond shape

Step 2: Creating the basis for the argyle pattern

Choose the Rectangle Tool (M) and while holding down the alt key, click and drag out a copy of the original diamond shape. Repeat this step 6 times until you have aligned 7 diamonds together to create the shape below. Change the colour of the top and bottom 2 diamonds so that they are different from the middle three diamonds.

Basis of argyle pattern

Step 3: Adding stitches to the argyle pattern

Choose the line tool and draw out a line from the center of your pattern to the center of the bottom right diamond. Change the stroke of the line so that it is white, 0.5px and has a dashed line of 3pt-1pt-3pt-1pt.

line in argyle pattern

Create another line just like the last one only this time from the center of your pattern to the top right diamond. Select both lines and choose Vertical Align Center from the Align Palette. This positions your two lines so that they now form an 'X'. Group the two lines (Object -> Group). Copy this 'X' and add it to within each diamond.

White X in center of argyle pattern

Step 4: Adding the argyle pattern to the Swatches Palette

Select the Rectangle Tool (M) from the toolbox to the left of your screen. Make sure that your rectangle has no stroke and no fill. Draw a square in the middle of the argyle pattern. With the rectangle still selected, go to Object -> Arrange -> Send to back. Now, select your entire argyle pattern plus the rectangle that you just created. Drag all of it into your Swatches Palette.

Adding argyle pattern to the Swatches Palette

Delete the argyle pattern from the stage so that the stage is blank. With the Rectangle Tool (M), draw out a rectangle that covers the entire background or wherever else you may want to add your argyle pattern. Make sure that the rectangles fill is selected and select the argyle pattern that you just created from the Swatches Palette. This will fill the rectangle with your custom argyle pattern.

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