I want to create something like this:

enter image description here

In this German tutorial, they explain how to do so in GIMP.

My problem is, that I need exactly this but so that it is repeating itself. So that I have an image of, for example 15px × 15px, and I can use it to fill a bigger background by repeating it.

Can someone help me out here?

2 Answers 2


Creating a seamless repeating pattern is relatively easy. The easiest way to show you the concept is with a quick example. I am using Photoshop—but the concept is what is important.

It is best to start with an image with a relatively even and continuous tone. If your image has a big shadow on one side and is light on the other, it will show.

I am starting with a paper texture and selecting a small square region to create the pattern—which you can see marked:

enter image description here

Just to illustrate the difference—this is the texture repeated as-is:

enter image description here

The easiest way to make the pattern seamless is to tackle each axis separately.

First, set a vertical guide at the center of your image. Use this to make a selection and split each half of the image to its own layer. Swap the position of each half of the image—so the left moves to the right, the right moves to the left:

enter image description here

The left and right edges of your image are now seamless—the only problem is the center.

enter image description here

Use whatever method is appropriate and convenient to blend the visible join in the center. In Photoshop I used a combination of the Clone Stamp Tool and the Spot Healing Brush—I'm sure there will be equivalent tools in GIMP.

enter image description here

Your image now seamlessly repeats horizontally.

Repeat the process on the other axis. Make a horizontal guide in the center of your image, swap the location of the top/bottom etc.

enter image description here

You now have a perfectly repeating seamless pattern.

enter image description here

You may find that some elements don't work well within the pattern or there may be color or tone changes that are only noticeable when repeated. Simply go back to your pattern and work on any areas you see that need improving.

enter image description here

Note, I used a paper texture as it is easy to blend different areas—If you are working with a fabric texture with distinct fibres or other details, you may need to spend a lot more time blending the joins. The concept is the same though.

As @joojaa pointed out in comments, the Photoshop offset filter (Filter → Other → Offset) would be easier than manually duplicating/splitting and moving each section.

  • 1
    Have you ever heard of filter -> other -> offset It is means to do the position swapping faster. Anyway if you do it like this a alternate strategy is not to split the layers but have 2 of them on top of each other and erase parts strategically...
    – joojaa
    Mar 23, 2016 at 10:40
  • @joojaa duplicating the layers and erasing is a good way to do it yes! Same concept really. I'm just setting out the general idea—I'm not too concerned about the precise details :)
    – Cai
    Mar 23, 2016 at 10:57

In GIMP: filters->Map->make Seamless - It does a procedure of offsetting copies of the current image and paste faded versions of it on the four corners: it is quite good for fuzzy patterns - like the one in your example or in Cai's answer.

To make a mirroring pattern - use Filters->map->Small Tiles and experiment with the tile-mirroring settings before applying.

Either way you can save the resulting image directly as a pattern by copying it (edit->copy) and pasting it as a pattern (edit->paste as new->pattern) - you can them just use it as source for clone and bucket fill tools, or simply drag and drop it from the pattern dockable dialog into a larger image,

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