Elements of Pattern

By May 21, 2008General

One of the things I love about design & stamping is creating pattern.  If you notice, most of the stamp sets that I have designed for Papertrey contain at least one decorative element that can be used to create pattern.  Also, the recent addition of patterned paper to our product line just makes me giddy.  Creating the designs for this is one of my favorite tasks every month.

What fascinates me about pattern is how the combination of smaller elements builds into an overall pattern.  And the slightest change in the arrangement can give you totally different results.  I dug through my archives and gathered together some different techniques to use when creating pattern.

The small decorative elements included in the various Borders & Corners sets is a good example of pattern building as well.  They are such small stamps, and may not look like much when stamped individually or alone, but once used as a group, they can really become a defining focal point on your project.  This is an example of an image from Borders & Corners Oval specifically.  (you can click HERE for details on the original project) Without the addition of these decorative elements to the scallops of the oval, the card would be really bland.

Creating_zig_zag_pattern Finished_zig_zag_card_2
This fun technique not only allows you utilize your stamps & ink to build a pattern, but also your paper trimmer!  I call this my Zig Zag Strip technique.  By simply cutting your creation into strips and staggering them after building a basic striped pattern at an angle with Faux Ribbon, you can create a really unique & fun look. (You can click HERE for details on the original project.)  This technique would be stunning just done in black & white, or any other color scheme you can dream up for that matter.  (If you have ever had trouble getting Faux Ribbon straight, be sure to check out the tutorial I did HERE!)

081407_spider_paper_2 081407_spooky_spider_tin_4
This pattern shows how you can build a *grid* using Borders & Corners Circle.  (You can click HERE for details on the original project.) This specific project utilizes images from Spooky Sweets to fill the circles and create a customized pattern, but really you could use any kind of images to re-create the same look for any theme or occasion.  I loved the mixture of both images and sentiments.  Having the grid already established with the circles made it fun & easy to go back through and fill-in the blanks.


Borders & Corners Square can be used to easily create custom plaid paper in any of your favorite color schemes.   (you can click HERE for details on the original project, would be a perfect little something for Father’s Day!)   By beginning with some simple pencil lines, this  repetitive pattern is easy to recreate.  I loved how it really uses the squares in a new way since they are used on an angle, almost as you would a diamond.  It is always interesting what you can come up with when you look at your stamps from a different point of view!

This ladybug paper that I made last year is a design I have always been partial to.  (You can click HERE for details on the original project.) One of my favorite details was overlaying the starburst
image from Butterfly Kisses on top of the small flower from Little Lady.  Not only did it help carry through the colors used in the ladybug images, but it also added the perfect detail to keep your eye interested and moving throughout the artwork.

This example uses one of the label images from Sweet Love (you can go HERE for details on the original project).  By just stamping the image side by side, staggering the levels slightly, I was able to reinvent the stamp and create a totally different look other than when it is used solo.  One of my favorite details is the even spacing between each of the label images, allowing for the addition of the white dots.  It is a beautiful detail that helps to unify each of the label images into a continuous pattern.

I challenge you to pull out some stamps that haven’t seen ink yet or that have been neglected for some time, and use one of the above techniques to invent your own unique pattern.  Give yourself permission to play and just have fun!  You never know what you might come up with when you give yourself that kind of creative freedom!  Enjoy!

Nichole Heady

Author Nichole Heady

More posts by Nichole Heady

Join the discussion 24 Comments

  • 1
    Sara says:

    Thanks for a great challenge, and revisiting your wonderful pattern papers.

  • 2
    Merel says:

    Well you’ve got me stamping…creating patterns would be a first for me though… Looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing!


  • 3
    Janet says:

    Love the new blog look, Nichole.

  • 4
    CherylQuilts at SCS says:

    This is so cool…YOU are so cool! This is such an inspiration, and I checked back and found the helpful tip using my Perfect Layers! Cool, Nichole! You are the BEST! TFS!

  • 5
    Janet Smith says:

    The patterned paper you created for the May release was the best ever. It is so gorgeous, keep it coming. Thanks

  • 6
    Jessica says:

    Thanks for this fantastic post! It has some wonderful ideas to change things up!

  • 7
    Andrea says:

    Thanks for the great tips!!


  • 8
    2stampis2b says:

    Great tips! I’m rethinking my inking already!

  • 9
    rieca says:

    My minds a racing with ideas! Thanks for spuring me on!
    Love the new look too!

  • 10
    Libby says:

    This is so funny that you post this today – the day I inked up my Butterfly Kisses for the first time, and used it to create my background paper, first time I’ve tried that too. It’s like you were reading my mind! Now if only I could channel some of your talent to make my projects look as amazing as yours…!! 🙂

  • 11
    Steph says:

    Fun post, Nichole! I can’t wait to get my Honey Bees set and start playing with the honeycomb background pattern, among the other cute stamps!

  • 12
    Danielle says:

    These are all fabulous! That ladybug paper is what made me buy the stamp set! Love how you create backgrounds and patterned paper!

  • 13

    How cute these all are! Your stamps are really versatile. There really is so much that you can do with each of them. One of my favorite things is to create decorative paper with them. It always turns out so beautiful and there is nothing like having that perfect color match for a project. LOVE it all! Thanks so much for all you do! I really love where your products take me! Take care! 🙂

  • 14
    Donelda says:

    Great ideas Nichole. I am totally in love with those little stamps from the Borders & Corners sets. I love to use them to make elements like the one seen on this card.

    I received my copy of Paper Crafts today and I’ve got to say, while I totally understand, I was so sad to hear you will no longer be contributing to the magazine. You were one of the primary reasons I ordered it in the first place.

    Thanks for the inspiration, as always!

  • 15
    Granna on the Go says:

    This is what I love about your sets. There are so many ways to use even the smallest of images!

  • 16

    Oh, what Sweet memories! Thanks for the trip down memory lane 🙂

  • 17

    GREAT TIPS!!! Thanks for taking the time to take pictures and bring us the tutorial! Beautiful card, as well! Gotcha in my faves!

  • 18
    M Fosco says:

    These are great tips – thank you for sharing your talent and ideas. Marta

  • 19
    Dee says:

    Thank you for sharing this..
    This is a wonderful challenge..
    and I love all these great Ideas.
    Can’t wait to play 🙂


  • 20
    Heather Fullerton says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. What a great tutorial. I have lots of ideas now thanks to you. What a great way to `customize` my work. Thanks for sharing.
    Retired Heather

  • 21
    Verda says:

    Your blog always amazes me with all your creativity. This article in particular was great as you referred back to other projects and techniques that I had not gotten to yet. I am fairly new to your products (but already hooked) and blog so I have not gotten through your entire blog yet. It seems each time I sit down to browse I get sidetracked with a great idea and get only a couple of project looked at.

  • 22
    Kim Leach says:

    What neat patterns! Thanks for the mini-lesson/reminder of some of your projects from a pattern angle! Love them all!

    AND I love the new blog header…the colors are beautiful!!
    Kim Marie

  • 23
    elaine says:

    Such great ideas! I’m so bummed I never think of them. Thank goodness I found your website!

  • 24
    Cindy Holshouser says:

    I finally made some patterned paper. I wanted to see how many different stamp sets I could use for my pattern and ended up using 3 PTI sets. Fun!

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