Creating seamlessly repeating patterns
3RD OR 4TH UP TO ADULT.
paper--thin enough for tracing (typing paper, freezer paper, shelf paper, etc......)
black felt tip pen
Establish purpose of project (see extensions) which will determine the size and type of paper needed.
In general, provide 2 sheets per student (plus extras, of course).
Students may do the preliminary folding and cutting or you can precut 6" x 6" pieces to go with 12" x 18" drawing paper, for example. Use the half sheet created in step one for testing the effect of the repeat.
- (Optional for students) Fold first sheet carefully in half. Cut apart on fold lines. Fold one of the halves into fourths and cut apart. The design will be created in this small segment or "tile" and traced as a repeat on the larger sheet later.
- (Optional ) Fold one of the tiles into 16ths to provide guide lines. Hint: fold in half one way; unfold, then fold in half the other way. Unfold and then fold edges into center for greater accuracy. EXAMPLE
- In the center of the tile, draw a design which fits into a little more than half the space, but does not touch the edges. If you folded guide lines, the design should extend slightly beyond the fold lines. EXAMPLE
- Lay the tile face down. Fold one edge up and toward the center, using the fold line or until a small part of the design shows at the fold. Fold the opposite side in to meet the first edge near the center. This should create a seam line without a gap if you have folded carefully.
- Draw "connectors" ACROSS the seam line. A connector is a secondary part of your design which will carry the pattern into the next repeat. For example, if you started with flowers as your central motif, the connector could be leaves, vines, small flowers, trellis,etc... You are limited here only by your imagination.
- Unfold and repeat steps 4 and 5 with the other two sides. Fill in with connectors across the new seam line as needed.
- Ink the lines with a fine tipped black pen for easier tracing. You can simplify as you ink if you wish. Erase unneeded lines.
- Test your tile by tracing it into the corner of the half sheet and trace all or part of the tile where it joins on 2 sides and the corner.
If changes are needed refold the tile and add them.
- Trace your tile across the large project paper. Add color as needed, but these are also effective in black and white.
- Design ideas;
- Any type of design will work for this project--sports symbols or figures, landscapes, still lifes, abstract shapes. You may wish to study wallpaper, fabrics, wrapping paper or other pattern sources to get a sense of the scope of possibilities.
- Use as wrapping paper, book covers, gift bags (take a small paper sack apart as a pattern for size, shape and fold lines); bulletin board backgrounds, T-shirt decoration, etc.
- Variation: Create border designs (shelf paper, adding machine tape) that tile only side to side (steps 4 & 5) or top to bottom.
- Variation 2: Create a mural. Reverse the process. Give each student a template (e.g.a tiling vine a la rain forest) and they add the details which stay inside their tile. Example.
- Variation 3: Create a panoramic landscape in cut paper--blue background + "ground" with tiling marks for matching at the side--they can cut the landscape horizon as desired in between, and add buildings, etc.. EXAMPLE
Note: For younger students, keep designs simple and repeats limited. If time is short, you may wish to let them start with a stencil and embellish the design as a tile. Keep number of repeats to 4, although a 3 x 3 repeat is needed to see the full effect of the design. Remind them that they will have to copy their design several times and should keep it simple.
uses for tiling (architecture, fashion, home decorating)
other cultures ( William Morris; batik, kente, etc..)
compare man-made vs. natural