What’s for Dinner? How to Create a Half-drop Repeat in Illustrator

In this earlier post I showed how easy it is to create a seamless repeat in Illustrator.  Using a design I created for another contest on Spoonflower, I’ll show how quickly a design can be converted to a half-drop repeat.

First, here’s a comparison of a straight repeat (on the left) and a half-drop repeat (on the right).  The diagonal movement in the half-drop repeat is created by shifting each repeat unit (one star in the example)  vertically by 50 percent compared to its neighbor.


I created a design in Illustrator for the Retro Kitchen contest on Spoonflower.  This contest had a requirement to use only 4 specific colors (plus white).  These are the 4 colors — definitely not my normal palette (beige and brown???), but I figured I’d work with them.

This is the design I created — it kind of reminds me of the wallpaper we used to have in our kitchen when I was a kid.

And here’s what it looks like as a straight repeat.


I thought it might look better as a half-drop repeat.  The steps to do that in Illustrator are as follows.

Edit the Artboard size to be twice as wide as it is for the straight repeat. The command is File==> Document Setup; then choose the Edit Artboards button.  This brings up the screen below–type in the new width of the artboard.

Make sure your design takes up the left half of the artboard (as shown above).  Select all the items in your design (Select==> All), copy them (Edit==> Copy), and then paste them in place (Edit==> Paste in Place).  Now it’s time to move the copy over to the right side of the artboard and offset it 50% from the original design.  Do this with the command Object==> Transform==> Move.  In the pop-up box (shown here) enter the width of your original design in the horizontal box, and enter minus half the original height in the vertical box.  The ‘ minus’ in the vertical box moves the design up rather than down.  My example design was 16 inches wide by 16 inches high, so I moved it 16 inches horizontally, and -8 inches vertically.  This will give you a design something like this.

Next, I need to copy the original design again and then shift it to the right and down.  Following the same steps as above, I shift the copy 16 inches horizontally and +8 inches vertically.  This completes the half drop pattern:

With this particular design, I decided to shift the drop to be a bit more than 50% in order to get the diagonal lines to flow.  Here’s my final pattern.

And here it is in repeat.


And here’s a comparison of the straight repeat (on the top) and the half-drop on the bottom.


You can see the fabric here at Spoonflower.

Every Generation laughs at the old fashions, but religiously follows the new.   –Henry David Thoreau

Eddie Haskell: Gee, your kitchen always looks so clean.
June Cleaver: Why, thank you, Eddie.
Eddie Haskell: My mother says it looks as though you never do any work in here.   From Leave it to Beaver, 1950s TV show

2 thoughts on “What’s for Dinner? How to Create a Half-drop Repeat in Illustrator

  1. Pingback: Fashion Flats and Half Drops in Adobe Illustrator | Dance Bomb Fashion

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