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Plaid Pattern in Illustrator
  • By Design Bundles
  • 08 Nov 2018
  • 16 Mins
  • Illustrator Tutorials

Plaid Pattern in Illustrator

Learn how to make two plaid patterns following this step by step Illustrator tutorial.

This tutorial will show you how to make two different plaid patterns in Illustrator. After reading this tutorial, you’ll be able to make so many different plaid patterns. You see plaid patterns everywhere at all times of the year, but they’re especially popular around the holidays. With this tutorial, you’ll be ready for any occasion.

Plaid Pattern in Illustrator

First, select three to five colors for your plaid. If you’re having difficulty deciding what colors to use, we have some pleasing color palettes available on Design Bundles. We’ll be using a pink (#F7C4BF), salmon pink (#F16661), brown (#4B332E), and light brown (#B17B63).

Step 1 - Create Your Color Palette on the Artboard

Select the Rectangle Tool (M) from the left toolbar. Click + drag while holding Shift to create a small square. Then double-click on the Fill icon near the bottom in the left toolbar to open the Color Picker dialog. Pick the first color in your color palette and click OK.

Create a small square for the first color of the color palette in Illustrator.

Copy (Ctrl/Cmd + C) and Paste (Ctrl/Cmd + V) the small square. With the Selection Tool (V), move the second square next to the first square, and set its Fill color to the second color in your color palette.

Copy and paste the small square and fill the copy with the second color palette color.

Repeat this step for the rest of the colors in your color palette.

Repeat this step for the rest of the colors in the color palette

Step 2 - Create a Square and Fill It With Your Background Color

Select the Rectangle Tool (M) again. Click on the canvas, enter a large number for the width and height, and click OK. We went with 600 px.

Note: you could also create a large square the same way we made the smaller square by clicking and dragging while holding Shift.

Enter a large number for the width and height, then click OK.

Decide which color you want the background to be. With the large square still selected, click the Eyedropper Tool (I), then click the small square containing your background color.

Fill the large square with the background color using the Eyedropper Tool.

Step 3 - Enable Smart Guides

Next, make sure Smart Guides is enabled by going to View > Smart Guides.

Enable Smart Guides in the View dropdown menu.

Step 4 - Fill Square With Horizontal Rectangles and Group Them

Click the Selection Tool (V) and the next color. Then select the Rectangle Tool (M). With the assistance of the Smart Guides, click + drag from one side of the large square to the other to add horizontal rectangles of varying heights. See the following image for a better understanding.

Use the Selection Tool to Select Color and Then Rectangle Tool to Add Rectangles to Square

Repeat this step with the rest of the colors in your color palette.

Repeat this step with the rest of the colors.

Once you’re done creating all the rectangles, select the Selection Tool (V) again, and click + drag over the entire square.

Click and drag over the entire square to select it.

Then right-click and choose Group (Ctrl/Cmd + G).

Right-click and choose Group.

Step 5 - Create Rotated Copy of Group

With the group still selected, go to Object > Transform > Rotate.

Click on Object, Transform, then Rotate

Enter 90° for the Angle and click Copy.

Enter 90 for the Angle and click Copy.

There now is a group with vertical rectangles exactly on top of the group with horizontal rectangles.

A group with vertical rectangles has been created on top of group with horizontal rectangles.

Plaid version 1 consists of solid lines/rectangles. Continue to Step 6 for version 1.

Plaid version 2 consists of lines/rectangles with a woven pattern. Jump ahead to Step 7 for version 2.

Step 6 - Plaid Version 1

Delete Square Background of Top Group

With the Selection Tool (V), double-click on the top group to enter Isolation Mode. Click the square background and press Delete. Then press Escape to exit Isolation Mode.

Double-click on top group to enter Isolation Mode. Delete square background. Press Escape.

You can leave your plaid pattern as is, but we will lower the Opacity of the rectangles to create a slightly more realistic look.

Lower Opacity of All Rectangles

Click on one of the vertical rectangles to select the top group. Lower the Opacity to about 60% in the top toolbar.

Select top group and lower its opacity to about 60% in the top toolbar.

Now double-click on the square background or a horizontal rectangle to enter Isolation Mode for the bottom group. Then select only the horizontal rectangles and lower their opacity to 60%. Press Escape to exit Isolation Mode.

Enter Isolation Mode for the bottom group. Select the horizontal rectangles, lower opacity, and exit

You have completed the first version of the plaid. Jump to Step 8 to create a pattern swatch with the plaid.

Shows plaid version 1.

Step 7 - Plaid Version 2

This step continues from Step 5. Continuing from Step 6 will not work.

Create Woven Lines

Hide Bottom Group

In the Layers panel, click the eye icon of the bottom group to hide it.

Click eye icon of bottom group in Layers panel to hide group layers.

Enable Smart Guides and Snap to Point

Make sure Smart Guides and Snap to Point are enabled in the View dropdown menu. Disable any other snapping options.

Enable Smart Guides and Snap to Point in the View dropdown menu.

Create a Long Thin Rectangle

Create a long thin vertical rectangle with a length/height that’s double the width of the square. Click Transform in the top toolbar to edit the height. Set the Fill color to a color that’s not part of your color palette. Because our square is 600px, our long thin rectangle is 1200 px tall, and we filled it with black.

Create a long thin vertical rectangle filled with a new color.

Rotate Thin Rectangle

Go to Object > Transform > Rotate with the thin rectangle still selected.

Click Object, Transform, and then Rotate.

Enter 45° and click OK.

Enter 45 for the Angle and click OK in Illustrator

Align Center of Long Rectangle to the Top Right Corner Point

Zoom in and using the Selection Tool (V), click + drag the long rectangle to the top right corner of the square. Line up the exact center of the long rectangle to the top right corner’s point. You will know the long rectangle is in place when you see the word “Intersect” with hot pink lines running along the square sides. See the following image for a better understanding.

Zoom in and align the center of the long rectangle to the top right corner's point.

Duplicate and Align the Long Rectangle

Copy (Ctrl/Cmd + C) and Paste (Ctrl/Cmd + V) the long rectangle. This time, align the center of the long rectangle copy to the bottom left corner’s point. You should now have a long rectangle at the top right corner and one at the bottom left corner.

Duplicate the long rectangle, and align it to the bottom left corner's point.

Make Blend

Select both long rectangles and go to Object > Blend > Make.

With both long rectangles selected, click on Object, Blend, then Make in Illustrator.

This will create a third long rectangle in the middle of the other two.

A third long rectangle is created in the middle of the other two long rectangles.

Enable and Set Blend Options

Without deselecting, go to Object > Blend > Blend Options.

Click on Object, Blend, then Blend Options in Illustrator.

In the Blend Options dialog, select Specified Steps for Spacing and enable the Preview.

Select Specified Steps and enable Preview in the Blend Options dialog in Illustrator.

Then click the input box for the number of specified steps. Using the up arrow key, increase the number. We want the spaces to be the same width as the long rectangles. The number you pick must be an odd number. Click OK when you’re happy with how the diagonal lines look. We stopped at 69.Click steps number and increase using up arrow key to create more long rectangles.

Expand Blend

Now go to Object > Blend > Expand to turn the lines into vector shapes.

Click Object, Blend, then Expand.

Divide Long Rectangles and Vertical Rectangles, Then Ungroup

Select the set of long rectangles and the group with the vertical rectangles. Then go to Window > Pathfinder to open the Pathfinder panel.

Select long rectangles and vertical rectangles group. Click Window and then Pathfinder.

In the Pathfinder panel, click the Divide function.

Click the Divide function in the Pathfinder panel in Illustrator.

Before deselecting, right-click and choose Ungroup (Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + G).

Right-click and choose Ungroup

Select Original Long Rectangles Outside of Square and Delete

Click outside the shapes to Deselect (Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + A) everything. Then click on part of a long rectangle outside the large square. Then go to Select > Same > Fill Color and press Delete.

Select a long rectangle piece. Click Select, Same, Fill Color, and then press Delete.

Group All Pieces Left Over From Divide Function

Select all the shapes left over from using the Divide function, right-click, and choose Group.

Select all shapes left over, right-click, and choose Group.

Show Bottom Group

Go to the Layers panel and show the bottom group again by clicking the empty square where the eye icon was previously.

Click far left empty square in Layers panel for bottom group to show group again.

Our completed plaid version 2 is shown below.

Completed plaid version 2 is shown.

Next, we will make a pattern swatch with the plaid so that you can use it over and over.

Step 8 - Create the Pattern Swatch

Open the Swatches panel by going to Window > Swatches. Next, using the Selection Tool (V), click + drag over the entire large square to select the plaid.

Click Window and then Swatches to open Swatches panel in Illustrator. Select plaid pattern.

Then drag + drop the selection into the Swatches panel.

Plaid Pattern in Illustrator 41

Step 9 - Save Swatches

Save the swatches to use the plaid pattern swatch in other documents. Click the Swatch Libraries menu icon at the bottom left corner of the Swatches panel and choose Save Swatches.

Click Swatch Libraries menu icon in Swatches panel to save swatches in Illustrator.

Now you can load the saved swatches into any Illustrator document and fill vector objects with the plaid pattern you created!

Fill any vector object with the plaid pattern swatch in Illustrator.

For more information on resizing a pattern, take a look at our tutorial on making seamless patterns in Illustrator.

You can also learn how to make a plaid pattern in Photoshop, but if that doesn't interest you, maybe you’d like to create a honeycomb pattern or a seamless quatrefoil pattern in Illustrator.

6 Related Illustrator Tutorials

Today, we will go over how to make a plaid pattern in Photoshop. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll be able to make so many different plaid patterns to use on cards, wrapping paper, home decor, social media posts, sublimation designs, and so much more!For this tutorial, ...

1- Open Ai.2- Open a new Document.3-Select File > Place to select your image to create a pattern with.4- A new window will appear. Select the image you would like and click Place.5- Select the image. (ctrl A)6- We now need to use the pattern ...

 For this tutorial, you will need a Color Palette to use with the Pattern and some Vectors of a subject you like to apply the “Pattern” to.1 - In Illustrator, create a “New Document”.2 - If your “Page Rulers” are not active, go to View > Rulers > Show Rulers (...

Making a seamless quatrefoil pattern in Illustrator is easy to do. Once you've created the pattern, you can modify it in multiple ways to create different styles. Seamless quatrefoil patterns look great on decor items, or you can also use them as a background in your designs.Although a seamless ...

Creating a honeycomb pattern in Illustrator can be a bit time consuming, but you can achieve stunning results with simple techniques. And when you are done, you can use it as a phone or desktop wallpaper, as a text effect, or combine it with text to create unique sublimation designs....

For this tutorial you may want to get a Color Palette as reference.1 - In Photoshop create a “New Document”, make it 15 Centimeters in “Width” and “Height” @300 Pixels/Inch and with a “Transparent” Background.2 - Go to Filter > Render > Clouds...3 - Then, go to Adjustments > Threshold… and ...

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