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How to create tessellations

Here’s an easy way to create a fun, unusual image. Images such as these are called a tessellations.

Here’s the end result of the tessellation we’ll be using as an example.

example of a tessellation.

Select an image to create your tile

It’s a good idea to select an image that will come close to filling a square or a rectangle. This makes the result more interesting, and makes it easier to line up your tiles while you’re working. If your image doesn’t (almost) fill the background, you can simply add a background image.

Then, box the image. Whether you use a square or a rectangle doesn’t matter, but the corners have to be square.


Cut out odd shaped ares

I used the Free Form Selection tool in MS Paint to cut out the shapes.

Start at the top and pick out a large area. Be sure to start fairly close to the left edge and end close to the right. Once you’ve selected an area, use the up arrow key to move the cutout straight up.

The do the same thing and make a cutout on the right-hand side. Don’t overlap with the existing cutout or your drawing may end up not looking as nice as you’d like. Use the arrow keys to drag that selection all the way to the right.

Cut odd shaped areas out of your drawing, from the top and right-hand sides. Then use the arrow keys to move the cutouts to the top and right, respectively.

Add some color, and then create your tile

Add or change colors to make your image more interesting.

Then drag the cutout from the top to the bottom of the image and line up the edges. Again, be sure to use the arrow keys. If you don’t drag the image down in a perfectly straight line, your tiles won’t match up.

Do the same with the cutout from the right.

Add some color to the image. Then drag the top cutout to the bottom, and the right cutout to the left. Be sure to line these cutouts perfectly.

Put your tessellating image together

Use copy and paste, and the arrow keys, to put your image together like a jigsaw puzzle. In the end, you may want to square up your image. I didn’t do that myself to make it easier to see how everything fits together.

Copy and paste your image, then use the arrow keys to put the final piece together. It works like a jigsaw puzzle, except all the pieces are the same shape and size. Everything should fit together quite easily.

Here are some good links to help you make nice tessellations

The original image came from Pixabay. They have a lot of great, free images there.

Here are some helpful youtube videos on how to create tessellations.

How to create tessellations: an infographic


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Article by Mike Turco.
Contact: mike (at) miketurco.com
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