Word Cloud or Word Collage patterns are popular for a variety of uses. I thought I might try my hand at creating my own seamless word collage pattern using Adobe Illustrator — I’ll be using it to make Holiday cards, craft projects, wrapping paper and more. Since the bows I drew are bright, I decided a dark background would show them to their best advantage. I chose a nice pine-tree green as my base color, and a theme of Christmas words.

Choosing a Color & Theme:

The word block is like a puzzle, so choose your holiday words based upon what shapes they create and how those shapes will fit into the overall puzzle. Choose your colors according to the holiday or theme you would like to highlight. When assembling your word puzzle you will need to experiment with fonts, colors, effects, transparencies, transparency effects and rotations to get a variety of styles and to fit the puzzle together. Here are the steps used to create the Christmas Holiday Word Collage pictured above:

Laying Out the Base Background:

Create a rectangular artboard in Illustrator. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to fill the artboard with a rectangular shape in a dark yellow-green, Hex #003300, no stroke.  Use the Mesh Tool (U) to add 4 mesh points of lighter green, Hex #035603, to the center of the rectangle. Label the layer “Background” and then lock it.


Building the Word Block:

Create a new layer above the Background layer, and label it “Word Block.”

Type “Believe!” in a light green (Hex #009444) using the font Lust Script. Reduce the transparency to 35%. From the Effects menu choose Stylize > Inner Glow:


Move “Believe” to the top left corner.

Next, type “Happy Holidays” using the font Phosphate using another Hex color #038c17.  While the type is still highlighted, choose “Multiply” and “66% opacity” from the Transparency Panel. Rotate 90 degrees to the right and place next to the first word.



Continue to add words to the puzzle. Type “Ho Ho Ho” in Cooper Black font. Draw oversized exclamation points using the pen tool on either side of “Ho Ho Ho,” group the type and exclamation points together, and give them a color of Hex #58C441, a white stroke, an opacity of14%, and a transparency effect of screen.

Type “Feliz Navidad” using the font Lucida Blackletter, Hex color #009444, opacity of 74%, and a transparency effect of multiply. Align right to fit the space.

Type “‘Tis the Season” in a staggered spacing, using same colors and effects as “Ho Ho Ho.”

There may be gaps in the design which could be filled in with more words, but for this design we will fill in with images of pine trees.

Use the Shapes Tool in Photoshop to draw a tree shape using Hex color# 009505. Select the tree shape and cut from Photoshop, paste into the Illustrator Word Block design. Duplicate the tree within Illustrator to fill in the rest of the gaps.  Select and group all the trees. Give them an opacity of 100% and a transparency effect of multiply. The result with trees and words should look something like this:



When all the puzzle pieces are in place, group them together, move them off the artboard (and onto the pasteboard) then lock their layer. Create a new layer between the Background layer and the Word Block layer:


Adding Texture with a Snowflakes Layer:

To add some texture and additional interest to the design, put a subtle layer of snowflakes in between the Word Block and the Background.

Rename the middle (unlocked) layer “Snowflakes.”

In Photoshop, use the Custom Shapes Tool draw two different types of snowflakes using Hex color #0b8a14. Select each and individually copy from Photoshop then paste into the Snowflake Layer in Illustrator. Make many duplicates of each snowflake (option drag works well) and arrange them artfully above the Background Layer. When you’re happy with the arrangement of the snowflakes, group them all together.



Make a duplicate of the first set of snowflakes and pull it off the artboard to be used in the next step. For the snowflakes remaining above the background layer, set their transparency to 20%:



Bring the second set snowflakes back to the artboard, rotate the entire group 90 degrees, and set their transparency effect to multiply, opacity 25%. Use the group selection tool (the white arrow with the plus sign) to bring stars back onto the artboard and re-arrange the snowflakes as necessary. When you are satisfied with the arrangement, lock the “Snowflakes” Layer.



Assembling the Blocks into a Larger Pattern:

Unlock the “Word Block” layer, and move the words back over the background layer and 2 snowflake layers:



Create a new top layer and name it “Grouped.” Unlock the lower three layers and select all contents of each layer (use the black arrow tool to draw a rectangle around the entire artboard.) Then copy (cmd-c) and paste in place (shift-cmd-v) all contents into the new top layer. While the contents are still selected, group them together. Lock and turn off the visibility for the lower three layers.

On the “Grouped” layer, copy the new group four more times and arrange in a staggered formation – 2 on top, 3 on the bottom.



Align the edges of the blocks to form a continuous pattern.


Clip to a Useable Format with a Repeating Pattern:

Group all the blocks into one larger block. Use a clipping mask to cut off the lower extended edges. Start by covering the area to be preserved with a rectangle/square.


Select the square and the blocks group below it, and from the Illustrator menu choose Object > Clipping Mask > Make. Your design should now look like this:



This bigger block can now be used as a seamless pattern piece.


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Please leave a comment and send me pictures of what you have created with this tutorial. I’ll post as many as I can.