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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe Illustrator

How to Design a Retro 60s Flower Pattern

Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to design a 60s-inspired retro pattern design and create different color versions of it, using Adobe Illustrator.

Rewind to the 60s era of 'Flower Power' and freedom. The 'Flower Power' generation had a very distinct decor style. The mood of the decade was vibrant, bright, and wild, influenced by the hippie movement and psychedelia. The 60s were an astonishing time for artists and designers to dip their artistic creativity into experimental styles with dazzling floral patterns, pop art motifs, and psychedelia thrown into the art scene mix.

Art was basically reduced to its essential form, and it resulted in artwork that was flat, crisp, and infused with bright colors and bold graphics. Designers also experimented with mind-bending optical tricks, distortion, and artforms with fluid swirls and warps.

If you would like to save time, you can always head over to Envato Elements, where you can find a great selection of retro designs to choose from. Check out this retro flower background pattern or find another one that fits your needs.

seamless retro 60s flower flat pattern graphic envato elements seamless retro 60s flower flat pattern graphic envato elements seamless retro 60s flower flat pattern graphic envato elements

And if you prefer video tutorials, check out the Envato Tuts+ YouTube Channel to find awesome videos like this:

What You Will Learn in This 60s-Inspired Pattern Design Tutorial

  • How to design retro flowers using basic Illustrator tools and effects
  • How to create a seamless retro floral pattern
  • How to develop other color variations of a pattern
  • How to create a hanging curtain mockup on the Placeit mockup generator

1. How to Set Up a New Document

Use the Command-N shortcut to create a New Document.

In the Preset Details, select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, and set the Width to 1200 px and Height to 2400 px. Title the file '60s Flower Pattern MultiColor'. Set the Artboard to 1, and Color Mode to CMYK, with Raster Effects set to High (300ppi), and then click the Create button.

set up new document on adobe Illustrator using Presetsset up new document on adobe Illustrator using Presetsset up new document on adobe Illustrator using Presets

2. How to Generate Different 60s-Inspired Color Palettes

The 1960s color palette first started out with nature-inspired colors like yellow, orange, and avocado green, and then the decade went into full bloom with vibrant hues of reds, fuchsia pinks, and tangerine orange and later developed into wilder, bright neon-like colors. Some common color tones that were used in the 60s include:

  • Greens: Pea Green, Olive, Drab
  • Reds: Burnt Sienna, Rust, Pink
  • Yellows: Maize, Daisy, Sunflower
  • Blues: Ultramarine, Celtic, Cerulean Blue
  • Oranges: Saffron, Peach, Tangerine, Harvest Gold
  • Psychedelic Colors: Hot Pink, Bright Yellow, Lime Green, Sky Blue

To find some inspiration for 1960s color palettes, look for color scheme generators online. Choose an appealing color palette and either manually input the color builds onto Illustrator or upload it to your Swatches panel (Window > Swatches).

Here are a few 60s-inspired color palette selections for this tutorial (from left to right):

  • #C6371F
  • #D06728
  • #AC5822
  • #D88425
  • #E5AB3A
  • #F0C93C
  • #CCD664
  • #A5B244
  • #339E90
  • #9FCCCB
  • #157F7F
  • #C62863
  • #CE5B80
  • #D8889C
Preview of color palette upload to Window Swatches panel manuallyPreview of color palette upload to Window Swatches panel manuallyPreview of color palette upload to Window Swatches panel manually
Preview of uploaded 60s color palette

3. How to Design 1960s Flowers

Designers of the era began to embrace the symbolism of flowers in fabrics, textiles, and design as a part of the free love, psychedelic movement. The designs of the 60s were mostly geometric and consisted of simple floral artwork.

The pattern style can be characterized as being very cheerful, colorful, bold, and light. The florals were mainly large and geometric, and they featured stylized graphics. As for the colors, most floral prints were saturated in hues of red, purple, and hot pink, and complemented with vibrant hues of bright greens, oranges, and ultramarine blue.

Step 1

Let's start creating some 1960s flowers for our 60s floral design pattern. We will create six flower sets for this pattern and add some decorative elements.

For the first flower, grab the Ellipse Tool (L) and open the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke). Select Cap: Round Cap and Corner: Round Join. Set the Stroke and Fill color to #339E90, Stroke to 129 pt, check the Dashed Line box, and set the dash to 0 pt and gap to 129 pt.

Hold down the Shift-Alt keys to constrain the size, and create an ellipse of about 330 px.

use ellipse tool L Shortcut and create an Ellipse use ellipse tool L Shortcut and create an Ellipse use ellipse tool L Shortcut and create an Ellipse

Step 2

Next, we will expand the path: Object > Path > Expand. Then Object > Expand Appearance which will open the Expand dialog box.

Make sure Fill and Stroke are ticked and click OK.

Open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder). Apply Shape Modes: Unite to unify the selected objects into a single shape.

object expand expand appearance then from pathfinder apply a Unite shape Modeobject expand expand appearance then from pathfinder apply a Unite shape Modeobject expand expand appearance then from pathfinder apply a Unite shape Mode

Step 3

Use the Selection Tool (V) to select the flower shape. Hold down the Shift-Alt keys to constrain the movement, and duplicate the selection by dragging the cursor down. Open the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) and apply a #157F7F color and a 3 pt Oval brush at 2 pt Stroke Weight to the duplicated shape.

Then with the Selection Tool (V) drag the outline over the original shape, and use the Rotate Tool (R) to give it a slight turn.

duplicate shape and apply brushe border over flower shapeduplicate shape and apply brushe border over flower shapeduplicate shape and apply brushe border over flower shape

Step 4

Now let's create the flower pistil. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and with a Stroke and Fill color of #F0C93C, create a 103 px ellipse with the Stroke set to 81 pt. Tick the Dashed Line box and set the dash to 0 pt and gap to 81 pt.

Then create another ellipse with a Stroke and Fill color of #E5AB3A, Stroke set to 44.91 pt, and set the dash to 0 pt and gap to 44.91 pt.

With the Selection Tool (V), manually move both floral elements to the inside of the larger petal shape.

Our first flower is done. Let's create a couple more!

create flower petals using dash gap from stroke panelcreate flower petals using dash gap from stroke panelcreate flower petals using dash gap from stroke panel
create flower petals using dash gap from stroke panelcreate flower petals using dash gap from stroke panelcreate flower petals using dash gap from stroke panel

Step 5

For our next flower, take the Ellipse Tool (L), and apply a 2 pt Stroke with a white Fill and a Stroke color of #F0C93C. Apply a 3 pt Oval brush from the Brushes panel. Then Object > Path > Add Anchor Points, and Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat... set at 51%.

use ellipse tool and effect pucker and bloat to create a floral patternuse ellipse tool and effect pucker and bloat to create a floral patternuse ellipse tool and effect pucker and bloat to create a floral pattern

Step 6

For the inside of the flower, take the Ellipse Tool (L) and with a Stroke and Fill color of #A5B244, create a 55 px ellipse with the Stroke set to 34.8 pt. Tick the Dashed Line box and set the dash to 0 pt and gap to 34.8 pt.

Then move the new shape to the center of the flower petals. The second flower is ready.

create flower using ellipse stroke dash and gap create flower using ellipse stroke dash and gap create flower using ellipse stroke dash and gap

Step 7

Let's move on to create the third flower. From the Tools menu, click and hold the rectangle tool to find the Polygon Tool.

Click once on the artboard to open the Polygon dialog box, set the Radius to about 260 px, Sides to 5, and click OK.

With a null Stroke and Fill color of #D88425, apply a Pucker & Bloat effect. Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat... set to 95%.

use polygon tool and pucker and bloat to create flower petalsuse polygon tool and pucker and bloat to create flower petalsuse polygon tool and pucker and bloat to create flower petals

Step 8

With the petal shape selected, Copy (Command-C) and Paste to Front (Command-F), and apply a null Fill and 1 pt Stroke color of #F0C93C.

Then take the Ellipse Tool (L) with a Fill color of #F0C93C and draw a small ellipse of 55 px on the inside of the flower.

Step 9

Move on to create petals for flower number four. Take the Ellipse Tool (L).

From the Stroke panel, set the Stroke to 103.5 pt, Cap: Round Cap and Corner: Round Join, and set the Stroke and Fill color to #F0C93C. Check the Dashed Line box and set the dash to 0 pt and gap to 103.6 pt.

Then change the Ellipse Tool settings to a null Stroke and a Fill color of #D88425, and draw an ellipse of 136 px inside the flower.

use ellipse tool to draw flower petals and inside pistil using dash and gapuse ellipse tool to draw flower petals and inside pistil using dash and gapuse ellipse tool to draw flower petals and inside pistil using dash and gap

Step 10

Let's add a scallop decoration to the inside of the flower. With the inside pistil shape selected, Copy (Command-C) and Paste to Front (Command-F).

Hold down the Shift-Alt keys to constrain the size, and scale up the shape slightly. Apply a null Fill, 2.4 pt Stroke with a Stroke color of #339E90, and a 3 pt Oval brush at 2.4 pt Stroke Weight.

Object > Path > Add Anchor Points twice, and then Object > Path > Add Anchor Points, and Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat... set at 14%.

create scallop decoratipn to inside pistil of flower using pucker bloat create scallop decoratipn to inside pistil of flower using pucker bloat create scallop decoratipn to inside pistil of flower using pucker bloat

Step 11

Now, for the creation of the fifth flower, take the Polygon Tool.

Click once on the artboard to open the Polygon dialog box, setting the Radius to about 273 px, Sides to 7, and OK.

Apply a 3 pt Oval brush at 2 pt Stroke Weight, with a #A5B244 Fill and a Stroke color of #339E90.

Object > Path > Add Anchor Points to the polygon shape, and apply an Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat... set at 95%.

creating 5th flower using add anchor points,  polygon tool and pucker and bloatcreating 5th flower using add anchor points,  polygon tool and pucker and bloatcreating 5th flower using add anchor points,  polygon tool and pucker and bloat

Step 12

Take the Polygon Tool. Click once on the artboard to open the Polygon dialog box, and set the Radius to about 205 px, Sides to 7, and OK.

Apply a 3 pt Oval brush at 2 pt Stroke Weight, with a #A5B244 Fill and a Stroke color of #339E90.

Apply an Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat... set at 95%, and use the Selection Tool (V) to manually place the flower inside the bigger flower petals.

Then with Ellipse Tool setting to a null Stroke and a Fill color of #F2CC22 and draw a small ellipse of about 44 px inside the flower. It should look similar to the image below.

use polygon tool and ucker and bloat to create inside floweruse polygon tool and ucker and bloat to create inside floweruse polygon tool and ucker and bloat to create inside flower

Step 13

For the final flower set, grab the Polygon Tool. Open the Polygon dialog box, and set the Radius to about 295 px, Sides to 6, and click OK. Apply a null Stroke and a Fill color of #D06728.

Apply an Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat... set at 95%, and click OK.

use polygon tool dialog box to set radius and sides then pucker and bloatuse polygon tool dialog box to set radius and sides then pucker and bloatuse polygon tool dialog box to set radius and sides then pucker and bloat

Step 14

Select the petal shape and Copy (Command-C) and Paste to Front (Command-F). Scale the shape down while holding down the Shift-Alt keys to constrain the size, and apply a pink Fill color of #D88586.

Then Copy (Command-C) and Paste to Front (Command-F) the selected shape. Apply a Stroke color of #C6371F, with a 3 pt Oval brush and a 1 pt Stroke Weight.

Take the Rotate Tool (R) to slightly turn the shape.

Step 15

For the inside of the flower, take the Ellipse Tool (L) and apply a Stroke and Fill color of #F0C93C, with the Stroke set to 34.8 pt.

From the Stroke panel, make sure the Dashed Line box is checked and set the dash to 0 pt and gap to 34.8 pt, and create a 55 px ellipse. Using the Selection Tool (V), move the little yellow flower to the center of this flower group.

Step 16

By now, you should have six flower sets. Before we group them each, we will create simple flower outlines to use for our pattern decoration.

Take the Selection Tool (V) to select the border flower shape from each flower. Hold down the Shift-Alt keys to constrain movement, and duplicate the selection by dragging the cursor down. I selected four out of six flowers to use.

Remove the Fill color, and change the border colors if you would like. Then Group (Command-G) each flower set together.

6 flower sets duplicate flower borders and group sets 6 flower sets duplicate flower borders and group sets 6 flower sets duplicate flower borders and group sets

4. How to Create a Retro Flower Pattern

Step 1

Now let's create our 60s floral pattern. Take the Selection Tool (V) and manually move and organize the flowers into a group that looks pleasant.

Feel free to scale or rotate the elements using the Rotate Tool (R).

take selection tool to organize and rotate flowers in grouptake selection tool to organize and rotate flowers in grouptake selection tool to organize and rotate flowers in group

Step 2

Select All (Command-A). Object > Pattern > Make, to create the 60s floral pattern. In the Pattern Options menu, set the following options:

  • Name: Pattern 1
  • File Type: Hex by Row
  • Width: 960 px
  • Height: 969 px
  • Copies: 9 x 9
  • Click Done on top to exit the Pattern Mode

You can move the elements around to fit the hexagon. Now you have created a seamless repeating pattern.

object create pattern make effect and adjust settingsobject create pattern make effect and adjust settingsobject create pattern make effect and adjust settings

Step 3

The retro floral pattern swatch will appear automatically in the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches).

Once the 60s floral pattern swatch is created, you can select and Hide the shape groups we created on the artboard by going to Object > Hide > Selection through the shortcut Command-3.

Our pattern does not have a background color. We will create that separately.

Open the Layers panel (Window > Layers). Rename 'Layer 1' to 'BACKGROUNDS'. Then click the Create New Layer icon, and name the new layer 'PATTERNS'.

create 60s floral pattern and open layers panel to create backgroundcreate 60s floral pattern and open layers panel to create backgroundcreate 60s floral pattern and open layers panel to create background

Step 4

Now let's set our background color.

Make sure you are working on the 'BACKGROUNDS' layer. Grab the Rectangle Tool (M), with the #51ACBD color Fill selected, and null Stroke. Click once on the artboard to open the Rectangle dialog box, and set the Width to 1200 px and Height to 2400 px.

Open the Align panel (Window > Align). Make sure Align to Artboard is selected and click Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center.

create background and set color and align to artboardcreate background and set color and align to artboardcreate background and set color and align to artboard

Step 5

Next, let's move on to the 'PATTERNS' layer in the Layers panel.

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), and select our 'Pattern 1' as the Fill. Click once on the artboard to open the Rectangle dialog box, and set the Width to 1200 px and Height to 2400 px.

Then click Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center.

We have created our first 60s pattern design, and it works beautifully for the 60s retro flower background. We will move on to create color variations of the pattern design.

apply pattern on rectangle created and align to artboardapply pattern on rectangle created and align to artboardapply pattern on rectangle created and align to artboard

5. How to Create Color Variations of the 60s Floral Pattern

Step 1

Moving on, let's duplicate the artboard, with its layers, to create three more color versions of the 60s pattern. Open the Artboard panel (Window > Artboards). From the drop-down menu, select Duplicate Artboards. Repeat, twice more, till you have four artboards.

duplicate artboards from artboard panel menu duplicate artboards from artboard panel menu duplicate artboards from artboard panel menu

Step 2

Next, let's Lock the 'PATTERNS' layer from the Layers panel. We will change the background colors to create different pattern colors.

Grab the Selection Tool (V) to select the second background shape and change the color Fill to #3C1818. Then change the third background color Fill to #F4DD38 and the fourth background to a color Fill of #B21C1D.

four different pattern designs changing background colorfour different pattern designs changing background colorfour different pattern designs changing background color
four 60s floral patterns artboards on Adobe Illustratorfour 60s floral patterns artboards on Adobe Illustratorfour 60s floral patterns artboards on Adobe Illustrator

6. How to Create a 60s Curtain Fabric Mockup on Placeit

Step 1

Now let's test our lovely pattern designs with Placeit's mockup generator. If you would like to try it out, head over to Placeit, and under Mockups search for 'curtain'.

placeit mockup generator to test 60s patternplaceit mockup generator to test 60s patternplaceit mockup generator to test 60s pattern

Step 2

Let's export our files from Illustrator. File > Export > Export As. Select where you would like to save your files, set Format to JPEG, make sure Use Artboards is checked, and Export.

The JPEG Options dialog box will open up. Set the Resolution to Medium 150 ppi, and click OK.

Export files as JPG and use artboard Export files as JPG and use artboard Export files as JPG and use artboard

Step 3

Now all you have to do is head over to Placeit and choose the mockup you'd like to test your pattern on. I chose a curtain mockup hanging on a brick wall.

Just upload the left and right designs and viola!! We've created a cool mockup, where we can see our pattern designs in action. Try it out on different mockups.

Picture of hanging curtain on wall mockupPicture of hanging curtain on wall mockupPicture of hanging curtain on wall mockup

Groovy Floral Patterns! You're Done!

I hope you enjoyed creating a 60s flower pattern and applying different-colored versions of that pattern to your artboards. Feel free to adjust the colors of the final designs as you like.

You can find some amazing sources of inspiration at Envato Elements to design things like a 60s flower background, 1960s background patterns, retro flower wallpaper, and more. On top of that, you can test your designs on various kinds of mockup templates from the Placeit mockup generator.

Picture of Placeit Mockup of 60s pattern on curtains on wallPicture of Placeit Mockup of 60s pattern on curtains on wallPicture of Placeit Mockup of 60s pattern on curtains on wall

Looking For More Retro Elements?

There are loads of 60s background patterns, psychedelic 60s flower patterns, retro flower patterns, and fonts available on Envato Elements. Take a look!

Nicky Retro Italic Serif (OTF)

Here's a soft and bold italic serif that works well for a 1960s theme. This font will make your project look retro and will go well with a poster, event, or social media post.

nicky reto italic soft bold style for 1960s feel on envato elementsnicky reto italic soft bold style for 1960s feel on envato elementsnicky reto italic soft bold style for 1960s feel on envato elements

Kango Retro Font (OTF, TTF, WOFF)

Kango is a modern-style font with a vintage feel. The font is made with beautiful curves, which makes it perfect for branding logos, greeting cards, titles, packaging, and more.

kango retro style font on envato elements withmodern vintage feel otf ttf woffkango retro style font on envato elements withmodern vintage feel otf ttf woffkango retro style font on envato elements withmodern vintage feel otf ttf woff

60s Retro Floral Pattern (EPS, AI)

Rewind to the 60s with this seamless 60s flower design pattern. This pattern can be used for anything from stationery to fabrics, 60s flower backgrounds, retro flower wallpaper, and more.

60s retro floral pattern on Envato Elements60s retro floral pattern on Envato Elements60s retro floral pattern on Envato Elements

Retro 60s-70s Backgrounds (JPG)

Here are six JPG retro paper backgrounds with 60s and 70s groovy hippie vibes.

6 retro jpg textures with vintage retro art style on Envato elements6 retro jpg textures with vintage retro art style on Envato elements6 retro jpg textures with vintage retro art style on Envato elements

Retro Vibes 70s Clipart (AI, EPS, PNG)

This collection of 43 retro clipart and groovy icons will be super cute and handy if you are creating a psychedelic 60s flower pattern, collage, poster, or design that requires several icons or hippie designs.

set of groovy icons and retro vibes clipart found on Envato elementsset of groovy icons and retro vibes clipart found on Envato elementsset of groovy icons and retro vibes clipart found on Envato elements

Want to Learn More?

There are plenty of tutorials on Envato Tuts+, from beginner to intermediate level. Have a look!

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