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How to Mirror and Repeat Objects in Illustrator

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

In the following steps, you will learn everything you need to know about the Repeat features as you create a simple mandala in Illustrator.

You will learn how to mirror an object in Illustrator using the Repeat-Mirror feature, how to repeat shapes in a circle in Illustrator using the Repeat-Radial feature, and how to make a repeating pattern in Illustrator using the Repeat-Grid feature.

What You'll Learn in This Adobe Illustrator Tutorial

  • How to mirror in Illustrator
  • How to repeat objects along a path Illustrator
  • How to repeat a shape around a circle in illustrator
  • How to make a repeating pattern in Illustrator
  • How to create a mandala in Illustrator

For more inspiration on how to create a mandala in Illustrator, you can find plenty of resources at Envato Elements.

Follow along with us over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

What You Will Need

You will need the following resource in order to complete this design:

1. How to Create a New Document and Prepare It

Step 1

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, set the width and height to 850, and then click that More Settings button. Select RGB for the Color Mode, set the Raster Effects to Screen (72 ppi), and then click Create Document.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You will need a grid every 5 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, and enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut.

You can learn more about Illustrator's grid system in this short tutorial from Andrei Stefan: Understanding Adobe Illustrator's Grid System.

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Don't forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

new documentnew documentnew document

Step 2

Before you start learning how to create a mandala in Illustrator, let's save some colors that we can use to color the design later on.

Focus on the Color panel (Window > Color) and set the color to R=84 G=16 B=63, and then click that the New Swatch button from the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches). Name this new swatch 'Border', click OK, and then save the rest of the colors shown in the following image. Remember to name them 'Yellow', 'Red', 'Orange', 'Lilac', and 'Teal'.

Once you're done, you can select all six colors and group them using the New Color Group button from the Swatches panel.

save colorssave colorssave colors

Step 3

Select the Ellipse Tool (L) and click on your artboard to open the Ellipse window. Set the Width and Height to 20 and click OK to create your 20 px circle.

Fill this new shape with your 'Border' color and then focus on the control panel. Make sure that the alignment is set to artboard and then click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons to easily move your circle to the center of the artboard.

Now that you're set, let's learn how to mirror in Illustrator.

circlecirclecircle

2. How to Mirror Objects in Illustrator

Step 1

First, let's learn how to mirror in Illustrator, and then I'll show you how to repeat a shape around a circle in Illustrator.

Select the Pen Tool (P) from your toolbar and create a simple path like the one shown in the first image. Fill it with your 'Yellow' color and then go to Object > Repeat > Mirror which will mirror your design, as shown in the second image.

mirror in illustratormirror in illustratormirror in illustrator

Step 2

Once you apply the Mirror effect, you will enter isolation mode, and you'll get a dotted axis between the two halves. You'll see three round handles on this line.

Drag the middle handle to adjust the spacing between the two halves, or drag the dotted axis if you want your halves to snap to the grid.

Drag the top and bottom handles to rotate or transform the mirrored half.

Once you're done editing the mirrored object, you can either press the Escape key or double-click outside your object to leave isolation mode. To edit a mirrored object again, double-click it.

edit mirror illustratoredit mirror illustratoredit mirror illustrator

Step 3

Once you create a mirrored object, you can double-click to activate isolation mode, and you can add more content.

Using the Pen Tool (P), create a simple path like the one shown in the following image and fill it with 'Border'.

edit mirror illustratoredit mirror illustratoredit mirror illustrator

Step 4

Continue to add more paths to your mirrored design, as shown in the first two images, and use your 'Yellow' and 'Green' colors to fill them.

Select the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 20 px circle, and place it as shown in the third image. Keep in mind that when your objects exceed the dotted axis, Illustrator will hide the overlapping part and mirror the left half of the object.

mirror circlemirror circlemirror circle

Add another two paths, as shown below.

mirror paths illustratormirror paths illustratormirror paths illustrator

Step 5

Open the fly-out menu from the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) and go to Open Brush Library > Decorative > Elegant Curl & Floral Brush Set. Select the 'Drop Down' brush to add it inside your Brushes panel and reselect the Pen Tool (T).

Create a 40 px vertical path, apply the 'Drop Down' brush, and set the stroke color to R=64 G=0 B=33. Place it as shown in the first image, and then add a second path as shown in the second image. Use the same brush, but make sure that you lower the stroke size to 0.5 pt.

mirror brush illustratormirror brush illustratormirror brush illustrator

Step 6

Reselect the Ellipse Tool (L) and add the five circles shown in the following image to your mirrored group.

Now that you know how to mirror objects in Illustrator, you can continue this tutorial and learn how to repeat shapes in a circle in Illustrator.

mirror circles illustratormirror circles illustratormirror circles illustrator

Step 7

Before you continue to the part where you will learn how to repeat a shape around a circle in Illustrator, you can further stylize your shapes and apply some distorted brushes.

You can use this Shaky Inks Brush Set from Envato Elements. Click the Brush Libraries Menu button and go to Other Library to open the brush set, select 'Shaky_brush13' to add it to the Brushes panel, and then apply it to your shapes, as shown in the following image.

apply brush mirror illustratorapply brush mirror illustratorapply brush mirror illustrator

3. How to Repeat Shapes in a Circle in Illustrator

Step 1

To repeat objects along a path in Illustrator, all you have to do is go to Object > Repeat > Radial.

repeat radial illustratorrepeat radial illustratorrepeat radial illustrator

Step 2

Focus on the control panel where you can adjust the settings of your radial repeat. Keep the number of instances set to 8 and lower the radius of the circle to 160 px.

Also, click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons to center your design.

repeat radial editrepeat radial editrepeat radial edit

Step 3

Drag one of the two splitters to easily remove some instances from your design or drag the round handle on the circle to change its size.

repeat radial instancesrepeat radial instancesrepeat radial instances

Step 4

Use that round handle with the two arrows to easily increase or decrease the number of instances from your design.

repeat radial instancesrepeat radial instancesrepeat radial instances

4. How to Make a Repeating Pattern in Illustrator

Step 1

Finally, let's learn how to repeat objects in Illustrator. You can use again that 'Drop Down' brush to create the simple design shown below.

Select it and just go to Object > Repeat > Grid. For starters, you can use the two round handles with the arrows to increase or decrease the spacing between the grid elements.

repeat grid illustratorrepeat grid illustratorrepeat grid illustrator

Step 2

The spacing between grid elements can also be adjusted from the control panel.

Using the rounded rectangle handles, you can easily add more rows and columns to your grid repeat.

edit repeat gridedit repeat gridedit repeat grid

Step 3

To further edit a repeat grid, you can either open the Properties panel (Window > Properties) or you can go to Object > Repeat > Options.

In this panel, you can adjust the grid type, you can flip rows or columns from your grid repeat, or you can adjust the spacing between elements.

flip repeat gridflip repeat gridflip repeat grid

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here's how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects. Don't hesitate to share your final result in the comments section.

Feel free to adjust the final design and make it your own. You can find some great sources of inspiration at Envato Elements, with interesting solutions to improve your design.

mirror repeat illustratormirror repeat illustratormirror repeat illustrator

Popular Illustrator Add-Ons From Envato Elements

Envato Elements is an excellent resource for Illustrator add-ons. Here are some of the most popular Illustrator add-ons that you can find.

Shaky Inks for Adobe Illustrator (AI)

Now that you know how to repeat objects in Illustrator, you can try some of the other brushes from this path to further stylize your mandala design.

ink brushesink brushesink brushes

Zen Fine Liner Art & Mandala Creator (AI)

If you don't have the time to learn how to create a mandala in Illustrator, this mandala creator is the perfect shortcut for you. You don't need to know how to mirror an image in Illustrator or how to repeat objects along a path in Illustrator.

mandala creatormandala creatormandala creator

Mandala Generator PRO (Ai)

Save the time that you would spend learning how to mirror an image in Illustrator or how to repeat objects in Illustrator, and use this mandala generator instead. You can easily create mandala designs combining 70 premade patterns.

mandala generatormandala generatormandala generator

50 Vector Dot Brushes (AI)

Try these vector brushes and add that extra touch to your design with just a few clicks. These dot brushes will do the hard work for you!

dot brushesdot brushesdot brushes

100 Pattern Brushes & 9 Graphic Styles (AI)

Once you've learned how to mirror in Illustrator, how to repeat shapes in a circle in illustrator, and how to make a repeating pattern in Illustrator, you might want a different take for your mandala design. Try this massive collection of brushes, which will give you plenty of options.

pattern brushespattern brushespattern brushes

Want to Learn More?

We have loads of tutorials on Envato Tuts+, from beginner to intermediate level. Take a look!

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