How To Enlarge Patterns

It’s wonderful when you can find patterns for projects that are the exact size, but more often then not books, eBooks and online downloads request you to change the pattern size yourself. But how do you enlarge patterns?  The templates give you a percentage that the patterns need to be enlarged by. Motif’s however can be used for many projects and will need to be scaled up and down accordingly. This article originally written by weefolkart will show you how to enlarge patterns and will give you information on how to use photocopiers, home printers, gridding techniques and even overhead projectors to re-size them.

Reducing and Enlarging Your Patterns:

There is a basic math formula for reducing and enlarging patterns. It is essential to know the existing size of either the height or width of the image of the pattern and your desired size of the same measurement.

Desired Size / Existing Size = Percentage to Enlarge or Reduce the Pattern

Reducing for a t-shirt pocket example:
You have a pattern with a width of 5 inches and would like it to be 2 inches wide.
2 / 5 = 0.4 (40%)

Enlarging to Make a Wall Hanging example:How TO Enlarge Patterns
You have a pattern with a height of 6 inches and would like to be 14 inches tall.
14 / 6 = 2.33 (233%)

Using a Home Printer
Depending on your home computer/printer’s capabilities, learning to use the scaling function may be just the answer. Most home printers today have a built in scanner and can make photocopies. Adobe PDF’s have a print to scale option and depending on the size of the pattern you need, this may be all you require. Use the scaling formula above to determine the percentage to which you will need to set your printer/copier. This works as long as the finished image size will fit on the printer paper. If it doesn’t, have a read about tiling.

Some home printer/copiers will allow for tiling, which means it will enlarge and print an image that is greater than a single sheet of paper by printing a portion of the image on several sheets of paper like a puzzle. These separate pieces can then be taped or glued together to form the one large image. However, all printers are different so you may need to check your printer’s manual for details on this option. Adobe PDF also has a tiling option which corresponds with your printer type.

Using a Photocopier
Businesses like Staples have the ability to print very large images. This is a great option if you would like to enlarge your image to create something like an intricate duvet cover. They will even do the math for you if you haven’t already calculated your scaling percentage.

This is the original way people scaled images before home printers and scanners.
Draw a grid over your pattern. A one inch grid pattern would be an easy starting point. If you would like your image to be 3 feet tall, draw a 3 foot tall box and then grid it with 6×6 blocks. In this example, you would have 6 inch square blocks in your enlarged grid. Now you need to freehand copy what appears in each pattern grid blocks to the new sized grid blocks. Breaking up the image into these smaller blocks and then focusing on drawing one block at a time makes it easier to draw the pattern and keep it in proportion… even if you find drawing a challenge.

Overhead Projector
If you have an overhead projector available to you, you can use this for enlarging images. You will need to copy your pattern onto a sheet of transparency paper. Print your pattern onto transparency paper (available for your printer.) Once you have your transparent pattern, place a large sheet of paper on the wall, set up your projector so that it is displaying the pattern at the desired size on the wall. You can then trace the projected image onto several pieces of paper and attach them together with tape or glue.


There are online resources that can help re-size your patterns. This tool resizes line drawings and color photographs conveniently on your home printer and guides you through an easy print option.

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