Art and Design

Fractals in wallpaper

Designers of wallpaper use a kind of fractal by repeating shapes at the same size so that they fit together exactly. They hide the repeat so that the wallpaper looks the same all over. The same idea is used for wrapping paper. The printed shape does not change size or angle but it is repeated in different positions.

The Victorian designer William Morris produced over 50 different designs. He often used leaves and flowers. Can you see where the shapes are repeated and how he fitted them together?

The designer Eric Ravilious used abstract shapes to make patterned papers. Can you see how his repeats worked?

Design by Eric Ravilious:


This YouTube video from the Victoria and Albert Museum shows the traditional method of making a William Morris wallpaper from many repeated shapes.