Patterns are a fun and creative way to add interest to your life without a huge time commitment. Whether you’re looking to explore a new hobby or just want some simple activities to brighten your day, playing with patterns can be a great option. Here are 13 low-commitment ways to add more patterns into your life:

Experiment with Patterned Crafts

Crafting is a great outlet for creativity that can be done in small bursts. Try picking up a patterned craft like cross-stitch, embroidery, or quilting. These activities allow you to work with repeating designs and motifs in a tactile way. You can find beginner kits that come with pre-printed patterns to follow. That way you don’t have to commit to designing something from scratch. Work on your patterned craft project for just 15-30 minutes at a time, and you’ll gradually see it come together over days or weeks.

Doodle Patterned Designs

If you want to play with patterns in a really low-pressure way, try patterned doodling. Take a pen and paper and let your hand draw repeating shapes or figures in an abstract design. You can make geometric patterns, nature-inspired doodles like leaves or waves, mandala designs, or anything else you can imagine. Doodling is fun and relaxing. You can zone out and make patterned artwork for as long as you want without any real commitment.

Make Patterned Gift Wrap

Personalizing gifts for friends and family by making your own patterned gift wrap is a thoughtful touch. To create patterned paper, all you need is a roller, paint, and blank newsprint. Make geometric designs by layering colorful triangles, dots, or criss-crossed lines. Get creative with organic patterns like flowers. Or use potato stamps or sponges dipped in paint to print repeating images. DIY gift wrap is a fun way to play with patterns for an hour without extended commitment.

Bake Patterned Treats

Baking is satisfying because you get to make edible works of art. Challenge yourself by baking patterned cookies, cakes, or other goodies. Try swirling two batters together in a pan for marbled effects. Use a stencil when dusting powdered sugar or cocoa on top of baked goods. Pipe frosting in repeating dots, stripes, flowers or other designs. Even making simple square or round cookies in an orderly arrangement creates a geometric pattern. Spend a cozy afternoon baking to get your pattern fix.

Create Patterned Music Playlists

Music listening can be another low-commitment way to add patterns into your routine. Create playlists with songs that follow a structured pattern, and see if anyone notices! You could order tracks from shortest to longest, play songs in alphabetical order by title, or alternate male and female vocalists. Get clever by making a playlist where every other song is in a different language. You can put together short repeating playlists in just a few minutes for some quick audio fun.

Stack Books in Patterns

Here’s an ultra low-key way to play with patterns at home. Stack books on your shelves, coffee table or nightstand in a repeating color pattern or orderly arrangement of sizes and textures. Vertical and horizontal stripes, diagonal designs, or even color gradients are simple but eye-catching. Your bookshelf doesn’t have to stay practical; have fun organizing it by color or size instead of topic or author. Rearrange as the mood strikes without much effort.

Explore Patterned Fashion

Patterned clothing and accessories add visual interest to any wardrobe. When you’re getting dressed in the morning, purposefully choose items with patterns that complement or contrast each other. Play with mixing different scales like pairing a large plaid coat with small polka dot blouse. Or try wearing patterns in the same color family for a cohesive look. Add fun patterned jewelry as finishing touches, like enameled earrings with geometric designs or beaded necklaces. Thoughtfully coordinating patterns as you get ready in the morning can be a pleasant way to start your day.

Create Window Display Patterns

Here’s a unique way to decorate with patterns in your home without much commitment. Cut shapes like circles, stars or hexagons from colorful tissue paper, newsprint or wrapping paper. Use repositionable putty or magnets to display them in patterns on your windows and glass doors. Create artful arrangements of flowers, hearts or rainbows. Go for a minimalist modern geometric design. Rearrange them periodically for a fresh look. They’ll add charm to your space and can be switched up anytime.

Make Patterns with Shadow Art

Shadows make transient, movable art. On a sunny day, cut patterned shapes from paper, cardboard or felt. Abstract cutouts and silhouette styles work well. Tape or prop up your patterned shadow puppets where sunlight will cast their image on a wall, fence or sidewalk. Overlap the shadows to create multi-layered geometric designs. Move them around to make the patterns dance and play. Explore light and movement without having to invest in any permanent art pieces.

Build Patterns with LEGOs

For hands-on pattern play, break out a box of LEGOs or other interlocking brick toys. Laying repeating lines of blocks in different colors and arrangements is instantly satisfying. Stack them into 3D patterns like pyramids, diagonal steps, or symmetrical designs. Or use LEGOs to build patterned mosaics by flipping over the bricks and using the studs as pixels. LEGOs provide fun opportunities for pattern play during idle moments, either by yourself or with kids.

Make Patterned Decorations

An easy DIY project is making patterned decorations for your living space. You can create an abundance of repetitive designs without much time commitment. Cut uniform shapes from paper and string them into rotating mobiles or garlands. Fold origami birds, stars or cranes in patterns down a strand. Make cut-out snowflakes with intricate fractal designs. Arrange collections of similar found objects like pinecones or seashells in patterned vignettes. Swapping these easy homemade decor items allows you to refresh your space anytime.

Plant in Patterns

Gardening provides endless possibilities for playing with patterns. As you’re planting flower beds and containers for the season, purposefully place plants in rows, groupings or alternating sections to form stripes, dots, zig-zags and more. Vary colors and plant heights to make patterns stand out. Use repeating elements like trellises and yard art to enhance geometric designs. Or get whimsical by planting flowers that bloom in a sequence of colors over the growing season, creating a rainbow garden. Gardening organically allows patterns to emerge as plants grow and fill spaces over time.

Playing with Patterns Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about exploring patterns as a fun low-commitment hobby or activity:

What are some easy pattern activities for beginners?

Some easy ways to start playing with patterns include doodling repetitive designs, stacking books in patterns, making simple patterned crafts like friendship bracelets, and planting your garden in stripes or blocks of color. Pinterest can provide tons of inspiration for beginner-friendly patterned projects across hobbies like baking, jewelry-making, paper crafting and more.

What supplies do I need to make patterns?

It depends on the type of patterns you want to make, but generally you can use very simple, everyday items. Colored paper, pens and markers, paint, string, LEGO bricks, rubber stamps, and found objects are just some examples. For craft patterns, you may need additional tools like sewing needles, embroidery floss, or crochet hooks, many of which you can find affordably at dollar stores.

What are some examples of patterns in everyday life?

Patterns are everywhere once you start noticing them – in nature, architecture, music, fashion, and more. Some examples include the repeating tiles of a ceiling, the regular beats in a song, geometric quilt designs, ceremonial clothing with symmetric motifs, even the loops and whorls of your fingerprints! Paying attention to the patterns around you can spark inspiration.

How are patterns used in various careers and fields?

Patterns appear in virtually every discipline. Engineers use mathematical patterns to design structures and machines. Artists apply patterns for visual interest. Choreographers arrange dance steps in patterns. Linguists study patterns in language. Meteorologists track weather patterns. Lawyers look for patterns in legal cases to establish precedents. Patterns help add order, function, and predictability in a variety of specialties.

What are fractals and how are they related to patterns?

Fractals are never-ending patterns that repeat at every scale. They are infinitely complex shapes that are self-similar across different sizes. For example, the branches of a tree, veins on a leaf, ocean waves, and crystals are all fractals found in nature. Fractals can also be generated mathematically, like the famous Mandelbrot Set. These infinite patterns demonstrate the awe-inspiring complexity arising from simple repeating forms.

What are some ways to use technology to explore patterns?

Programs and websites like GeoGebra, Desmos, and Mathigon have interactive pattern activities. There are coding apps to make geometric and fractal patterns with commands. Music production software can create loops and repeating sequences of sound. Drawing apps provide tools like mandala makers, kaleidoscopes, repeating brushes, and pattern generators to aid creativity. Technology can help bring patterns to life in endlessly innovative ways.


Patterns are a versatile design element that can be incorporated into all kinds of hobbies, activities and areas of life with minimal commitment. Whether you’re baking cookies, planting a garden, doodling, or listening to music, intentionally working patterns into your routines makes the everyday more creative and contemplative. Simple pattern play exercises your spatial thinking and pattern recognition abilities, expands your creative horizons, and adds beauty and interest to ordinary objects and experiences. So grab some supplies and let the patterning fun begin – your inner artist will thank you!