Monday, October 14

CoffeeShop Tutorial: Creating Custom Seamless Patterns and Digital Paper in Photoshop/PSE and Free Digital Paper!

I just realized I have hit over 1000 posts on my blog.  Wow, I need to go celebrate!

Today I wanted to put together a little tutorial to show you one way I create a simple seamless, repeating pattern that can be used to make custom digital paper.  I love making my own digital paper and once you see how easy it is to make your own you might get addicted.  :-)  If you like the paper I made in this tutorial you can download it on the bottom of this post.

When I make my patterns I only use images that are royalty free and in the public domain.  That way I can post the patterns and papers here on my blog and feel comfortable that you can use them in your personal or commercial designs.  Terms of use can change, so it pays to keep an eye on the terms on anything you use in commercial work.

I usually use designs from one of my favorite site, The Graphics Fairy, but yesterday I was trying to find clipart of some fall leaves and I came across which has public domain free clipart for download.  I just found this site and can't vouch for it, but it has some cute clipart so I wanted to share the link with you.

I did a search for Thanksgiving and decided to use a cute pumpkin in my tutorial today.

When you open your clipart in Photoshop/PSE, make sure you remove any white background. I double click on the clipart in the layer pane to turn it into an editable layer so I can remove the white.

Use the magic wand to select the white area around the clipart, then press delete.

Once your clipart has a transparent background, you can create your seamless pattern.  Create a new document, 600x600 pixels with a transparent background.

Add the clipart to the middle of the document.  Resize to taste.

Go to Filter, Other, Offset and put in -300 and -300 and make sure "Wrap Around" is selected.  Now you can see that the pumpkin is on the edges of your document.

Add a single clipart in the middle.  You can adjust the size/angle by free transforming it (Control-T or Cmd-T in Mac).  You can also add more than one, in different positions, but that is a different tutorial.  :-)

Go to Edit, Define Pattern and give the pattern a name and save it.

To create a sheet of digital paper, make a new document 12x12 inches, 240 pixels/inch with a transparent background.

Click the "G" on your keyboard to select the little paint bucket (not the gradient) and select Pattern and find your new pattern.

Click on the new blank document to add the pattern.  Some of my pumpkins are missing part of their stem.  If your pattern doesn't look perfect, go back and make sure you put the clipart in the middle of your blank document before using the offset filter.  You might have to move it around a bit to get a perfect seamless pattern.

As you can see my pumpkins don't line up properly on the document (they are cut off on the left) and that annoys me.  But there is an easy fix!

Free Transform that layer and resize and move the pumpkins until they fit.

Add a color fill adjustment layer under the pattern to add a background color.  I clicked on the orange of the pumpkin and then made the final color lighter.

I really wanted the pumpkins to be smaller on my paper.  To do this, go back to the pattern you made and make it 300x300 pixels (Image, Image Size).

Save this pattern and put "small" in the name.

Now the pumpkin size is perfect!  But the background needs something, it is too boring.

I made a pattern of dots similar to the way I made the pumpkin pattern, and I added them to the paper.  I added a color fill layer to the dots layer so I could play around to get the perfect color combo.  I also lowered the opacity of the dots layer so they would be subtle.  You could add stripes or anything else you want to your paper.  And if you save it as a psd file with all of the layers you can create different color versions.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and have fun making your own custom digital paper.  If you want the pumpkin paper I created in this tutorial, click here for an instant free download.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.


  1. I'm having a hard time deleting the white around the clip art. I can select the clip art but I don't know how to delete the white part.

  2. Did you double click the clipart to make it an editable layer first?

  3. Thanks! I try and make paper creating a stamp, but I always have a hard time lining them up. This is much easier.

  4. I adore your website. I end up coming back here on a regular basis and I've been using lot of your templates. So I just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks. Even learning how you do the seamless repeats is great for when I create patterns for my fabric designs on Spoonflower.
    Start To Grow

  5. Thanks finally I can make my own papers!

  6. I am trying to figure out how to make a display for a digital paper pack. Like the ones you see for sale on etsy with swatches lined up vertically of a bunch of different designs and a ribbon/logo going across the center. I see lots of them on etsy but no instructions anywhere on how do to create this display. Do people just do it from scratch on Photoshop or is there a template for making them? Thanks!

  7. I personally design my own paper displays in Photoshop, so I haven't tried to find one that is pre made. They are easy to make!

  8. I'm so glad I revisit your blog every now and then! This was the perfect tutorial I needed. I'd been using the "marquee tool", then Edit>Define Pattern method but that's not always necessarily seamless for me (center-ing problem). Love this. Thanks so much!

  9. This is my new favorite site! Thanks for showing clear screenshots of each step. Off to find more genius posts.

  10. You make this look so easy. I still feel so new at this. Thank you for helping me out!

  11. I've just now started to research how to create my own papers in Photoshop, and I can't thank you enough for sharing this extremely clear tutorial! After I do a little practicing, I'm hoping to make one using my grandson's newborn footprints! :D

  12. Thank you so much! This is easier than what I was doing before.

  13. This isn't working for me on PSE 9. I can get all the way to actually using the pattern, but images are cut off the sides. I'm not really understanding how to fix the problem. I try altering the numbers for the offset, resizing the clipart, but nothing is working. Any suggestions?

    1. I am not sure, I would try a different size and different offsets. Sometimes they can be a bit tricky.

  14. Hi, You say above in the description for the seamless pattern " You can also add more than one, in different positions, but that is a different tutorial!" Where can I find that tutorial? Can you give me a link?

    Another question, you use a 600x600 document to do the seamless pattern. Is that the only size that works? I tried 800x800 and took -400 on the filter but it didn´t look good. What went wrong?

  15. This is mazing! I never knew it could be so easy. Thank you for the tutorial, you made it very clear and easy to understand! LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!!!

    1. That you Anndei, I really appreciate it!!! I hope you find tons of stuff you can use here. If you have any suggestions please let me know. <3


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