Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

by Jay Hilgert
on June 25, 2008

Many of you might remember my Free High-Res Grungy Paper Textures I gave away a while back. I had a lot of requests for a tutorial on how I actually made those textures, so I here we are. Fire up good ‘ol Photoshop, have a scanner handy, and let’s dive in, shall we :)

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

Step 1: Scan

Get a natural-brown-colored piece of paper (or brown paper bag), give it a good crinkle, then flatten it back out and scan it in. After you scan, take your image into Photoshop, where we’ll be the rest of the tutorial. After you get your image into Photoshop, you should have something similar to below.

If you don’t have a scanner click here to download the image I’m using from Flickr if you’d still like to follow along.

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

Step 2: Add Texture

First, we’re going to add a little texture to the paper itself. With your image layer selected, go to Filter > Texture > Texturizer.

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

Select “Canvas” from the drop down menu, set the scale to around 100, and the depth between 2 and 4, then Click OK.

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

You should now see something like below: (full size close-up)

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

Now we have a canvas-like texture, but it only goes in one direction. I like to get the grain going both horizontally as well as vertical, so go to Image > Rotate Canvas > 90° CW to rotate your image.

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

Now that your image is on it’s side, we’re going to apply the texture again, this will give us the grain going in both directions. So go back to Filter > Texture > Texturizer, and apply the same filter again, or just key Command + F (Control + F, PC) to repeat the filter.

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

Now that we have our texture in both directions, let’s rotate our canvas back so it’s vertical again Image > Rotate Canvas > 90° CCW. (Or you can leave it horizontal if you need to, doesn’t matter.)

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

Step 3: New Layer

Now it’s time to start grunging it up. Make a new layer on top of your paper texture, and fill (Edit > Fill) it with a color: (hex) #451300. Here’s an image you can download if you’d like to just use the eyedropper tool:

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

After you fill your layer, take it’s opacity to around 70%

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

You should be able to see your paper texture peeking through.

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

Now change the layer mode to “Soft Light.”

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

When you change the layer mode, it will lighten up quite a bit, but will be noticeably darker than the original texture below:

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

Step 4: Erase

We’re going to use a high resolution brush to ‘erase’ parts of our new layer and leave the corners a little grungy. For this, I like to use my Hi Res Splatter Brushes.

After you get these brushes installed, select the Eraser tool, then select one of the brushes in the High Res Splatter set as your tip shape.

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

In the Photoshop Toolbar (top left), set the Opacity of your Eraser to 70%, and the Flow to 60%

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

Now, with the splatter brush tip eraser, start chipping away (erasing) at your top layer, leaving the corners looking ‘stained’ or dirty. Concentrate on the middle section while erasing. (more advanced users should erase the layer mask for a non-destructive way to get the same results)

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

And you should end up with something like this:

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

Step 5: Repeat

That’s a start, but we need it to get quite a bit grungier before we call it quits. Make a new Layer (on top) and fill it with the color below. (hex) #371C11. Set the layer opacity to 90%, and the layer mode to Multiply.

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

After you do all this, repeat the last part of Step 4. Use the eraser, and a High Res Splatter brush tip to erase until you get something like this:

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

Step 6: Repeat Again

That’s a step closer, but we’re not done yet. Make another new Layer (on top) and fill it with the blue color below. (hex) #0078A4. Set the layer opacity to 65%, and the layer mode to Soft Light.

The only thing we’re going to do different this time is change the Opacity and Flow of the Eraser tool to 30%

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

After you do all this, repeat the last part of Step 4. Use the eraser, and a High Res Splatter brush tip to erase until you get something like this: (You might notice how tha blue layer makes the other 2 layers quite a bit darker. It’s subtle, but noticeable)

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

Step 7: Add Some Details

If you want to add a little extra to your grungy paper, you can always spice things up with some cool Photoshop brushes. Download Botched Ornaments and SS-Handwriting brush sets and install/load them.

Create a new layer for your brushes, set the layer mode to Multiply, layer opacity to about 50%, and select one of the Botched Ornaments brushes. Set the foreground color to (Hex) #A43A00.

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

This part is really up to you but I just put a botched ornament in the bottom left corner, and the top right. Here’s a close-up:

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

Now lets add some old-fashioned handwriting, shall we. Make a new layer, set the layer mode to Multiply, layer opacity to about 48%, and set the foreground color to (Hex) #5E4316. Now Load the SS-Handwriting brushes and select a brush to use.

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

I just put a little handwriting in a couple different places. Here’s another close-up:

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

Done!

Here’s the final result folks. Click on the image to download it via Flickr if you’d like to add it to your stock folder :) I hope you enjoyed the tutorial.

Photoshop: How To Make An Awesome Grungy Paper Texture From Scratch

About Jay Hilgert

Formally trained at Oklahoma State, Jay Hilgert is a graphic and web designer, font designer (Link), software developer (Brush Pilotâ„¢), and the founder of BittBox.

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