Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

Patterns can be extremely useful for quickly creating backgrounds for your work. Having a diverse catalog of Photoshop pattern sets at your disposal will make it easy to try a variety of different patterns. In this tutorial we’ll walk through the process of creating a plaid pattern, which you can then duplicate with other color combinations to compile your own set of plaid patterns.

Here is a look at what we will be creating:

Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

The plaid pattern is rather quick and easy to create, and with some experimentation you can come up with an unlimited number of variations. As a starting point, I like to browse through sites like Adobe Kuler and ColourLovers to find some color palettes to use when creating the plaid pattern.

For this tutorial we’ll be using a palette from Adobe Kuler called County Fair.

Adobe Kuler

Create a new file in Photoshop that is 98 pixels by 98 pixels.


Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

We’ll set several vertical guides to help with creating the pattern. Go to View > New Guide and set vertical guides at 8 pixels, 28 pixels, 36 pixels, 49 pixels, 57 pixels, 70 pixels, and 78 pixels. You should have something that looks like this (image is zoomed in):

Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

Set the foreground color to #bd6e46 and use rectangular marquee tool to select one of the fat 20 pixel wide columns. Then use the paint bucket tool to fill to selection. Repeat the process for the other 20 pixel wide column.

Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

Next, set the foreground color to #294a49. Use the rectangular marquee tool to select one of the 13 pixel wide columns and then use the paint bucket tool to fill the selection. Repeat the process for the other 13 pixel wide column.

Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

Then set the foreground color to #ededa9 and use the rectangular marquee tool and the paint bucket tool to select and fill the remaining columns, all of which are 8 pixels wide.

Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

The next step is to duplicate the layer (up to this point everything you have done should be in one layer). After the layer has been duplicated and with the top layer selected in the layers palette, go to Edit > Transform > Rotate 90 degrees clockwise. This will rotate the top layer but it leaves the bottom layer unrotated.

Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

Double click on the background copy layer in the layers palette to open the layer style options, and change the fill opacity to 50%

Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

With that change you’ll be able to see both the horizontal and vertical rows.

Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

Next, create a new file that is 6 pixels by 6 pixels with a transparent background. We’ll use this to create a pattern to replicate the look of stitching.

Set the foreground color to #d5ae78 and select the pencil tool with a one-pixel square tip. Increase the view on the new 6 pixel by 6 pixel file to 800%, and use the pencil tool to create the stitching.

Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

Next, we’ll turn this stitching into a pattern by going to Edit > Define Pattern.

Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

Now go back to our plaid file and double click on the top layer to open the layer style options. Click on “pattern overlay” and then select the pattern that we just created. This will apply the stitching pattern to the plaid image. Here is how it will look at 100%.

Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

Now all we have to do is define this as a pattern and we will be done. Go to Edit > Define Pattern and save your plaid pattern.

Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

To use the pattern, create a new file of any size. Fill the background layer with any color, then double click on the layer in the layers palette. Select “pattern overlay” and choose the pattern that you just created.

Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

If you would like to use this pattern created in the tutorial, here is the 98 pixel by 98 pixel image used to create the pattern.

Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

At Vandelay Premier we have a set of 30 plaid patterns that is available for purchase if you’d rather not create your own. For readers of the blog we’ve set up a discount on these patterns. To get the discount add the patterns to your shopping cart and then enter the discount code “readerssave2″ to get them for $2 instead of $4.

Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

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11 Responses

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  • Wow, that’s very helpful! I really like the pattern!

    Thanks very much

  • Ryan Leaper, April 8, 2011

    I am a fan of patterns and textures within design so I’m sure this tutorial will prove to be particularly useful. The detail of the stitching on the pattern works well and helps add extra depth to the design which really helps finishes it off. I think by experimenting with different colour combinations and changing the column widths etc you could soon create a range of different plaid patterns that you can have at your disposal for use within your work.

  • Vandelay Website Design, April 8, 2011

    Ryan,
    Definitely. Once you create one it’s pretty easy to make several variations and pretty soon you have a nice big set of patterns to use any time you need them.

  • Houston website designers, April 8, 2011

    Plaid seems to be coming back in style, I see it in clothing at all the trendy clothing boutiques around town. I look forward to working through this tutorial and implementing plaid into some of my designs. Great Post.

  • webdesigner girl, April 13, 2011

    I like patterns and I think this tutorial very useful for persons who are interested in their creation at first time. I like to experiment in design

  • Toronto Web Developer, June 9, 2011

    I have a long time love of plaid and have never stopped wearing it and using it in design. I love it. Thanks for this post!

  • Kathleen, December 16, 2011

    This is the best tutorial on plaid! I am very pleased with what I created and can’t wait to share it with my fellow staff!

  • Tania, December 5, 2012

    Great tutorial! thanks

  • Lyo, December 27, 2012

    Great tutorial! I made my first plaid pattern exactly the way I wanted. Thank you so much!

  • Andy Feliciotti, January 9, 2013

    Awesome tutorial, just what I needed :)

  • Tascha, July 16, 2013

    I love this tutorial save for one thing, it doesn’t tell you how to create the linen texture. Can someone explain that to me?

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