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How to Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop
  • By Design Bundles
  • 08 Nov 2018
  • 9 Mins
  • Photoshop Tutorials

How to Create a Plaid Pattern in Photoshop

Learn how to easily make plaid patterns in Photoshop.

Today, we will go over how to make a plaid pattern in Photoshop. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll be able to make so many different plaid patterns to use on cards, wrapping paper, home decor, social media posts, sublimation designs, and so much more!

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For this tutorial, we used a retro vintage color palette to create our plaid pattern. You can create a plaid pattern using any color palette, so take a look at our collection of modern color palettes for excellent options.

Step 1 - Create the Weave Pattern

In Photoshop, create a new document (Cmd/Ctrl + N) that is 4x4 pixels @300 dpi with a transparent background.

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Zoom in as much as you can and select the Pencil Tool (B).

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Click the Brush Preset picker drop-down menu in the top toolbar and set the pencil size to 1 px.

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Paint some pixels in order to make a “line” going from the top-left corner to the bottom-right corner. Since you are working with a very small canvas, your line will be made out of squares/pixels and look like a zigzag.

Start with the top left corner square and go down one square, then right one square, down one square, then right one square, and lastly, down another square and right one more square. Your zigzag should look like three overlapping L’s. Paint the top-right square as well. See the following image for a better understanding.

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Step 2 - Define the Weave Pattern

Next, go to Edit > Define Pattern.

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Name it WeavePattern and click OK. You can save the small weave pattern file or delete it if you want.

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You will see the pattern you defined in the Patterns panel. This pattern is important for all the plaid patterns you will be making.

When making plaid patterns from now on, you can start at Step 3 as you only need to make the WeavePattern once.

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Step 3 - Create a New Document and Add a Rectangle the Same Size as the Canvas

Create a new document that is 500x500 pixels @300 dpi. Select the Rectangle Tool (U) and click on the canvas. In the Create Rectangle dialog, enter the exact dimensions as the canvas size and click OK.

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Move the rectangle to the center of the canvas. With the rectangle layer selected in the Layers panel, set the Stroke color to none and change the Fill color if needed in the Properties panel. Resize and realign the rectangle to the center if needed. This rectangle will be the base color of the plaid pattern.

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Step 4 - Add Vertical Stripes Using the Rectangle Tool

With the Rectangle Tool (U), add vertical stripes across the canvas. Vary the thickness and colors like in the following image.

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Step 5 - Flatten All the Layers

We need to make the stripes and the rectangle base layer a single layer. Right-click inside the Layers panel and choose Flatten Image.

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Step 6 - Rename the Layer to Vertical Stripes and Duplicate the Vertical Stripes Layer

Double-click the layer’s text in the Layers panel and rename the layer to Vertical Stripes. Right-click on the Vertical Stripes layer and choose Duplicate Layer.

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When the Duplicate Layer dialog pops up, enter Horizontal Stripes for As and click OK.

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Step 7 - Rotate Horizontal Stripes Layer 90°

Select the Horizontal Stripes layer in the Layers panel. Then go to Edit > Transform > Rotate 90° Clockwise.

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Step 8 - Add a Pattern to the Bottom Layer

Select the bottom layer (Vertical Stripes, in our case), click the Create new fill or adjustment layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel, and choose Pattern.

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In the Pattern Fill Dialog, click the pattern preview on the left if it’s not showing the WeavePattern and choose the WeavePattern we created earlier. Then click OK.

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Step 9 - Clip the Top Layer to the Pattern Fill Layer

Right-click on the top layer (Horizontal Stripes, in our case) and select Create Clipping Mask.

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The following image shows the plaid pattern we created!!

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Step 10 - Define the Plaid Pattern

Now we can define the plaid pattern in Photoshop as we did before with the weave pattern. Go to Edit > Define Pattern.

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Name it Plaid Pattern 1 and click OK.

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You can use the plaid pattern in Photoshop like any other pattern. Now, go back to Step 3 and create a new plaid pattern with different colors and stripes!!

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If you’d like to try making a plaid pattern in Illustrator, we have a guide for that as well. Since making a plaid pattern is so much fun, maybe you’d be interested in learning how to make a camouflage pattern in Photoshop.




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