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Newbie Notes: Using Pattern Files

September 3, 2009

newbie-notes-mcpAs promised, here is a brief tutorial on how to use the COLOURlover’s pattern files in Photoshop. Many of these steps apply to using any pattern and can be adapted.

(If you want to make a pattern from a part of any image, there is a good video tutorial here on

Here are step-by-step instructions for the files in my  “juno Kim’s Fabric Patterns” download. (scroll back a few days if you haven’t seen these yet)

Begin by opening your pattern in Photoshop.

(You can skip this part and go straight to PATTERN: INTO PHOTOSHOP (look for the red text) if you are using the files in my download – all of this prep is already done. But it is useful to know how to do these steps yourself.)


If you are using files direct from COLOURlovers or from some other source, you may need to do some prep on them before you can proceed. Some files are in 16 bit channel mode and some are in Index mode. These files will give you an error message if you try to move them into a document and/or the Edit>Define Pattern button will be greyed out.

1  Change to 8 bit per channel

To fix this, go to

Image > Mode > select 8 Bits/Channel

2  8 bit


3 index

To fix this, go to

Image > Mode > select RGB Color




The COLOURlovers patterns are in 72 dpi. You need to change this to 300 dpi to bring it to scrapbooking industry standard, especially if you want to print your patterns.

Image > Image Size > Document Size: 300 pixels/inch

At this point I would usually sharpen a little – set the file at 100% view so you can assess this accurately.

If you have downloaded the “juno Kim’s Fabrics Patterns”, these steps have already been taken for you. From this point you proceed as follows..




Go to

Edit > Define Pattern > Name (choose a name) > OK

Open a new document 12x12in, 300 dpi, fill with any colour- just don’t leave transparent. The colour doesn’t matter because the Pattern will overlay it.

Your pattern will not operate on a Background layer because it’s locked, so either double-click on the Background to make it into an ordinary Layer or go to Create a New Layer.

Go to the end of the Layer Palette and choose the layer style icon. (the “f” in a circle – fx in later versions of Photoshop)

Add a Layer Style > Pattern Overlay

A dialogue box will open up. Scroll to end of the Pattern Library – your new pattern will be at the very bottom.


Select Scale (You might need to click on grey bg of box to make pattern selection box go away and reveal the scale slider underneath it)

Move the slider to make your pattern larger or smaller according to your taste. Click OK (over on the right)

Now your pattern is in Photoshop and will be there in the Pattern Library unless/until you replace the pattern set.



If you want to further embellish your pattern, you need to flatten your file, otherwise any changes effect only your original layer, not the pattern overlay.

juno Pattern 8 Closeup Plain

For example, to this original pattern I added the following steps…

Filter > Add Noise: 5%

Select Cream > Add Transparent Glitter Style

Select Green > Bevel and Emboss

And I ended up with this…


Or go from this…

juno Kim's Fabric (10)

…to this, by using the crosstitch action from Atomic Cupcake.

Thanks, BriAnna!


A huge advantage of using Patterns is the file size. Check this out…

File Sizes

Note: If you are happy to use the patterns as they are, you can apply them directly to any shape you require, just by selecting your layer with the desired shape and going to  Add a Layer Style > Pattern Overlay. However, when adding any other effects, I find it easier to make a whole layer of pattern, add my effects and then clip the result to my shape.

I hope you have enjoyed this (did I really say “brief”??) tutorial and have added something to your skill set.

What I need to learn next myself is how to save patterns as .patt files, which go in the Photoshop Pattern folder in the Program Files folder, rather than in Styles as a Preset, as we have done here. I have done a bit of digging to find out how to do this, but to no avail as yet. So if anyone knows how to do this or where to find a tutorial, please share!

I have put together the above text instructions in brief (no, really!) into a Notepad file together with the samples used in the tutorial, which were not in the ” juno Kim’s Fabric Patterns” download. If you would like to have these, you are very welcome to them.

Tip: When I am following a written tutorial, I use the Restore Down button on Photoshop and open the tut as well so that they are side-by-side. This saves the frustration of going continuously from one to the other when you are learning something new  🙂

If there are any problems or gaps in the tutorial, let me know!

juno Newbie Notes Extras

Download Juno xx copy

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 8, 2009 11:02 am

    THANK YOU! for this walkthrough. I will have to read it a few times to grasp it all (I’m a little slow, you know LOL ) Hugs

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