Stained, Old Paper Texture in Photoshop

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In 1 minute, learn how to create a lightsaber in Photoshop using the Brush Tool, Layer Styles, and a Layer Mask!

“Minute Photoshop” videos aren’t meant to be in-depth tutorials. They are available to give you an idea as to what’s possible, and how it is accomplished.

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Written Tutorial

The size of the starting document isn’t too important for this tutorial, but I’m going to be starting with a 1920 by 1080 pixel document, filled with a very dark brown color, which will appear behind the paper.

Old Paper Document

The first layer we’re going to create, will be the base for the paper. So in your Layers Panel, create a new Layer, then we’re going to fill it with a lighter brown: #e1cab0.

Old Paper New Layer

Now that the paper layer is in place, let’s start applying a few Filters, but before you do, make sure to convert the layer into a Smart Object, so you can easily edit those filters at a later point.

Old Paper Smart Object

Good, the first Filter will be Noise, just to give a subtle hint of speckling. 3.5%, Uniform, and Monochromatic should give you a nice amount of speckling.

Old Paper Noise

Now that the noise is in place, we’ll be able to add our next filter, which can be found in the Filter Gallery.

Old Paper Filter Gallery

Once the Filter Gallery is up, expand the Artistic section, and choose the Underpainting Filter. This will add some chipping and fraying to the paper texture. The settings usually come down to personal preference, but I’m going to max out the Brush Size and Texture Coverage, then set the Texture to Burlap with a scaling of 200%, and a relief of 5.

Old Paper Underpainting

Press okay to apply the final filter.

Next, we need to create an additional layer to really give some age to this design. Once again, create a new layer, and this time, clip it to the paper layer. This can be done by holding down Alt/Option, placing your cursor right in-between those layers until you see the downwards arrow, and clicking. This may seem pointless now, but it’ll make sense shortly.

Old Paper Clipping Mask

To start off this texture, we’re going to fill it with a simple Clouds filter, but again, before that’s done, convert the layer into a Smart Object.

Old Paper Smart Object

As the Clouds filter uses your foreground and background colors, set them to black and white by pressing the “D” key on your keyboard. Once the colors are set, Filter > Render > Clouds to fill in your new layer.

Old Paper Clouds Filter

Obviously, we’re not going to be sticking with our black and white clouds, but we’re going to be using them to interact with the previous paper layer using our Blend Modes. Double-click on the Layer to bring up the Layer Styles dialogue, and stay within the Blending Options section. We’re first going to change the Blend Mode to Color Burn in order to, well, burn at the previous layer.

Old Paper Color Burn

Already that’s looking quite nice, but just to pull out some of the harsher tones of this layer, we can use the Blend If option at the bottom. With your Alt/Option key held down, drag the right side of the shadows slider to the right, until you’re happy with the result.

Old Paper Blend If

Of course, if you liked the way it looked before this adjustment, you can certainly leave the Blend If option alone.

Now you *could* stop here, but that would be boring! To take this a step further, let’s add a nice border around the paper. Go ahead and select the original paper layer, then with your Rectangular Marquee Tool, draw out a selection around the paper, about an inch in from the edges of the document.

Old Paper Marquee Selection

When the selection has been made, add a Layer Mask to hide what was outside of that selection, revealing the brown layer underneath.

Old Paper Layer Mask

Now in order to create ripped edges, we’re going to be applying Filters to the Layer Mask, rather than the layer, itself.

The first Filter will be a Wave distortion (Filter > Distort > Wave) in order to get rid of the boring straight edges. The settings you use may differ from mine, depending on the size of your document.

Old Paper Wave Filter

Once you apply the Wave filter, you’ll probably notice that the edges are now way too smooth.

Old Paper Wave

In order to roughen them up, we’re going to add one more filter to the Layer Mask. This time, back in the Filter Gallery, choose the Spatter filter, which is in the Brush Strokes section.

Old Paper Spatter

Finally, to finish off this design and to add a bit of depth to the paper, let’s add a few Layer Styles, starting with an Inner Shadow.

Old Paper Inner Shadow

And lastly, an Inner Glow to darken up the edges even more.

Old Paper Inner Glow

Press okay to see your final result.

Old Paper Texture Final