Pattern Pop

with 10 Comments

Pattern Pop
by Jenifer Juris

Learn how to quickly make parts of your patterned paper pop off the page!

Step One: Open a Background Paper

  • Open a paper (File > Open) that has a patterned paper background.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose File > Duplicate. (Photoshop: Choose Image > Duplicate.)
  • In the dialog box, click OK.
  • Close the original patterned paper background.

I’ve included the polka-dot paper I use below as a download so you can follow along.

This effect works best with a pattern that uses medium to large shapes. You want the pattern’s shapes to have a solid color. If the shape within the pattern is multi-colored, this will not work. Also, you want the shape of the pattern to have good contrast with its surroundings, unlike a tone-on-tone pattern. Some examples of what to look for:


Step Two: Select a Shape

  • Get the Magic Wand tool.
  • In the Tool Options, click on the New Selection icon and set the Tolerance to 20. Check both Contiguous and Anti-Aliasing. (Photoshop: Set the Sample Size to Point Sample.)
  • On the document, click once on a part of the pattern you wish to pop to get a selection outline.

TIP: If not all pixels within the shape get selected, try adjusting the Tolerance higher. If too many pixels get selected, try adjusting the Tolerance lower. The Tolerance settings will slightly vary from pattern to pattern.


Step Three: Duplicate the Selection and Add a Drop Shadow

  • Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate the selection.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Layer Style > Style Settings. (Photoshop: Choose Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow.)
  • In the dialog box, click on the box next to Drop Shadow. Set the Lighting Angle to 120˚, the Size to 30 px, the Distance to 15 px, and the Opacity to 50%.
  • Click OK to commit the changes.


Step Four: Create More Pops (Optional)

  • In the Layers panel, click on the patterned paper layer to activate it.
  • Repeat steps two and three.

Here’s my finished scrapbook page:


Here’s a greeting card I made using this technique:

Card Front
Card Inside


I hope this gives you some fun ideas on how to make your patterns pop!

Page & Photo: Jenifer Juris
Tutorial: Pattern Pop by Jenifer Juris
Kit: Per Diem by One Little Bird
Fonts: Manhatten Darling, Monopoly Bold
Card: Jenifer Juris
Tutorial: Pattern Pop by Jenifer Juris
Kit: Make A Wish by Kim Broedelet
Font: The Treasured Years Display


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Jenifer JurisAuthor: Jenifer Juris | Contact Us
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10 Responses

    | Reply

    LOVE IT! Just what I need to make design elements on a background paper (flowers, wheelbarrows, bunnies, etc.) pop – giving the page a 3-dimensional look. I’ll be practicing this one until I get it perfect.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Great! So glad you enjoyed it!! 🙂

  2. Louise Workman
    | Reply

    Thank you Jen. This is so simple and easy!

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      You’re so welcome! Glad you like it!! 🙂

  3. Betsy
    | Reply

    Thanks. That was a fun lesson and good to know!

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      You’re welcome! 🙂

  4. Terri
    | Reply

    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing your creativity.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      You’re welcome! Glad you like it!! 🙂

  5. Kasuku
    | Reply

    Thanks, Jen!
    I love this idea and will put it to use right away.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      I’m so glad you love it and I can’t wait to see how you use it! 🙂

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