Graph Paper with the Polar Coordinates Filter

with 23 Comments

Graph Paper with the Polar Coordinates Filter
by Jenifer Juris

Graph paper doesn’t have to stop at the basic grid. Learn how to make a circular graph paper background using the polar coordinates filter.

For this tutorial you’ll need:

  • Photoshop Elements or Adobe Photoshop

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Create a new 12×12 inch document (File > New > Blank File) at 300 ppi with a white background. (PS: Choose File > New.)
  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black over white.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the padlock icon of the Background layer to unlock it.

Step Two: Create the Grid

  • Click on the Foreground Color Chip to open the Color Picker.
  • In the Color Picker, pick a light blue color. I used Hex #7bb5da.
    Click OK.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Filter > Stylize > Tiles.
  • In the dialog box, set the Number Of Tiles to 40, the Maximum Offset to 1%, and the Fill Empty Area with Foreground Color.
  • Click OK.



Step Three: Create the Polar Coordinates

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates.
  • In the dialog box, choose the Rectangular to Polar option.
  • Click OK.



Step Four: Remove the Blue Corners

  • Press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T) to get the Transform options.
  • In the Tool Options, change the Width to 145%.
  • Click the checkmark to commit.

NOTE: When you change the width to 145%, your height should also change to 145%. If it doesn’t, then your program is not set to the default of Constrain Proportions (or Maintain Aspect Ratio for PS) and so you’ll need to make the height 145% as well.

  • Press Ctrl A (Mac: Cmd A) to Select All.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Image > Crop to remove the excess pixels.
  • Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect.



Step Five: Save As

  • Save the document (File > Save As) as a high quality JPEG file with a unique name.

Graph paper backgrounds can be used for so many things. Any topic you’re scrapping about will work but here are a few that really play well with the graph paper idea:

  • School or homework
  • Architecture
  • Work
  • Travel
  • And in my case, farming.

Here is how I used my polar coordinate graph paper on a scrapbook page:



Page & Photos: Jenifer Juris
Kit: Little Boys by Simple Pleasure Designs
Fonts: Veteran Typewriter, Camsay


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23 Responses

  1. Margaret
    | Reply

    Thank you, Jen. That look is very effective! I’ll give it a go.

  2. Laurel
    | Reply

    Oh thank-you! I have been looking for something like this for a travel layout for my journal book.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      You’re so welcome! 🙂

  3. Juli T Meyers
    | Reply

    This tutorial, like all of yours, is GREAT. This is perfect timing for me and I am thrilled that you are so brilliant! 🙂

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Aw, thank you SO much! You’re too sweet! 🙂

  4. Donnak
    | Reply

    How very wonderful! Simple and easy is always a plus and I love the end result of this tip. I so admire your talent. Thank you for sharing these tips with us.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      You’re welcome!! I’m so glad you like the tutorial. 🙂

  5. Susie Roberts
    | Reply

    Brilliant, Jenifer!

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Thank you so much, Susie!! 🙂

  6. Denise Bernard
    | Reply

    Haha! A couple of months ago I was looking all over for how to make graph paper.

    This is ten times simpler than what I ended up doing. I tried your instructions and got my graph paper in two shakes of a lamb’s tail!


    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Oh man, I’m a couple of months late but I’m so glad it was easy for you! 🙂

  7. Grace M
    | Reply

    Thanks so much for making this quick and easy and now I have a paper in my stash that I can see myself using for a fun page.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      You’re so welcome! I’m glad you can put it use. 🙂

  8. Linda Sattgast
    | Reply

    Very cool, Jenifer! Such a fun idea and so simple!

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Aw, thanks SO much, Linda! I’m so thrilled you like it! 🙂

  9. bthiels
    | Reply

    Love this tutorial. Thanks for sharing your talent!

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      You’re so welcome!! 🙂

  10. Jane
    | Reply

    Very Nice! One suggestion: real polar coordinate paper has concentric circles spaced about one inch apart starting 1 inch from the origin. These circles are in the same darker shade of blue as the rays. The circles make it much easier to graph since polar coordinates are in the form (r, theta) where r is the distance from the origin and theta is the angle measured counterclockwise from the origin. For your paper the rays are each 9 degrees apart (not the same as real polar graph paper but who cares).

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Thank you for sharing that information! I could never make a quick tutorial out of exact polar coordinate paper but like you said, it doesn’t matter if it’s exact for scrapbooking. 😉 These filters make quick work of some fun ideas.

  11. Terri
    | Reply

    Oh, I just love how you made the graph paper into the polar coordinate look. I’ve seen something similar in posts on Facebook, but had no idea how to accomplish it. You’re brilliant! Thanks for sharing your talent.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Terri, thank you so much! I’m so glad you liked the tutorial. 🙂

  12. Julie Singco
    | Reply

    What a great tutorial , Jenifer! Makes graph paper even more versatile. You’re page has inspired me.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Thanks so much, Julie! I’m so glad you liked the tutorial. 🙂

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