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How to Create an Old Paper Texture in Photoshop

Photoshop has some fantastic filters. You can really get creative and use texture overlays to develop interesting effects. For example, you can create photo textures. Moreover, you can create parchment paper effects. Textured effects such as these can add depth to your digital images, transforming a simple image into something artistic.

If you understand the different filters, you can create whatever your imagination can conjure. In this guide, we look at how to create an old paper texture. This texture is perfect for image backgrounds or as a photography texture overlay. In the second part, we will take a look at how to apply this texture in Luminar. Luminar is one of the best Photoshop plugins and has some brilliant effects that allow you to get creative with textures.

1. Create a new document and fill it with a solid color

First, create a new blank document (the document in our example is 1000px × 1000px at 72dpi). Fill the background layer with a solid brown (we used R 211 / B 178 / G 150). This will be the basis for your old paper texture. Choose whatever background color you feel is suitable. We chose this shade of brown as it resembles old parchment.

2. Create a new layer and apply the Clouds filter

Create a new layer on top of the brown background layer. Make sure that your color selections are reset to black and white (shortcut keys X, then D). Apply the Clouds filter: Filter > Render > Clouds. This will form the first layer of your paper texture background.

3. Apply the Spatter effect and change the overlay mode

With the second layer still selected, apply the Spatter filter: Filter > Brush Strokes > Spatter. Set the spray radius to 25 and the smoothness to 10. Once the Spatter filter has been applied, change the layer mode to overlay. The image should now start to resemble old paper. The above settings are preferable, as anything larger begins to resemble something completely different.

4. Create a new layer and apply the Clouds filter

Create a third layer on top of the second layer. Make sure the color pallete is still set to black and white, then apply the Cloud filter once again.

5. Apply the Cutout effect and change the overlay mode

With the third layer still selected, apply the Cutout filter: Filter > Artistic > Cutout. Set the number of levels to 4, the edge simplicity to 3, and the edge fidelity to 3. Once you’ve applied the filter, change the layer mode to overlay. By now, your image should strongly resemble the texture of old paper. The cutout effect is intended to mimic stains on the paper.

6. Merge layers

When steps 1 through 5 have been completed, you can merge the existing layers. Simply click on the drop-down arrow next to the layers panel and select Merge visible. This will flatten your paper texture and leave one layer to work with. Don’t choose any of the other options — you still want the layer to be editable and not locked as a background.

7. Create a new layer, fill it, and apply the Noise filter

The final stage involves adding textured grain. Create a second layer on top of the layer you’ve just merged. With the second layer selected, apply the Noise filter: Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Change the amount to 120% and the distribution to Gaussian. Make sure the Monochromatic box is ticked — this ensures that the noise is black and white. Now change the layer mode to overlay and reduce the opacity to between 10% and 15%.

8. Flatten the image and save

Your image should now resemble a paper texture or a wrinkled paper texture depending on how you look at it. Below is an example of the final image:


The settings we’ve chosen here provide you with a natural old paper texture. You can change the initial background color. Furthermore, you can change the settings of the spatter and cutout effects to give a different vintage paper texture. You can then use this image for any number of purposes. For example, you can use it as a brush to add texture to your photos. Alternatively, you can use it to create a vintage-style photo for marketing pieces.

How to add an old paper texture to an image in Luminar

Now that we’ve seen what Photoshop can do, how does this process look in Luminar? The section below describes how to add an old paper texture (such as the one we just created in Photoshop) to an image in Luminar.

Method 1 — Blend an old paper texture as a new layer

  1. Open your target image in Luminar.
  2. Add a new image layer above the original background image.


    The image you select for the next layer should be the texture you wish to apply, for instance the old paper background we created in Photoshop. This texture will cover the original image.



  3. To make the original image visible through the texture, simply reduce the opacity of the texture layer. Try different opacities to see what effect it creates with the original image and texture.


  4. If the texture doesn’t look right, you can change the layer mode. Different layer modes will blend the old paper background into the original image in different ways. Several layer modes work particularly well for this, including Overlay, Hue, and Darken.

  5. When you’ve found a suitable balance, save the image.

This method is extremely quick and easy — you can apply a texture to your image using Luminar in a matter of seconds. Furthermore, the different blend modes give great flexibility. You can benefit from these and other features if you purchase a full license for the Luminar suite.

Method 2 — Using the Texture Overlay filter

  1. Open your target image in Luminar.
  2. Click on Add filters to open the filters toolbar.
  3. Select the Texture Overlay filter in the Creative category.

  4. From here, you can load your old paper texture by clicking on Load Texture and selecting the image file from its saved location.
  5. Once the old paper background has been loaded, you can toggle the filter settings. The amount setting changes the opacity of the texture, meaning how visible it is in comparison to the original image. Zoom increases the size of the texture. It’s also possible to change the blend mode of the texture in the same way as in the first method.

  6. When you’re happy with the balance of the texture, simply save the image.

As you can see, it’s just as easy to apply an old paper texture in Luminar as it is in Photoshop. Indeed, you can use these two programs together to create some superb textured effects. Once you’ve created an old paper texture in Photoshop, you can easily apply it to an image using Luminar.

If you don’t want to create your own textures from scratch, Luminar actually has some texture presets you can download. Found Textures is an amazing texture pack featuring many different natural textures. These high-quality textures, which mimic natural materials such as metal and fiber, can be applied to photos using the methods we’ve described above. You can try out these awesome textures for yourself by downloading the free trial version of Luminar. The trial gives you full access and allows you to experience what this photo editor has to offer.

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