• How to Make Chevron (Zig-Zag) Paper from Diagonally Striped Paper in Photoshop and PSE

    This week we are continuing a series on using digital papers creatively. A good, basic set of papers is a smart investment when you know how to transform a simple paper into a more complex design. You’ll look at striped papers with new eyes when you see how easy it is to convert them to zig-zagged, chevron papers in Photoshop and PSE.

    To begin, open a piece of diagonally striped digital paper. I find that the technique works best with evenly striped designs.

    For the sample, I used a striped paper from the Cameron Essential Papers by Katie Pertiet.

    Select the paper document and get the Rectangular Marquee tool (M).
    Draw out a rectangle from the top of the paper to the bottom of the paper. For the sample, the rectangle is about 1.5 inches wide x 12 inches long.
    Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) on your keyboard. This makes the rectangle selection a layer that is above the paper layer.

    Now open a new 12x12 inch document at 300 pixels/inch by selecting File > New from the Menu and making selections in the New Document dialog box. (PSE: File > New > Blank File)

    Get the Move tool and drag the rectangle layer from the paper document onto your new blank document.

    Select the rectangle layer and press Ctrl J to duplicate it. Now you'll have two rectangle layers above the background on your new document. Select the top layer and choose Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. (PSE: Image > Rotate > Flip layer horizontal.)
    Still using the Move tool, drag the layer to the right of the original strip until it matches up, making a "mountain top" point pattern. You can zoom in to check for accuracy, making sure each stripe matches.

    Holding the Ctrl key (Mac: Cmd), select both rectangle layers in the layers panel. Once they are highlighted, drag them both to the Create a New Layer icon in the layers panel. Now you'll have four rectangle strips. The top two will be highlighted. Hold the Shift key and drag both layers to the right until you reach the edge of the second strip, making another set of "mountain top" patterns.

    Continue creating the chevron pattern by Ctrl clicking (Mac: Cmd click) the four rectangle layers and dragging them to the Create a New Layer icon. Now you'll have 8 rectangle layers. Using the Move tool, drag the selected top four to the right to continue the pattern design.
    Repeat the process until the document is full of chevron stripes.

    If the pattern does not reach the edges of the page, get the Crop tool and draw out a square that crops away any part of the paper that is not covered with chevron design.

    Choose File > Save As from the Menu and give your paper a name. Save it as a jpg so that it will be flattened and ready to use again and again.

    Using this rectangular strip method, you can double a paper pack, making chevron papers that coordinate with the striped papers in the set.