Gradient Tool + Wave Filter = Fun Chevron Striped Overlay!

with 17 Comments

Helen-DSTs-rt-paddingWinter seemed to drag on longer than usual this year, and it got me down a little. I prefer the warm, sunny days of spring. Seeing all the vibrant flowers bursting open, smelling their beautiful scents, and breathing the fresh spring air gives me a real buzz! I get the same feeling when I come across something exciting and vibrant in scrapbooking!

I was perusing Pinterest just recently and was amazed to see how popular chevrons are. They have been around for what seems like forever, but now they are seriously trendy! They can be found on cushions, curtains, wallpaper, bed linen, rugs, shoes, clothing, furniture . . . almost everywhere!

Chevron patterns are really trendy in scrapbooking, too. They add zest and energy to a scrapbook page. They can direct the flow of a layout and guide the eye toward journaling and photos. Chevron striped papers add a certain style and interest to a page. They can be clipped to alphas, used to brighten up a journal card, or cut into interesting shapes, strips, mats, and zigzag borders. They can even be turned into cool elements, like Washi Tape. Chevrons are fun, fresh, energetic and cheerful—just what we need to chase away the blues!

In this lesson, I’m going to show you a quick and easy way to create a chevron striped overlay. It will jazz up any plain paper in a jiffy and add some pizazz to your scrapbook pages!


 Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Create a new document (File > New > Blank File) that is 12 in by 12 in at 300 ppi with a white background. (Photoshop: Choose File > New.)
  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black and white.

Step Two: Add a Gradient

  • Get the Gradient tool.
  • In Tool Options, open the Gradient Picker. Choose Foreground to Background.

Note: If you do not see Foreground to Background, open the fly-out menu, choose Reset Gradients, and click OK.

  • Click on the Linear Gradient icon. Set the Mode to Normal, the Opacity to 100%, and uncheck Reverse.
  • Position your cursor at the left edge of the document.
  • Holding down the Shift key, click and drag all the way across to the right edge of the document.


Step Three: Create the Stripes

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Filter > Distort > Wave.
  • In the dialog box, enter the following settings:
    • Number of Generators: 100
    • Wavelength: Min 300, Max 301
    • Amplitude: Min 300, Max 301
    • Scale: Horiz 100, Vert 100
    • Type: Square
  • Click OK.

Note: These settings will create quite a chunky stripe. You might want to play with the settings to get the results you like best. The larger the number, the wider the stripes will be.


Step Four: Create the Chevron Waves

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Filter > Distort > Wave.
  • In the dialog box, enter the following settings:
    • Number of Generators: 5
    • Wavelength: Min 150, Max 151
    • Amplitude: Min 20, Max 21
    • Scale: Horiz 100, Vert 100
    • Type: Triangle
  • Click OK.

Note: Again, you might want to play with the settings a little to get the results you like.


Step Five: Trim the Edges and Save the Overlay

Now we need to trim the chunky edges off the overlay.

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > New > Layer from Background. Click OK.
  • Press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T) to get the Transform options.
  • In Tool Options, check Constrain Proportions. (Photoshop: Click on the Maintain Aspect Ratio icon.) Enter 106% for either the Width or Height.

Note: Keep in mind that if you entered different values in the Wave Filter dialog box, these settings may need to be different as well.

  • Double click inside the Bounding Box to commit the changes.


  • In the Menu Bar, choose Select > All.
  • Choose Image > Crop.
  • Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect.
  • Save the overlay (File > Save As) as a JPG file. Give it a name, such as, chevron_overlay and click OK.

Step Six: Use As an Overlay

  • Open a background paper of your choice (File > Open).
  • Duplicate the paper (File > Duplicate) and close the original. (Photoshop: Choose Image > Duplicate.)
  • Get the Move tool.
  • Holding down the Shift key, click on the chevron overlay and drag it onto the background paper.
  • In the Layers panel, change the Blend Mode of the chevron overlay to suit your taste.

Have fun and be creative with the overlay. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try changing the color of the overlay stripes before applying a blend mode. Or, you could delete a section of the overlay (for example, all the white stripes) and use it as a clipping mask. You could even grunge up the edges with the Eraser tool. I’d love to see what jazzy pages you create with this week’s tutorial, so please post your layouts in the Digi Scrap Tutorial of the Week Gallery. I look forward to seeing them!

Happy creating!

🙂 Hx

In the following examples, I have used papers from Hop Along by Penny Springmann (originally included in the April 2013 Premier issue).


And, here is my finished layout using the chevron overlay. On the green paper, the Blend Mode is Overlay, and the Opacity is 50%. On the yellow paper, the Blend Mode is Soft Light, and the Opacity is 30%.


Digi Scrap Tutorial: Gradient Tool + Wave Filter = Fun Chevron Striped Overlay! by Helen Ash (aka SimplyHx)
Layout: Bundles Of Fun by SimplyHx
Photos: Helen Ash
Papers: Hop Along by Penny Springmann (originally included in the April 2013 Premier issue)
Elements: Brackets extracted from a journal card and washi tape made with papers from Hop Along; palm branch from Hop Along by Penny Springmann; staple and alpha from Carefree by Amanda Heimann (originally included in the August 2012 Premier issue); stars from It’s a Man’s World by Manuela Zimmerman (originally included in the November 2011 Premier issue)
Fonts: Traveling Typewriter, DJB Jenna, and CK Ali’s Hand
Software: PS CS6, PSE 11

Download this Digi Scrap Tutorial

17 Responses

  1. Geri Devore
    | Reply

    Thanks for this tutorial!

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      You’re welcome, Geri! 🙂 Hx

  2. Finja
    | Reply

    wieder so ein geniales Tutorial,
    vielen Dank fürs teilen.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      You’re welcome, Finja! Thank you so much 🙂 Hx

  3. Tora
    | Reply

    Hi Helen – yes I´m still here LOL thanks for this tut

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Hi Tora! You’re welcome! 🙂 Hx

  4. Jessica Trotter
    | Reply

    Wow! I didn’t realize how you could do so much with the gradient tool and waves! That was very exciting! Thank you!

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Hi Jessica, I’m so glad you found this tutorial exciting. Playing with the Photoshop tools can be a lot of fun! 🙂 Hx

  5. Nannette
    | Reply

    Fun, fun, fun! I love how you I love how you have shown the different effects we can achieve with this tutorial. I love chevrons thanks again for the fun tutorial.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      😀 I know I’m a little late catching up with these comments… but I just wanted to say thank you for your support, Nann, and I’m glad you found the tut to be so much FUN! 🙂 Hx

  6. Patricia Houser
    | Reply

    So many cool things to learn…fun stuff!!

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      I agree, Patricia… there is sooo much fun to be had with Photoshop! 🙂 Hx

  7. Priscilla
    | Reply

    Thank you! You explain – and show – so clearly how to do this! And the tutorial included a variety of tools of scrapbooking. It was fun following your directions and making some chevron overlays of my own. When I make a page using it in the future, I will post it.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      You’re welcome, Priscilla, and it’s great to hear that you had fun with the tutorial. Thanks for your lovely comment! 🙂 Hx

  8. Barbara Manchester
    | Reply

    Great tutorial–easy to follow along, and what a great look for so many projects!

  9. Rachel Ray
    | Reply

    I can’t for the life of me, find this tutorial…:>(

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