Thursday, November 4, 2010

Make a houndstooth pattern in Photoshop CS5

Today I decided to I would show everyone how to make a houndstooth pattern in photoshop. I first decided to make the pattern while meandering through the mall and I noticed it everywhere, so without further delay here we go...

PLEASE NOTE: I'm working on a mac so all key commands are for mac.

Lets start by making a new file...

I made mine 100px by 100px with a 10px/in resolution (I chose that resolution because it makes the grid line up even and helps make it more exact...)

Then select the zoom tool (z key) to open the zoom option along the top click fit screen so you can see what you're doing.

also make sure the grid is on (command + ' ) and make sure snap option is on (command + shift + ; )

Designing the pattern
Lets get started...

select the pen tool (p key) and

In the option toolbar along the top, make sure shape layer is selected, and make the outline color none and fill color black.

The pattern consists of only 4 shapes!  I did it from the left, you can go from either side...
  • First shape

Make your first point in the top left corner.
Then 80px to the right or at the 8th line make your second point.
For your third point go down 50px or 5 lines and then left 50px or 5 lines.
Next go 30px or 3 lines back to the left for your fourth point.
Lastly connect to your first point to complete the shape (see picture above)!
this is why I picked the resolution of 10px/in notice the solid lines are each 10px apart (It's just easier).

  • Second shape

Start in the bottom left, make your first point.
Make your second point 50px right and 50px up
The third point is 20px above that.
Then the fourth is 50px left and 50px down. it runs along the angled edge of the first shape and runs along the left edge of the document.
Lastly connect to your first point to complete the shape (see picture above)!

  • Third shape

Starting from the top right, make your first point
Make your second point 50px left and 50px down connect it with the second point of the second shape.
Make your third point 20px right of the second.
Make your fourth point 30px right and 30px up from that
Lastly connect to your first point to complete the shape (see picture above)!
  • Fourth (last) shape
Starting from the bottom 20px from the left make your first point.
The second point is 30px to the right and 30px up.
The third point is 30px down along the bottom.
Lastly connect to your first point to complete the shape (see picture above)!

Making the pattern

First you want to combine the shape layers you created by first selecting all layers

And then merge layers (command + E or  Layers > Merge layers)

Now you make this your pattern. Select Edit > Define Pattern.

A dialog box will appear asking you to name your patter, I chose "HoundsTooth"

And that's it all there is to making the pattern.

Using the pattern

To use your pattern select the layer you want to use the pattern on and open the "Layer Properties" dialog box (double click the layer).
From the style list select Pattern Overlay.
In the pattern overlay select the "HoundsTooth" pattern we created from the pattern drop down box.
you can adjust the pattern by using the scale slider below the drop down box. 

You can change the opacity of the pattern to show whats underneath, like in the gradient example at the top of this post

That's it! Thanks for reading, I'll post more soon! Let me know what you think and check out my website at


  1. Wow super easy to follow instructions. I can see myself using this pattern for scrap booking and card making. Thank you for posting.

  2. I really love this post. I've never used the pen tool but I totally get it now. You made pattern making so easy and I love how you actually mentioned how to actually use it. So good. Thank you so much. I {heart} houndstooth!