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Create Background With Polka Dot Pattern in GIMP 2.8

I'm a stock photographer with a passion for writing. I have extensive experience using GIMP to edit photos and create new designs.

Background with Polka Dot pattern made in GIMP 2.8

Background with Polka Dot pattern made in GIMP 2.8

In this tutorial, I want to show you how to create a simple pattern in GIMP. As an example, I decided to make a polka dot pattern which can be seen everywhere: on cloths and kitchen utensils, and as backgrounds

How to Make a Polka Dot Pattern Using GIMP

You'll need to first download GIMP if you don't already have it.

  1. Open GIMP and make a new file by going to File / New / 100 x 100px.
  2. Make a new Transparent Layer by going to Layer / New / Transparency.
  3. Create Guides by going to Image / Guides / New Guide (by Present) / Horizontal / 50%
  4. Now, repeat each step, but change Horizontal to Vertical. You should have an image with two lines going across like in Fig 1.
  5. Activate “Snap to Guide” by going to View / Snap to Guides and tick it.

    Activate “Snap to Canvas Edges” by going to View / Snap to Canvas Edges and tick it.
  6. Activating “Snaps” will help us with the placement of the dots.
  7. Select a 100% Hardness brush and set the size to 30px.
  8. Set your foreground colour to White, make the background layer invisible by clicking on the eye icon next to it and place 4 dots like shown in Fig 2. When making dots, you should feel how your brash is slightly magnetised to the guides and to the edges of the canvas.
  9. Save your pattern by going to File / Export (note I’m using GIMP 2.8) / Username / GIMP 2.8 / Patterns.Create a pattern name of your choice and going to “Select file type (by extension)” click on GIMP pattern. Now the name of your pattern should finish with .pat
  10. Now go to your Patterns dialog and click the Refresh button as shown in Fig 3.If you don’t have your patterns activated, go to Windows / Dockable dialogs / Patterns.
  11. Find your Polka dot pattern and click on it.
  12. Create a new image by going to File / New / 1000 x 1000.
  13. Using Bucket Fill add red colour to your image.
  14. With your Bucket tool activated go to Tool Options and switch from FG colour fill to Pattern fill. Make sure Fill whole selection is selected.
  15. Now click anywhere on the image, it should now get filled with dots as shown in Fig 4.
  16. Save your background by going to File / Export / Select folder / Give a name to your background and select JPG from “Select file type (by extension)”, press Export.

Final note: This pattern is seamless, so if you duplicate the background with this pattern and place one next to another, you will get an identical continuous pattern.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Dahan on July 22, 2020:

Didn't work for me :/ The new texture is available but it's all transparent. When I fill some layer with it, nothing happens. It's like i'm painting with no ink

Kacey on February 19, 2019:

Awesome thanks a bunch! Helped me out so much!

PETRA ALVAREZ on March 27, 2016:

i have followed this step by step but I can never get it when I go to exportnd then do it it doesnt work

Dina Blaszczak (author) from Poland on June 21, 2014:

@Payton That's great! :D

Payton on June 20, 2014:

Awesome tutorial, this helped me a lot! Thanks!! :-)

Dina Blaszczak (author) from Poland on June 11, 2014:

@Little Miss Katy I'm very pleased that you enjoyed my tutorial ;)

Little Miss Katy on June 10, 2014:

Super helpful! Thank you!!! :D I made my website background using this tutorial.

Dina Blaszczak (author) from Poland on November 05, 2013:

@Adam McCollough Well done for trying to make something new on GIMP ;)

Adam McCollough on November 05, 2013:

What a brilliant, straight forward tutorial. It really did only take a few minutes as promised, perfect result. Thank you!

Dina Blaszczak (author) from Poland on March 22, 2013:

@Caroline I'm so pleased to hear it! :)))

Caroline on March 21, 2013:

Wow, this helped me a lot. Thank you so much! Keep up with the good work. =)