While I was designing a skateboard iPhone app, I needed grip tape for much of the UI. Looking around stock photography sites told me there is a dearth of skateboarding photos—let alone grip tape—that is usable. Tried to take some photos myself, but found they weren’t coming out right. So, I made some grip tape myself that I think works perfectly for what I need.
How to make grip tape in Photoshop
- create new project in Photoshop, any size, using 72dpi and RGB
- Create new layer, call it “base layer” and fill it with #65676a
- Above that, create new layer, call it “one”
- On layer “one”: Filter > Render > Clouds
- On layer “one”: Filter > Noise > Add noise… I used 235% and uniform distribution
- Above layer “one”, create a Black & White adjustment layer. Use the “Darker” preset”.
- On layer palette, hover between “one” and the new adjustment layer and hold the option/alt key to assign the adjustment layer to the “one” layer only. If done correctly, it should look like this in your Layer palette:
- Repeat lines 2-6, call layer “two”
- Repeat lines 2-6, call layer “three”. You should be looking at this in your layers palette:
- Select only layer “two” and choose blending mode “multiply”
- Do the same for layer “three”, but make its FIll to be 73%
- Select layer “two” and hit ctrl/cmd T to get to Free Transform contextual menu. Grab left or right middle handles (small square box), hold opt/alt key, and stretch layer so it goes beyond left+right edges a bit.
- Before you apply the transformation, right-click on layer in artboard, and choose Flip Horizontal. Hit return to apply.
- Select all layers except the “base layer”, and group them using cmd/cntl G, or Layers > Group layers
- That layer group should be selected. Now change opacity to 53%. Your grip should now look like this:
Modifying it to suit
The above tutorial should get you about 95% the way there (in some case you may be stoked with it as is. If you want to mess around a bit to get it looking just right, try the following:
- Stretch or flip layers to make the speckles a bit more unevenly distributed.
- Adjust the opacity of the the layers.
- Adjust the color of the Base layer. In the tutorial PSD you will find I added a blue #397fe8 base layer to make blue grip tape. You can do this with about any color that isn’t too much darker than what you see here.
Or even an image:
Big thanks to Cruz Skate Shop for letting me use their logo.
Download tutorial file
If you are stuck, confused (or out of time), feel free to download the PSD I used to make this tutorial.
Download the PSD file 13MB
You may need to play around with stretching out layers to get the unevenness of actual grip tape to look right. Grip tape in the wild doesn’t look perfectly even in color and tend to show some subtle darker/lighter patches, which is why we start with Clouds.
Why not just use a grayscale project instead of RGB? We need the extra channels RGB offers for the noise filter to get the grain and contrast right.
Found an error or problem with this tutorial? Did you use it in a project? Feel free to comment below.