Photoshop tutorial: how to make realistic skateboard grip tape

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

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:

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

Notes

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.

Feedback

Found an error or problem with this tutorial? Did you use it in a project? Feel free to comment below.

4 Comments

Tara Smith

This is a really cool idea. It looks so realistic! For anyone who is looking to get a print of any type on a custom griptape should really check out the website http://www.whateverskateboards.com. This site allows you to pick from dozens of their different backgrounds, upload your own photos, and choose from many different fonts and text effects. They can even install it the tape for you! Here is the link if anyone wants to check them out! You can upload any image and it will come out on their griptape looking like the photos above. Here is the link: http://www.whateverskateboards.com/custom-grip-tape/

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