Lots of designers—and even photographers—like to layer paper textures over their work to add dimension or use a paper background to create a handmade look. 

Read on to learn more about where to find free textures and how to start using them creatively.

Where to Find Paper Texture Files

Check out the sites below for hundreds of free textures and paper backgrounds. Search for the specific texture you’re looking for to narrow things down, such as:

  • Old paper texture or vintage paper texture
  • Crumpled paper texture or wrinkled paper texture 
  • Watercolor paper texture
  • Folded paper texture
  • Ripped paper texture

1. Behance

folded paper texture
Source: Behance
Folded paper texture from Parviz Guliyev on Behance.

2. Pixelbuddha

torn paper
Source: Pixel Buddha
Ripped paper texture from Pixelbuddha.

3. Deeezy

crumpled paper
Source: Deezy
Wrinkled paper texture (or crumpled paper texture) from Deezy.

4. GraphicBurger

vintage paper
Source: Graphic Burger
Old paper texture (or vintage paper texture) from GraphicBurger.

5. Pexels

paper texture
Source: Pexels
Watercolor paper texture by Eva Elijas on Pexels.

6. Pixabay

texture paper
Source: Pixabay
Parchment paper texture by ChrisFiedler on Pixabay. 

How to Add Paper Texture in Photoshop or Illustrator

If you’re wondering how to make paper texture in Photoshop or Illustrator, there’s really no need. Better to use one of the many free textures that exist, and follow the steps below to add it to your work!

1. Find (or Create) Your Texture

graphite on paper texture
Create your own paper textures and scan them into your computer for digital use.

If you can’t find the exact texture you’re looking for, try making your own handmade textures and scanning them into your computer. You can also snap photos of paper textures you find. 

2. Import Your Paper Texture

Open a paper texture in Photoshop, then copy it and paste it into your design.

Bringing the paper texture into the design you’re working on is usually as easy as copying and pasting, though you may need to change the file type depending on the program. Some paper textures you can leave as-is—others you may want to change to grayscale and increase the contrast to get the look you want. 

3. Play With the Settings to Achieve the Desired Effect

photoshop of a dog
Use clipping masks to limit your paper texture to one area of your design.

Some of the most common settings you’ll want to tinker with are where your texture sits in the layers of your design, the blending mode you’re using, and clipping masks to limit your texture to a certain area of your image. Learn more in this step-by-step guide on how to add textures to Photoshop illustrations!

Add Texture to Your Designs!

Poster Design: Textures and Halftones for Screen Printing

Written by:

Erin Greenawald