Clipping Masks and Pattern Overlays in Gimp | Tutorial

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In this tutorial we discuss clipping masks and pattern overlays using the free and open source - gimp image editing program.

Well, I had a hard drive failure on my work desktop over the weekend.  While I'm waiting for a new one. I have migrated to the kitchen computer, which is running Ubuntu Linux.  I figured that it would be nice to post some simple gimp tutorials, so here ya go!

Clipping Mask:

Resources Used: 
Note: These images have been resized in this tut.

Open Circle Mat Template mask
Open Paper Pattern
Pattern Window: Select All>Edit>Copy
Mask Window: Edit>Paste as New Layer

Right Click on Mask Layer in Layers Palette>Alpha to Selection

Click on Pattern layer and delete with delete key, then reorganize layers or hide your mask.


Pattern Overlay:

This will require installing an add on Called "Fx Foundry Scripts Pack" from the Gimp Plugins Registry. Tp directly download from Source Forge, go here: Fx Foundry Scripts Pack. To install, unzip the folder>open>select all>copy, then paste the  .scm files in the gimp scripts folder. This path will differ depending on which operating system you are using.

Linux: Path: /home/(username)/.gimp-2.6/scripts.  You will need to set your window to view hidden files or hit control-H.
Windows: Path: C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files (x86) if you are running a 64 bit operating system.
If you have multiple user accounts running gimp and want to install scripts or resources just for yourself, navigate to C:\Users\(username)\.gimp-2.6\

Once you install and launch gimp, you should see a new menu entry called "Fx-Foundry" at the top.

You may want to go ahead and install some additional patterns as well.  I have found a nice list over at deviant art: Category>Resources & Stock Images>Application Resources>Tileable Patterns Search, or with keywords "patterns textures"

Note: Look for sets that contain tileable images.  You will not be able to use .pat files without converting them, which would require yet another tutorial! :)  Some DA artists will include the image files along with the .pat in the zip.

Patterns Installation: Patterns go into the patterns folder within your gimp installation.  Browse the same path listed above to navigate to "patterns" instead of "scripts".

Open up a mask/overlay template in gimp.  It's a good idea to save the document in a layered format, either gimp's native .xcf or .psd. I have used a lace edge mask template from pixeled memories. Mine is doubled in width and resized.  If you would like to download a copy, you may grab it here.

Note: You may be able to just click on the lace (or overlay) layer  in your layers palette, and go to Fx-Foundry>Layer Effects>Pattern Overlay.  I did have issues with it when doing an overlay with an image that's not square. Try that first in your experimentations to see if it works for you.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not - depending on what overlay I am working with. It won't damage your base overlay layer, as it creates a new pattern layer on top.

Create a new layer and give it a name, then select the paint bucket tool & fill the layer.  With that layer selected in the layers panel, go to Fx-Foundry>Layer Effects>Pattern Overlay. Browse to choose desired pattern.

Next right click on your ribbon or mask layer and select "alpha to selection", then select>invert from the file menu above.  Select the pattern overlay layer and hit the delete key and then select>none. For the original layer that was filled with the paint bucket,  you will need to either delete or hide visibility with the eye icon in the layers palette.


In case you would like to know what settings I used for the Fx- Foundry drop  shadow on the top and bottom ribbon here, I've attached screenshots:

Top Drop Shadow:

Bottom Drop Shadow:

Resources Credit: 
Sofia01 Floral Patterns
Pattern Part 5 By Crazy Alice
Pattern Part 7 By: Crazy Alice
Misc Items from: Pixeled Memories

Digital Design Seamless Kraft Paper Patterns Tileable Paper Trims Web Headers & .pat file Fresh Bread Textures Doodly Doodle True Type Font Vintage Wallpaper Phothshop Illustrator Pattern Burlap Texture for Photoshop
Seamless Vintage Ornament Overlays & Patterns .pat file for Photoshop Professional Paper Backgrounds and Photoshop Brushes Tileable Cardboard Textures Photoshop .pat Patterns Tileable Canvas Texture .pat Pattern Vintage Wallpaper Pattern Photoshop Illustrator .pat
Premium Black & White Vintage Pattern Photoshop .pat Tileable Paper Textures .pat Pattern for Photoshop Design
Cute Blog Themes
Steampunk Wordpress Theme


  1. Thank you for your freebies. Link on your post was added to PickleMouse freebie list

  2. Why Clipping Masks tutorial that i make is not suceess??
    Ahh, hate it..why2?
    whats wrong with gimp..hmm
    everything are okay, but
    i dont understand this>>

    Click on Pattern layer and delete with delete key, then reorganize layers or hide your mask.

  3. Seul,

    Is your layer not deleting the inverted selection? If so it may be the base layer. Try creating another layer to see what it does. You can hide all of your other layers temporarily by clicking on the eye icon in the layers palette.

  4. Thanks to share the excellent site.

  5. The only thing listed in my "layer effects" is "apply mirrors" and "Horton effects." Please advise.

    1. It appears that gimp FX foundry stopped development at gimp version 2.6. If you're looking to do the alpha to selection, once you've selected object > it's layer>transparency>alpha to selection. When that's done, add a new layer and just use the bucket fill with pattern instead of color.