35 FREE Zine Texture Overlays, Get the Grungy, Photocopied Look

The zine look is a major design trend for 2019, and what better way to kick-start your intro to this DIY style than with 35 zine-worthy free textures?

Whether you overlay them onto images or use them to grunge up text, these textures were created to add on-trend dirt and damage to even the most prim and proper subject matter. The zine look is based in collage, so feel free to layer these up and throw precision out the window.

Even if you’re not making a zine, these textures are an easy way to create a grungy and worn look to your social posts, web layouts, print art and more. Think of them as the rips, pins, and patches you might use to make a fresh pair of jeans look like a decades old heirloom. With ’80s and ’90s throwbacks dominating the creative world, these textures are a win-win for all your channels.

35 FREE Zine Texture Overlays sample texturesA small sample of the textures you’ll get in this free pack.

What’s Included in This Pack of 35 Free Zine Texture Overlays?

You’ll get 35 texture image files featuring different materials, prepared for immediate use. Drag these.jpgs right into Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign and use blend modes to add their textured features on top of images and typography.

Photocopiers played a huge role in facilitating the growth, and expansion of zines. With very few resources and even less money, artists, writers, poets, filmmakers, musicians and more could makes hundreds of copies of their unique zine to distribute amongst friends and fans. With copying came re-copying, and several generations after their beginning, zines gained the the warped, dirty, blotchy, scratchy, splattered look we know and love.

The development of digital zines doesn’t abandon the rough character, either. With these zine textures you can not only mimic the look of an over-copied paper zine, but also use the textures from materials inherent to urban, industrial environs from which many zines came.

With these 35 free zine texture overlays, you’ll get:

  • Rusty, pitted metal surfaces
  • Rough textured walls
  • Rocky concrete with artistic paint splashes
  • Worn layers of asphalt
  • Dirty, unmown grass

While you’re making your collage or digital zine to share on social media, contrast your bright colors with these action-packed textures. Or, turn them into the brightly colored textures to play against other design elements. Juxtaposition is a major theme in art, especially zine art, and these give you another tool in your toolbox to bring more curious eyes to your message.

Download 35 Free Zine Texture Overlays

Getting your free marble texture backgrounds is simple; just click on the button below to initiate the download. Want to see how these backgrounds can be used on a design? Read on for tips and techniques for Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign.

By downloading this free texture pack, you agree not to resell or redistribute these assets.

How to Use Your Zine Texture Overlays

We wouldn’t leave you hanging, wondering what to do with all these cool files. Here are some suggested uses to fully employ the power of these textures, along with some inside tips to go even farther. If you’re new to these design applications, we’ve included links to learn about useful techniques.

This pack features overlays, which means you’ll need some awesome art to layer them onto. This collection of collage images features some of our favorite artwork in the Zine Culture trend. But the beauty of zines is that the subject matter is totally up to you – use these texture overlays to grunge up seamless patterns, lovely Valentine’s Day photos, or your own personal pictures.

Use Blend Modes

To create a grungy overlay that takes your design back to Xerox times, open your image in Photoshop and simply drag a texture file onto your image window to create a texture layer. Click the blend modes drop-down list and choose one that creates your desired effect.

Tip: For best results, try the blend modes Color Burn, Color Dodge, and Vivid Light first. 

35 FREE Zine Texture Overlays - Before and AfterLeft: Texture with Color Burn blend mode; Right: No texture; Texture used: Metal Wall

We used this photo of a young woman with crimped hair – very ’90s! You can find similar images by searching for portraits on Shutterstock. Or, check out the collections of Evgeniya Porechenskaya and Olesya Tseytlin for layered collages and zany pop art that serves as a perfect canvas for these textures.

Use Multiple Textures

Layer up different textures to create even more depth. If one doesn’t satisfy your anarchic goals of destruction, try two, or three, or five.

Position them all around the artboard to cherry-pick their best attributes, enlarge them, or rotate them to cover new areas – do whatever you want to get that grungy vibe.

35 FREE Zine Texture Overlays - Using Multiple TexturesTextures and Blend Modes used: Slab with Linear Burn; Asphalt and Concrete with Darker Color at 20%

Use Clipping Masks

If you want to only use certain parts of a texture overlay, use clipping, or layer masks to hide or reveal it. Select the desired texture layer, then hit the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers window.

Select the Brush tool, or hit B on the keyboard. Choose black for the foreground color and paint in the mask to hide those parts, revealing the layer beneath. For added choppiness, get the paper cut-out look by holding Shift while clicking your paint spots. Set the Hardness to 100% and adjust brush size according to desired level of detail.

Texture used: Corrugated Metal; Blend Mode used: Lighter Color

Change Colors for Clashing Color Palettes

These texture overlays come preset to black, but you can change the colors of your textures with just a few click. When you drag a texture file to an image, make the layer a Smart Object by right-clicking on the layer, and choosing Convert to Smart Object. Then, simply double-click the layer’s icon to open it as a separate file.

After opening, go to Image > Mode > Duotone in the top menu bar. Leave the Type: on Monotone. Click the colored square to open the Color Picker window, choose your color, and hit OK.

Adjust the intensity and contrast via curves by clicking the Curves icon to the left of the Color icon, or just leave it as-is.

35 FREE Zine Texture Overlays - Using Duotones to Add Colors

Mandatory Step: After you change the color of the file in Duotone or Monotone, go back to Image > Mode > and choose the color mode of the original image file that you uploaded, probably either CMYK or RGBTHEN hit save and close that file. If you don’t, Photoshop will try to save the Smart Object as a.psd file in the very buried Temporary Items folder, where Smart Object files are stored. Trust me, you cannot find this folder to access these files.

Now back in the original file, you’ll see your newly colored texture.

35 FREE Zine Texture Overlays - Colored Textures

Turn Textures into Vector Files

You can turn these textures into vectors so that you can scale them up and down, and manipulate them even further. Use them to add rough character to your vector art and icons, to match your zine style with the crispness vectors provide.

Drag a texture file to an open Illustrator canvas. With the texture selected, hit V to engage the Selection Tool.

Go up to the Menu bar and hit Live Trace. As these are high contrast and high resolution images, the default setting is usually fine. Feel free to click the drop down list for various quality and detail options.
35 FREE Zine Texture Overlays - Add Texture to Vector

Image via john dory

If you want to use these textures in tandem with other vector art, don’t forget to check out some of our vector images on Shutterstock. Here are tons of seamless pizza patterns, kawaii illustrations (another one of 2019’s biggest design trends), and 3D designs that would look great with these rough texture overlays.

Add Textures to Typography

Make your typography stand out with texture overlays in Photoshop. Use all the above techniques on type, just by making a selection and masking it out. Here’s how:

Position the texture layer above the type layer. With your type set how you want it, hold Command and then click the layer’s icon in the Layers window, making an exact selection around the type. Click back on the texture layer to activate it, then hit the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers window. Presto – textured type.

Now you either link the type and texture layers to make sure they stay perfectly aligned, or move them around for a more tattered, offset look.

35 FREE Zine Texture Overlays - Add Texture to TypographyTexture used:Weathered Metal III; Blend Mode used: Darker Color

These are just a few ways to use our free texture overlays to get the Zine Culture look. Mix up your approach with unique photos and vectors, or try your hand at footage! The trend doesn’t stop at images – we also have music collections and video clips inspired by this bright and bold aesthetic.

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