July 1, 2010


Turning a Photograph into a Polka Dot Image in GIMP

This a very quick simple tutorial and a bit of fun! I have made a range of different sizes – 50px, 75px, 100px, 150px patterns so you can easily apply the effect in seconds. I suggest you try some masking of layers as well to experiment with design :).

Polka Dot Photograph

Polka Dot Photograph

1. Making  a Polka Dot Stencil

  • Create a new document in GIMP – choose the size of your Polka Dot (I have ready made ones to download at the end of the tutorial),  Fill with: Transparency, 72 resolution should be fine:
Making a Polka Dot Stencil

Making a Polka Dot Stencil

  • Grab the Ellipse Tool, fill the square with the a circle:
  • Invert the selection, Ctrl + I or Select –> Invert:
  • Grab the Paint Fill Tool, Fill Whole Selection with Black or White:
Paint Tool

Paint Tool

  • Save this as Pattern file .pat!
  • Then copy it into your Patterns Folder – C:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\share\gimp\2.0\patterns (Could be different).

2. Pixelize

  • Open your photograph in GIMP – Duplicate your image if you’d like to do some Layer Masking later!
  • We need to pixelize the photograph to get the single solid colours for each dot – Go, Filters –> Blur –> Pixelize:
  • Now choose the size of your pixels – depends on the Polka Dot size you want (50, 75, 100, 150, custom)


3. Applying Polka Dot Pattern

  • In your Patterns Toolbar select the Polka Dot stencil you want to use (mine will be 74px BLACK):
  • Now go, Edit –> Fill with Pattern (Ctrl +;):
Applying Polka Dot Pattern

Applying Polka Dot Pattern

4. Cropping Excess

  • Your image and pattern will not always fit perfectly so a little cropping is needed.
  • Just crop to the edges of the dots:
Cropping Excess

Cropping Excess

5. Saturation

  • I recommend a little saturation to boost the effect!


6. Download Patterns

  • You may download the Polka Dot Patterns here:

Black and White (50, 75, 100, 150):

That’s It!

If you are using Photoshop here is the tutorial: Polka Dot Effect (https://pinkzap.com)

If you get stuck anywhere just comment below!

If you’d like to use these photographs please Contact Me! :) .

Please comment below if you have any questions and I’ll answer them ASAP!

All images on this site are copyrighted© – All Rights Reserved.

Written by Mike

Michael Scott is the publisher and photographer behind Scott Photographics! He is very passionate about his photography and enjoys sharing the best of his experiences for others to enjoy too! Contact Mike via email!
Read more from Featured, Gimp, Tutorials
9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Faye Flowers
    Dec 29 2017

    If I sent you a picture to make into colored dots (I want the dots the size of a single Mardi Gras bead) and the overall picture to be 30 inches wide and 20 inches high. (poster size) I only want the people color dotted. I am going to fill in the background with Mardi Gras beads. I need ASAP! Thank you!

  2. Jul 5 2010

    Thank you for this.

  3. Michael
    Jul 3 2010

    Yeah, it is alright :P

  4. Danilo Sanchez
    Jul 3 2010

    Thanks for the link.
    I didn’t know that there is gimp for osx, only knew of the Linux and Windows versions.

  5. Michael
    Jul 2 2010

    Hi Danilo,

    Unfortunately I do not use Linux! This tutorial was done on OSX :)

    There is an OSX theme for Linux here – OSX Tiger!

  6. Danilo Sanchez
    Jul 2 2010

    Sorry about my English (I’m brazilian)
    Please tell me what’s the gtk theme you use.

  7. Michael
    Jul 2 2010

    Ah yes, that is another good effect! They should consider putting in this Polka Dot effect too in the next release :) !

  8. Caesar Tjalbo
    Jul 2 2010

    Have a look at the ‘mosaic’ filter for a similar effect.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 40+ Best GIMP Tutorials of 2010 | Scott Photographics | Free Photography, GIMP & Photoshop Tutorials

Share your thoughts, post a comment.


Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

30 queries 0.572secs