Creating Your own Grunge Brushes


I’ll show you a fairly simple yet very effective method of making good grunge brushes in this tutorial. Enjoy.

Photoshop Grunge Brushes

1. New Document

First of all, as usual, create a new document in Photoshop. This is up to you, do you want a very large brush that you can size down every time you want to use it? Or do you want a brush around 200 pixels in size so that it’s ready for use whenever you want to use it in a small document. It’s probably best to use a very large document size for this tutorial, but I’ll just use a small size for the sake of learning.

2. Initial Brushing

Get out one of the standard soft brushes that come with Photoshop. Size it up to whatever size you would like it, then brush a few blobs onto the background.

These are the settings I’ve got:

brush settings

This is what my random brushing looks like:


Now merge all of your layers together, so that you only have one layer.

3. Apply Texture

The next thing we need to do is apply some sort of texture to the brush. Start by finding a good texture on the internet. For this tutorial I’ve used this dirt texture that I took a few months ago.

Open up your texture and save it as a PSD file onto your desktop.

Now back to your brushing document. Be sure your layers are merged together, then go to Filter > Distort > Displace, using the settings shown below, or similar.

displace settings

After you press OK (shown in the top right of the above screenshot) you’ll be asked to choose a PSD file, this is used to displace the current document. Choose the PSD that you earlier saved to your desktop.

after displace filter

Looks pretty decent in my opinion, but be sure you mess around with different settings and textures.

4. Finishing Off

To finish this off, get another grunge brush either you made or someone else, and brush a little bit over the edges with white as your foreground color.

grunge brushing

You may also want to apply Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen to your brush layer, to give it a little more detail. Remember to get creative, remember to try different textures, filters, layer modes, etc.

After you’re finished with making the brush, select the canvas (ctrl+a) then in your Photoshop menus, go to Edit > Define Brush, then it will show up in your brushes. This is a grungy image I came up with using the brushes that I made using this tutorial:

Photoshop Grunge Brushes

Thank you all for reading this Photoshop tutorial, I hope you learned something!

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  • Wolfsong

    This is all well and great .. so far. How do I save as a brush?? I’m pretty new to PS and have no clue.


  • K

    To save as a brush, go to: Edit > Define Brush Preset… It’ll make it into a brush and you just give it a name.

  • Chris

    Uh yeah how do you save it as a legit PSD file eerytime I try to displace one it says I can’t because it’s not a real photoshop image. Can anyone help?


    • Gordon

      If you’ve saved it as a JPEG, load it into photoshop an then save it as a PSD.
      hope this helps

  • B

    This doesn’t work for me. Despite merging layers, the filter options are all greyed out? I’m using CS3.

  • april

    Make sure the file is RGB. It won’t let you apply filters otherwise.

  • Debra

    Good tutorial and very easy to follow. Thanks too to the person who asked how you set it as a brush; as much as I use the program and even though it pays my bills, I had no idea either… lol.

  • Joe

    I have Photoshop 5.0, and the Edit > Define Brush Preset isn’t there… is there another way to make a brush?

  • Laurence

    How do you save the texture as a PSD? All i can save it as is a JPEG..

  • Laurence

    Worked it out now so it’s fine

  • henry h

    answer to wolfsong’s question

    go to edit>define brush preset

  • matt

    how do you make those lines, that looks like rays of light or sun rays… and what are they called.. ?

  • SarumanX

    To save the texture as brush, u have to copy the layer, and save as PSD,
    cuz the first layer without copy, it is LOCKED, this is the problem.

  • VeenaSri

    This tutorial is useful to us.

    Thanks for send it.

    We need more like this!

  • Thea

    Nice tutorial! Didn’t occur to me that it could be so easy to make grunge brushes. Thanx :-)

  • sudhir

    great & thanx a lot !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Blopez

    Excelent tutorial!!! thanks! it’s so useful for me and so easy to follow…thanks again!

  • vishal

    it helps me to create different and improve creativity

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