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DIY Rainbow Polka Dot Filters: Pot of Gold Not Included

Add some color and design to your photos with these easy-peasy, printable DIY Rainbow Polka Dot Filters. All the steps, tips, and tricks from someone who's made it to the other side of the rainbow.

Photo by sixsixty

What you’ll need:

  • Transparency Paper. They make these for either inkjet or laserjet printers. I only have a color laserjet, however I think these filters would work even better with an inkjet printer. Please get the paper that matches your printer type.
  • Color printer. If you don’t have one, just go over to someone’s house that does! Note: You should probably ask beforehand.
  • Photoshop. You don’t need photoshop, but this tutorial covers how to make the polka dots in Photoshop.
  • Scissors. Tape. Cardboard. Some sweet tunes to work to.

First, I’ll go over making the Rainbow Polka Dot pattern.

If you’re not one to follow “the rules” feel free to mess around with Photoshop for different effects. And, stick it to the man! Check out the images below for more information.

  • Create a new document the size you want to print. I just chose the default U.S. Paper Letter which is 8.5 × 11.
  • Select the Gradient Tool. Then in the Gradient Tool menu select one of the patterns, I chose spectrum.
  • With the Gradient Tool draw your first spectrum. You may want to experiment with different sizes and lengths especially if you are using 120 and 35mm films.
  • Create a few more layers and draw more gradients. You can make them all the same size or try out a few different lengths. When done, flatten the image, this will help out in later steps.
  • At this point you could print this out as one filter option. It may help to try printing these at different opacities to change the strength of the color in the final picture.
  • In addition to a gradient you can turn this into solid colors by applying Posterize to this image. Image→Adjustments→Posterize. Play around with the level of Posterize—I used 2.
  • One way to make the polka dots is to open up a new document the same size as the previous one. Then with the paint bucket tool just make the whole thing a gray color. You want to make a mid level gray, I found different shades make different dots, so you might want to play around with that too.
  • Next, change this document to a bitmap. Image→Mode→Bitmap. You might have to change the image to an 8bit Grayscale first, then to a bitmap.
  • When making a bitmap be sure to choose method→ Halftone. Then you can play around with the next screen but I chose Frequency 5, Angle 45, Shape Round.
  • You should now have a page full of dots or something that looks close to dots. If not, try a different shade of gray or learn to love the Frankenstein’s monster you’ve now created. Now copy the whole page of dots and paste that whole page on top of your rainbow gradient image.
  • Select everything that is not a dot by going to Select→Color Range. Then Select Shadows. This will select everything that is black on this Layer. You can now delete this dots layer.
  • While the selection is still active go to the rainbow layer and hit delete. This should now leave you with a page of rainbow polka dots! YAY!
  • Print this masterpiece out! Be sure to play around with different opacities, shapes, sizes and masks.

Now that you have a printed mask it’s time to cut those up and get them in your camera.

  • I found that these work best Inside the camera. So open up your camera of choice (I used a Lubitel 166+ and a Sprocket Rocket) and then cut a rainbow pattern to fit right in front of where the film goes.
  • Tape the filter in well! This is important, my first roll the filter came off halfway through and ended up getting sucked into the roll of film! Also be sure that the filter doesn’t interfere with any moving camera parts.
  • Shoot! This might take a roll or two to experiment with. Try shooting different things, I found brighter days work best, and shots with plenty of sky in them really highlight the colors. Try bigger or smaller gradients, different patterns, different opacities and different films!
  • Finally be sure to post your images on your lomo home and tag them with DIYFILTER (one word) so we can all search for them and see what amazing images you come up with!

written by sixsixty

58 comments

  1. scarletmind

    scarletmind

    wow! very original!! :D

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. kekskonstrukt

    kekskonstrukt

    awesome! must try this immediately! ;)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  3. sixsixty

    sixsixty

    @kekskonstrukt Yay! Can't wait to see what awesome shots you come up with!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  4. jaszee

    jaszee

    WOAH!! been wanting to do this however mine came out fail each time!! NOW I SHALL GET BACK AND WORK ON IT! Thanks!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  5. sapphire-st

    sapphire-st

    had been wanting to try these out for a long time now! - thanks!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  6. djramsay

    djramsay

    fantastic idea

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  7. neanderthalis

    neanderthalis

    That is super cool! I want to try it myself.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  8. buckshot

    buckshot

    Funky filters! And congrats on a very entertainingly written article! It seems there's been a bit of a rainbow theme going on in the community over the past few days. This was my contribution, from Friday: http://www.lomograph(…)adrachromes It has to be said, with a summer as grim as this one has been so far (at least in England), anything that adds a bit of colour is welcome, right? ;-)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  9. sixsixty

    sixsixty

    @jaszee Good Luck! Let me know if you need any extra tips or pointers. You got this!!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  10. sixsixty

    sixsixty

    @neanderthalis I hope you try it! Can't wait to see what shots you come up with. And, don't forget to tag your shots with DIYFILTER.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  11. sixsixty

    sixsixty

    @buckshot yeah totally been a bunch of rainbow stuff lately. Luckily they are all slightly different. I'm excited for people to try them all!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  12. jaszee

    jaszee

    HAH! Printing mine now. !:D thanks for the awesome tips! im sure will let u see the results.
    By the way.. i cant seem to make lots of rainbow in diff layers.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  13. ester_s_ch

    ester_s_ch

    Espectacular !!!!!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  14. lomographysf

    lomographysf

    YAAA!!!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  15. sixsixty

    sixsixty

    @jaszee Great Catch! make one layer rainbow. then the next layer make it in about the same spot, then move the entire layer down. repeat and you should be able to have multi rainbow layers showing. or just duplicate the rainbow layer and then move it down. then you can resize those layers if you want a bigger or smaller rainbow.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  16. jaszee

    jaszee

    @sixsixty AHH!! That explains it! *facepalm. HHAHAHAHA THANK YOU! :D

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  17. gendis

    gendis

    love it

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  18. radiactive

    radiactive

    Cool!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  19. mensa

    mensa

    finally! thank you!! :D

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  20. marissa

    marissa

    Very cool! I will translate it in Dutch! (But not now.. Friday (-: )

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  21. blinghaha

    blinghaha

    Fantastic, might try with sweet wrappers!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  22. sixsixty

    sixsixty

    @blinghaha Great idea! Can't wait to see how those come out!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  23. sixsixty

    sixsixty

    @marissa Very Cool!!!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  24. m_e

    m_e

    I will try this asap....great Idea!:)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  25. quietedheart

    quietedheart

    This is so cool!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  26. zynneh

    zynneh

    I've put all sorts of things in my cameras, but I never thought to make a filter in photoshop... G'uh!
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  27. sixsixty

    sixsixty

    @zynneh Soo much more I want to try with these cameras! I think my next experiment is going to glue little figures inside my diana.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  28. jasmijn

    jasmijn

    This is awesome!
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  29. wzzk

    wzzk

    very great article, thanks for posting it!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  30. sixsixty

    sixsixty

    @wzzk Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  31. 110isnotdead

    110isnotdead

    That is awesome, I'm gonna go home and fiddle around with this 2nite. Thanks alot. :)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  32. sixsixty

    sixsixty

    @110isnotdead Nice! I've very excited to see what you shoot!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  33. mafiosa

    mafiosa

    Excellent technique and effect. Now i'm motivated to buy a printer.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  34. dearjme

    dearjme

    I will try this! Well... the transparencies. Perhaps i'll do a different mask print. But love your thorough tips :)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  35. sixsixty

    sixsixty

    @dearjme Thanks! I'm excited to see what filters you come up with!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  36. megzeazez

    megzeazez

    Love the results!!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  37. arigatomrrobato

    arigatomrrobato

    Cant wait to try this!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  38. sixsixty

    sixsixty

    @arigatomrrobato I can see you taking some seriously beautiful shots with these filters.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  39. zynneh

    zynneh

    @sixsixty I'm not sure I could bring myself to glue anything in! I've got filters in the Diana & Holga now though :D
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  40. epfencer

    epfencer

    love the effect!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  41. reiga

    reiga

    this is nice, love it

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  42. jasminfish

    jasminfish

    I love it! this is crazy! this could change lives hahaha LOMO ON

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  43. sixsixty

    sixsixty

    @jasminfish it does change lives! it also cures hiccups and opens tiny portals.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  44. shea_w

    shea_w

    Wow great idea! Imma gonna start one!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  45. jetnz81

    jetnz81

    Woo~ thanks for sharing ^^ Great

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  46. dietmtndew

    dietmtndew

    amazing tipster. can't wait to try it next time i get some color film. Now i wonder if i can print photoshop filters?
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  47. twinklecat

    twinklecat

    awesomeness! totally inspiring!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  48. klaryssa

    creative!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  49. astilla

    astilla

    nice! :) great tipster!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  50. tonysykes

    tonysykes

    Bloody brilliant!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  51. schlogoat

    schlogoat

    I couldn't make this work! For one, my dots were black on white instead of white on black like yours, but I could invert that. For another, if you flatten the image after you've made your gradient layers, how can you delete that layer at the end? And after the Colour Range>Shadows selection, I had a page of moving dots!- the dot outlines were flickering across the page. Weird? Must've missed something.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  52. sixsixty

    sixsixty

    @schlogoat you're soo closes! 1) For the dots being black on white or white on black, that doesn't really matter, we are only using this to create a selection. so you can select the black being the dots or the white being the dots, it works either way. you could also just select whatever is black and then under selection invert it, or I think it's option-i to do that. 2) you want to flatten the gradient layer, just as long as you aren't flattening it into what photoshop calls the "background" layer. And when we delete that layer, what i mean is we are deleting the selection in that layer and making that selection transparent. When you have the page of moving dots, that moving dots is actually a mask. and when that mask is on the gradient layer and you hit delete, it deletes everything in that mask and leaves the rest. I could also just send you the file of rainbow dots too if you need.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  53. aaron_anderer

    aaron_anderer

    I just gave your method a try last week. Wow, I love the results! http://www.flickr.com/photos/aaron_anderer/sets/72157631276293422/
    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  54. sixsixty

    sixsixty

    @aaron_anderer awesome!!! those came out fun!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  55. herbert-4

    herbert-4

    Wonderful!!! article. I will mess with this. I have GIMP, though, but I can still do that, I think. Have a look at this... http://www.lomograph(…)tal-doubles and enjoy.

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  56. nike-liscaljet

    nike-liscaljet

    definitely gonna try this one!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  57. giuliabocchese

    Nice!!
    9 months ago · report as spam
  58. giuliabocchese

    Nice!!
    9 months ago · report as spam

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