How to Create a Purple, Spirit Day-Inspired iPhone Wallpaper in Adobe Photoshop

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Learn how to design a purple iPhone wallpaper in honor of Spirit Day! For this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use gradient backgrounds, star brushes, and more to create an iPhone wallpaper design.

Take a Stand Against Bullying

Each year, millions wear purple on Spirit Day as a sign of support for
LGBTQ youth and to speak out against bullying. Take the pledge to go
purple! — GLAAD.org

So last year, I created this Photoshop Action to create a quick photo effect for Spirit Day.

By running the custom action, you can apply a purple filter and a few simple shapes onto any picture to show your support for the awareness. 

This time, I wanted to do something a little different.

My mind is just blown that I get access to so many lovely goodies on Envato Elements, so lately I’ve been sifting through all the background collections to find one to put my spin on.

Keep in mind, you will need a subscription for the gradient and vector items I used, but you can also play around with free stocks for this, while still using our free brush pack.

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used in the productions of this tutorial:

Expand your collection! Paint stars, draw hair, or apply grunge effects with this free Photoshop Brush Pack of 10 essential brushes.

1. How to Set Up the Wallpaper Size

iPhone Wallpaper Dimensions

The size of your wallpaper will depend on your personal iPhone. I’ve got an iPhone 6, so we’ll just go with that.

Here are a few sizes you can consider:

Screen: 1334 x 750
Wallpaper: 1608 x 852
for iPhone 6

Screen: 1920 x 1080
(downsampled from 2208 x 1242)
Wallpaper: 2662 x 2662
for iPhone 6 Plus

Find the right wallpaper size for your iPhone. Here are some helpful links I used:

Now create a New Document (Control-N) at this size:

  • Width/Height: 852×1608 pixels
  • Resolution: 150 dpi
New Document

(I like small file sizes, so feel free to adjust the resolution as needed.)

Let’s move on to the background!

2. How to Create the Purple Background

Step 1

First, download the Gradient Backgrounds 2. These two cosmic-like backgrounds were my favorite.

Gradient Backgrounds Envato Elements

I’ll be using #16 for my wallpaper.

Wallpaper 16

Step 2

Now Copy (Control-C) and Paste (Control-V) the gradient onto a New Layer for your wallpaper document.

Rotate the gradient
  1. The image is pretty big, so we’ll need to rotate it to show off my favorite area, the orange color.
  2. Use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to rotate it counter-clockwise. Adjust the size if needed.

Step 3

The official Spirit Day color is similar to this purple #6f009a color.

Create a New Layer. Use the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to Fill the layer with purple. Then set the Layer Blend Mode to Hard Light and lower the Opacity to 26%.

Add a purple hard light layer

Step 4

Great! Now Duplicate (Control-J) the gradient layer. Drag the layer above the Hard Light one within the Layers panel. 

Duplicate the gradient layer

Let’s create a new background using these two gradient layers. Use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to help reposition this layer towards the bottom of the blue area.

Rotate the gradient copy

Step 5

Add a Layer Mask to the gradient copy.

Select the Brush Tool (B), use a Soft Round Brush with 0% Hardness and 90-100% Opacity to paint black onto the white Layer Mask. Paint away the harsh edge from the picture and keep adjusting it until you’re happy.

Apply a layer mask

3. How to Add More Texture and Color

Step 1

With the background gradients all set, we can move on to texture and color.

But first, let’s add an Adjustment Layer of Color Lookup. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Lookup, and select this setting:

  • 3DLUT File: 3Strip.look
Add a color lookup adjustment layer

Step 2

Let’s paint some texture using the Star Brush from this Photoshop Brush Pack.

This brush is meant to resemble tiny, far-away star dots, so we can use it to paint lots of glittery texture.

Star Photoshop Brush

Create a New Layer. Set the Foreground Color to white and paint dots all around the gradient background for texture. Vary the Brush Size to your preferences.

Paint white dots

When you’re finished, use the Eraser Tool (E) to softly erase away some stars. Start with a medium to low Opacity and increase it when needed.

Erase the dots

Step 3

Create a New Layer.

Use the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to Fill it with the same purple #5a009a color from before. Set the Layer Blend Mode to Overlay and lower the Opacity to 43%.

Add a purple overlay
Overlay will make the colors more rich.

Step 4

Let’s continue tweaking the colors until we’re happy with the result.

Design is all about patience and experimentation!

Create a New Adjustment Layer of Color Balance. Adjust the settings for the Midtones, Shadows and Highlights to the following:

Add a Color Balance adjustment layer

Then create another New Layer and Fill it with a rich purple #6f009a. Set the Blend Mode to Hue and the Opacity to 43%.

Here’s the result. Now it’s more in line with Spirit Day colors!

Before and after
Here’s a before and after comparison after applying Color Balance and a new color fill.

4. How to Make a Geometric Composition

Step 1

Use the Ellipse Tool (U) to create a large purple #690092 circle. Place it in the center of the composition.

Add a circle

Set the purple circle layer to Darken.

Create a quick Layer Mask to erase some of the lower left area of the circle. Feather it out by using a Soft Round Brush. This will help blend it into the background.

Blend the circle

Step 2

For more depth, let’s establish the foreground, middle and background sections of this composition with more geometric objects.

Use the Custom Shape Tool (U) to add a triangle shape to the bottom left side.

Right-click the shape layer and go to Blending Options. Add a pink Gradient Overlay with the following options:

  • Gradient Colors: #8c3148 to #ff5984
Add a gradient overlay

Then add another purple triangle #6102e4 to the top right side. Here’s the result:

Add more triangles

Step 3

For a little more sultry atmosphere, we’re going to adjust the lighting of this scene.

Fill a New Layer with red #720f0e. Add a Layer Mask and paint black with a Soft Round Brush to hide certain parts of the red layer away. Then lower the Opacity to 33% and set it to Multiply.

Add a red layer and mask
Take your time with Layer Masks and slowly hide the color away. Try to find balance.

Step 4

Let’s add the “sun” object for this piece. It wasn’t originally intentional, but it’ll later help to draw in the viewer.

Use the Ellipse Tool (U) to create a purple #570f9c circle. Position it towards the right side of the other.

Then Right-click to go to Blending Options. Add a Gradient Overlay with the following settings:

  • Gradient Colors: #aa9780 and #e4cbac
Add a gradient overlay

We’ll leave the final circle shape which holds the date for Spirit Day for the last steps.

For now, Duplicate the left lower triangle. Set the color to this purple #7000cc. Make it bigger before setting it to Screen. Enjoy the subtle effect!

Create a triangle effect

5. How to Finish the iPhone Wallpaper

Step 1

For the last steps of this iPhone wallpaper design, we’ll need to adjust the contrast and add a date!

Let’s start with a New Adjustment Layer of Color Lookup.

Set the 3DLUT File to filmstock_50.3dl.

Add a color lookup adjustment

Step 2

Create the last ellipse. Set the color to magenta #751772.

Create the last ellipse

Add a Gradient Overlay to the ellipse. Use a colorful Yellow, Pink, and Purple preset you can find by accessing the Pastel gradients within the Gradient Editor.

Add a pastel gradient overlay

Next, add an Outer Glow with the following settings:

Add an outer glow

Here’s the result—it’s subtle, but well worth the effort.

Circle result after blending options

Step 3

Add some light for some wicked effects! Use a Soft Round Brush to paint white onto a New Layer set to Overlay.

Paint light with overlay

Step 4

For a little movement, let’s create a 3D trianglular shape that floats into the scene.

First, use the Custom Shape Tool (U) to create the purple #5a1390 triangle. Adjust the perspective with the Free Transform Tool (Control-T).

As with our previous steps, add a gradient. Use the same Pastel Gradient from before, but lower the Opacity to 30%.

Add a 3D triangle

To make this triangle 3D, first duplicate it. Delete the gradient overlay and use this triangle to set the lower base of the 3D effect. Next, use the Pen Tool (P) to connect the two triangles together by filling in the gaps with purple shapes. 

Create the 3D shape

Step 5

Now for the text.

Create the text for the date and hashtag with two new text layers. I’ll be using this Reef Font and Arial Rounded MT Bold. Set the date to white and #spiritday to pink #ff28ff.

Create the text

Right-click to go to Blending Options.

Follow these settings to create a Drop Shadow, Gradient Overlay, and Bevel and Emboss effect.

blending option settings

Here’s the result:

Text layer result

Step 6

Set the magenta circle to Soft Light.

Use one of geometric shapes from this vector shape bundle for more detail on the circle. Copy and Paste the shape onto a New Layer, and then use the Eraser Tool (E) to erase the areas where the lines are intersecting.

It may help to hide the text for this step.

Add the geometric shape

Step 7

Balance out the composition by using a Soft Round Brush to add more light and color to the scene. Use your natural intuition to help blend areas together.

Finally, brighten it with a New Brightness and Contrast Adjustment layer.

  • Brightness: 6
  • Contrast: 49
Create a brightness and contrast layer

That’s it! Check out the final result below.

Free Spirit Day iPhone Wallpaper

Get this wallpaper at full size and join us for Spirit Day! Set it as your wallpaper to show your support of this important anti-bullying mission.

Like this iPhone Mockup? Try it out!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial. Feel free to leave comments, results, and any questions below!

For more Spirit Day tutorials, check out these links:

Purple iPhone Wallpaper Design Photoshop Tutorial