Photoshop Friday 2007 #5! Scalloped Edges!

Hi There!

Welcome to Issue #5 of Photoshop Friday for 2007! This week’s PSF focuses on one of my favorite designers – Jen Wilson! Her saturated colors, great texture, and awesome distressing make great layouts easy. And this week’s technique is gonig to be so much fun. I can’t wait to share it with you.

Here is the layout for this week. Rowen turns 3 on Sunday (holy cow!), so I used a recent picture of her and wrote some thoughts around her being on the brink of three.


As I mentioned, all my supplies this week came from Jen Wilson, whose site over at is great.  


The main technique I want to show you for Photoshop Friday is how to create the scalloped edge you see on the top paper in the layout. If you’re an Elements user, you’re probably saying, “But Jessica, I don’t have paths or a Pen tool. How on earth do you expect me to make scalloped edges?”

And I will reply with a wise nod and say, “Aaahhh grasshoppah, let us learn together.” So I was playing around with my Custom Shapes tool, because I really wanted to be able to do a scalloped edge in PSE. Sure, I could weenie out and just give you clipping mask template. But then we wouldn’t have learned anything, and that’s not nearly as much fun. :)

So grab a cold drink (or a warm one, depending on time of day and outside temperature), and I’ll show you how to make scalloped edges in Photoshop Elements. Aaah… I have this picture in my head of all the rockin’ layouts that will be made with this. Don’t forget to share them with me, ok? :D Here we go!

Scalloped Edges in Photoshop Elements 

  1. Open a new blank Photoshop document, 12x12, 300 dpi, RGB color, white background.
  2. Select the Custom Shape tool.
  3. Drop down the selector in the Custom Shape tool, and choose the little blue arrow in the circle for the Preferences flyout. Make sure that All Elements Shapes is selected.
  4. Scroll down in the Custom Shape selector until you see the raindrop. That’s right. Raindrop. Choose that one. Make sure that your foreground color is something other than white.
  5. Hold down Shift as you draw out a raindrop shape. The larger your raindrop, the larger your scallops will be. You’ll get something like this:
  6.  722646-658474-thumbnail.jpg
    Click for Larger

  7. When you’ve got a raindrop drawn, you can copy and paste raindrops across your page. You’ll see that all joined up, they start looking like the bottom of a scalloped edge. Here’s a quick tip: To copy, paste, AND keep things aligned all at the same time, select the Move tool. Hold down Alt and Shift while you drag on the raindrop, and you’ll see that Photoshop has created an exact copy of your raindrop (that’s what the Alt does), and constrained it to the same horizontal line as the first copy (that’s what the Shift does). So hold down Alt and Shift while you drag out enough raindrops to fill your layout from edge to edge. Here’s a screen shot of my row of raindrops in progress:

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PSE 5 Has Alignment Tools! Hooray!


Another handy tip:  You can space your drops perfectly in PSE5. Select the Move tool, shift-click on the top raindrop layer in the Layers palette, and shift-click on the bottom layer to select all your layers. With all your layers selected, in the Options bar at the top of your screen go to Distribute > Horizontal Centers. Photoshop does all the grunt work for you. Hooray that they put the alignment tools into this version! That’s enough reason to upgrade to PSE 5 right there. ;)

Finishing Up That Scalloped Edge 


Okay, now we need to fill in the top area so this looks a little more scallop-y and a little less like a bunch of raindrops. Select the Rectangle tool. Draw a big rectangle that covers over the tops of the raindrops. It’ll look like this:

    Click for Larger

  1. When you have your scalloped edge looking just the way you like it, merge all the layers together. To do this, shift-click the top layer in the Layers palette, shift-click the bottom raindrop layer. This selects all the layers EXCEPT the background. Right-click on the layers in the Layers palette and choose Merge Layers from the flyout menu). Awesome!
  2. Now we can use this new shape as a clipping mask for our patterned paper. Open a sheet of digital patterned paper. I used this gorgeous floral paper from Jen’s ReAffirm kit. Drag it onto your layout, and make sure it is positioned in the layer just ABOVE the scallop edge layer.
  3. Now create a clipping mask. Target the patterned paper layer and hit Ctrl-g (Ctrl-Alt-G for CS2). Your paper “clips” to the underlying shape. Neat. Now it should look like this (Notice how the patterned paper has the little down-over arrow in the Layers palette, indicating that you’ve got a clipping mask going):

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Subtle and Realistic Drop-Shadows are Your Friends

  1. One more step. I think a subtle and realistic drop shadow is really nice here. Let’s make one. PSE 3-4 and PSE 5 handle shadows slightly differently, but I’ll show you in PSE 5. Target your shape layer (not your patterned paper layer). Open the Artwork and Effects palette in the Palette bin. Choose Layer Styles from the left dropdown, and Drop Shadows from the right dropdown. Double-click on the Low menu item. And WHAM! Your scalloped edge shoots off the page like it’s on 3 layers of pop dots. By now you already know how I feel about the default drop shadows in PSE. So I won’t go there, except to say, let’s fix this! :D
  1. Fix the drop shadow to a more realistic size by double-clicking on the little sun icon next to the “Shape 1” label in your Layers palette. This launches the Styles Editor in PSE 5. You can see when you open this dialog box that our shadow is set to a whopping 21 pixels. About 4 times what it needs to be, in my opinion. Go ahead and slide Size and Distance sliders down to 5. Slide the Opacity slider down to about 65% for good measure. Click OK. Much better. It comes out looking something like this (check out how nice that LOW, realistic drop shadow is. :):

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Yet Another Tip: Copying Layer Styles (Like Drop Shadows) 

Man, this issue has been full of tips. If you’re using multiple layers that need drop shadows (I actually used shadows on the flowers and circle accents as well), right click on a layer in the Layers palette with a shadow you like, and choose Copy Layer Style from the flyout menu. Then right-click on a layer you’d like to shadow, and choose Paste Layer Style from the flyout menu. Much quicker than dialing it up from scratch each time.

Remember that if you want to move these two layers together, you’ll need to select both the patterned paper layer and the shape layer, or if you’re happy with the way they look, just merge them together.

More Ideas 

For the rest of this layout, there’s quite a bit going on, I think. Lots to think about. If you’re interested, here are  some more “How did I do that” ideas:

  • I added my photo in black and white and used the Hue/Saturation command with the Colorize box checked to change it to a very slightly red tint.
  • I used my Grunge mask (get it here on my photo to give it a soft edge.
  • I used the rounded rectangle tool to create the rounded-corner journaling block.
  • I added Jen’s white stamp flower to the corner of my journaling block – it already has a corner cut out of it, so it’s perfect for adding to photos, blocks, etc. Awesome.
  • I used Jen’s Fancy Free text paper to create the type effects around the edges of the layout and over the photo. This was kind of a complex set of maneuvers… so I’ll save it for another day. ;)

Here is the layout at large size, if you’d like to see the details:

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Have an awesome Photoshop Friday and a great weekend!

Jessica Sprague35 Comments