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Create a Crafty One-of-a-Kind Frame with Photoshop

Updated: Dec 27, 2021

This crafty thread wrapped frame adds a sweet personal touch to your images. You can create your own by using a Photoshop brush and some simple Layer Style Effects. In this short tutorial we'll create a base frame, download and customize a brush, paint threads on the frame and use Layer Effects to make it look just real enough to be charmingly crafty. Let's get started!


Step 1: Making Space for your Frame

Open your image Photoshop, create a new layer underneath the image layer call it Frame. You'll use this layer to make your frame. Go to the upper menu bar and choose Image > Canvas Size to increase the size of the document to accommodate your frame. Click the Relative checkbox so the amount of change isn’t dependent on the size of the current document. I made my frame 0.25 inch. The document will have expanded beyond your image allowing space for the frame.


Step 2: Making Your Frame

Next we want to create and color the frame. First, we need to capture the frame area. Hold Command and click the thumbnail of the image layer in the Layers Panel, which will load it as a selection. Then use Select > Inverse so that everything outside the original selection is active. Fill the Frame layer with the color you want your frame to be. You can use Option /Delete to fill this selection with the foreground color. Deselect it.

Move the frame layer above the Image layer, and click on the fx drop down menu located at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Bevel and Emboss (and Drop Shadow if you want one). Start with the Default settings and adjust the settings as you like. Make sure Use Global Light is checked for consistency. Now that we have our frame we can paint some threads on it.


Step 3: Get your Brush

Press B to get your Brush tool and open the Brushes panel. To download the Photoshop brush file go to the upper right corner of the Brushes panel and click on the hamburger menu to access the drop down menu, choose Get More Brushes. This will bring you to Kyle Webster Brushes from Adobe. These brushes are included with the Creative Cloud subscription. Once at the site scroll down to CROSSHATCHERS and click on the download button.

To import the CROSSHATCHERS brush set by going to the same drop down menu and choose Import Brushes, go to the Download files on your computer and Click on the crosshatch.abr file. As always, in Photoshop there is more than one way to Import brushes, for another way to import brushes go to Import Brushes. Once you have imported your brushes go to the Brushes panel and locate the Crosshatch brushes file, inside the file you'll find a few brushes that can imitate threads. I used the Brush Kyle's Crosshatch - 31.


Step 4: Customize Your Brush

Open up the Brush settings and click on Color Dynamics. This will let your brush use both the Foreground and Background colors in combination. You can adjust the settings to get the colors you want for your threads. Experiment with the settings and Foreground and Background colors to get the color combinations you want. After you're satisfied with the colors, shift click the Left { key to resize the brush smaller or use the Right } to make it bigger. For more information about Color Dynamics check out this short video by Kyle Webster.


Step 5: Paint on the Threads, part 1

Go to your Frame Layer and Command Click its thumbnail to select it to isolate the painting area. Create a layer above the Frame layer and call it threads. We'll paint the Threads on this layer. With your customized brush paint by starting at the upper left hand corner, hold the Shift key to keep the brush stroke straight and paint from left to right. The threads should look like they're wrapped around the frame. Do the same with the bottom of the frame. After painting the top and bottom let's paint the sides.

Step 5: Paint on the Threads, part 2, the sides

In order to paint the sides first change the angle of the Brush. Right click on the document to bring up the Brush Settings pop-up panel, with your cursor click on the little arrow that sits on the circle at the upper left and drag it around so it points down. Test your Brush to make sure the threads are pointing horizontally to create a thread wrapped effect Start at the upper Left corner and brush straight down, holding the Shift key to keep it straight. Do the same for the Right side.

Step 5: Paint on the Threads, part 3, the corners

To make the corners look more realistic we need to change the angle of the Brush to mimic how threads look wrapped around corners. Bring up the pop-up Brush settings panel again and position the arrow so it makes the Brush angle in towards the inside of the corner. You might want to make a new temporary layer to practice on until it looks right.

It should look something like this, it's important to remember it doesn't need to be perfect. Some of the charm of craftiness is its imperfections. If you paint the corners kitty corner from each other you'll only need to change the angle once. When you're finished deselect your frame.


Step 6: Adding a Drop Shadow

Once you're happy with your frame and threads add a Drop Shadow effect to the Threads layer. Click on the fx drop down menu and choose Drop Shadow. Start with the Default settings and adjust the settings as you like. Make sure Use Global Light is checked.


Here is the finished one of a kind frame. For more information about Photoshop brushes check out this Creative Cloud Photoshop brush class on YouTube. Thanks for reading this tutorial, if you have questions about any of the steps or run into problems, please send an email at our Contact page and I'll respond help troubleshoot. Thanks again, happy creating!


Written by Wendy Wittner | Illustration, Graphic Design | August 2021

Images by Wendy Wittner

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