How to Create a Simple Border

April 22, 2016

Last week we talked about how to Transform your Selections. As I was writing that post, I was reminded of a fun technique that can be used with selections to create a cute border very quickly.

For the purposes of this tutorial, I am using Photoshop CC2015; however, this technique works in Photoshop Elements as well.

This gorgeous layout was created by Norma, using my new collection “You are a Masterpiece.”

You are a Masterpiece SnickerdoodleDesigns

It’s a stunning page as it is; but, for fun, let’s put a small border around the edge of the background page using a Selection. Here’s how:

  • Working on your layered document, place a blank layer above your background.
  • Now we want to create a rectangle around the edge of the background. We can do that in one of 3 ways. Click on the Rectangular Marquee to make it active. In the options bar at the top of the screen there are 3 Style choices:

Normal:  You can drag out a rectangle “free-style,” changing the height and width of the rectangle as you like, with no restrictions.

Fixed Ratio: This will allow you set the height and width, in ratio, or proportion, to each other.   In order to get a square, enter “1” in both the height and width boxes. Enter other numbers according to what ratio you would like. For example, if you want a rectangle that is 6 inches wide by 12 inches in height, you would enter: 1 for the width and 2 for the height.

Fixed Size: In the Width and Height boxes, enter the exact size dimension that you want for your rectangle/square.

You Are a Masterpiece SnickerdoodleDesigns

  • I am going to use the Fixed Ratio option. I’ve set my Width and Height ratio to:  1:1.
  • I’ve also turned on the Grid, to make my selection easier. (View > Show > Grid)
  • Using the grid, I’ve drawn out a rectangle, making sure that  the blank layer (above the background layer) is the active layer. With the grid showing, my selection will “snap to” the grid lines. If I would like to re-position my rectangle/square, while still holding down the mouse button, I can depress the space bar, and move the selection freely.

You Are a Masterpiece SnickerdoodleDesigns

  • Now I can right click within the selection to access additional options. I have chosen Stroke.SnickerdoodleDesigns Tutorial
  • The Stroke dialog box will open. Here I can set the stroke width, color, location, blend mode, and opacity. However, I prefer to just set my size and color here, leaving the other options set to their default. Those are choices that can be made later in the layers panel; and sometimes I’m not sure, for example, what blend mode I might like best.

In this example I chose a pixel size of 10, chose my color, and the location of Center. If I am happy, I am done. However, because I put the Stroke on its own layer, I can also now experiment with Blend Modes or apply a Layer Style, if I like.

Adding a Border Tutorial SnickerdoodleDesigns

I like the border as it is, so I’m done. And it took just a few seconds to add this additional finishing touch to this page.

If you would like to download a PDF of this tutorial, you may do so here: How to Create a Simple Border

See you next week!

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3 Comments

  1. Peggy S

    Thank you for this. I keep forgetting how to do this, so was glad to be able to download your PDF. Such a simple change makes a big difference.

    • Karen

      You’re welcome, Peggy. I love this simple technique, and am glad you found it helpful too.

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