Quick and dirty edges!

Here’s an easy way to do those grungy edges on your scrapbook papers. It’s simple and you can get all sorts of different looks just by changing your brush or tweaking the brush settings.

So to start, make a new document in Photoshop. Fill it with whatever color you want, but it’s easier to see what you’re doing if you leave it white. Create a blank layer to make the edges on – then if you don’t like the way it turned out, you can just clear the layer and start over. And if you like it, you can save that layer as an overlay and use it over and over again!

Now it’s time to set up your brush. There are lots of grunge brushes available or you can make your own, but for a high resolution image the brush should be at least 200px – bigger if you can get it.

Ok so first open the brushes palette.

The brush window

On the first panel you can choose a brush, and can adjust the size of it. The one I made is HUGE so I’m making it smaller.

Brush panel brush tip shape

Click the BRUSH SETTINGS tab and select Brush Tip Shape you can also choose your brush here (although it’s harder to see) and adjust the size. Also you want to adjust the spacing a bit. The preview pane at the bottom will give you an idea of what you’ll get.

Brush settings shape dynamics

Then choose SHAPE DYNAMICS and adjust the size, angle and roundness jitter. Jitter adds a bit of randomness to your brushstroke so it won’t be the same every time you run it. I also like to check the flip x and y to make it even more random.

Brush panel scattering

Next choose SCATTERING where you can adjust how far off the path you want to allow it to go. You can also adjust the count – the higher you go the more dense the brush will be.

Brush Panel dual brush

For this one I chose a dual brush – you can get lots of really cool effects by playing around with this. At this point you can draw with your brush on a blank layer just to see how it looks, and tweak accordingly.

Now go back to the document, make sure you’re on a blank layer, and select all. Open the Paths palette, and in the side menu, choose MAKE WORK PATH. You’ll get a path that’s right on the edge of your document.

The path menu

Once you have your path, choose STROKE PATH from the same menu, when the modal box opens, choose brush. I usually use black because with stuff like this I end up colorizing it anyhow, but you can use whatever color you like.

And TADA! The finished edge. As you’ll see, the brush strokes right down the center of the path, so half of the brush is outside the document. That’s why we needed a BIG brush!

Stroke path done!

If you don’t like it, try undoing and running the stroke path again – because all the jitters we set earlier in the brushes palette, no two stroked paths will look the same. If you still don’t like it, go back to your brush palette and adjust some of the settings or try a different brush. Note that you’ll lose your current brush settings when you choose a new brush unless you save it first.

Closeup of the top right edge

For mine I created another blank layer above the first one and left all the settings the same but made my brush a little larger, dropped the opacity a bit and ran it again. So I ended up with 2 edge overlays that can be stacked on top of each other, or used separately. You can download them if you like. 🙂

So now you have a starting point to not just do paper edges, but also frames, shapes or any selection that you can convert to a path.

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