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Postage Stamp - viewed times

1. Preparing the document

Open a new document in Photoshop with a size of 350 x 300 pixels.

Add a new layer by clicking on the Create a New Layer icon New Layer in the layers palette.
With this layer active (a Brushin front of it in the layers palette), add a Layer Mask by clicking on the Add a Layer Mask icon Add Maskin the layers palette. This will make the layer mask automatically active. We're going to use this mask in step #3 to add to make the stamp's edges.

2. Preparing the brush

Click on the brush icon Brush Tool in the Tool Bar to activate the Brush Tool or press the letter B on your keyboard.
Select the Brushes Palette by using one of the following 3 methods
  • Pressing F5 on your keyboard
  • Selecting the Brushes Palette in the Options Bar
    Brushes Palette in Options Bar
  • In the menu: Window / Brushes

In the Brushes Palette select Brush Tip Shape (A) and select a Diameter for the brush of 17 px (B), a Hardness of 100% and a Spacing of 140 (C). Make sure that all the options underneath Brush Tip Shape (like Shape Dynamics, Scattering, Texture, etc) are not selected.

Brushes Palette

Press the letter D on your keyboard, which makes the foreground color black and the background color white:Switching fore- and background colors
Now press X on your keyboard to switch fore- and background color: Resetting fore- and background colors
The foreground color should be black now.

3. Draw the dots

Before we're going to draw the dots we need to mark the size of the stamp. Go to the Tool Bar and select the Rectangle Tool Rectangle or press the letter U on your keyboard. Now make sure that the option Paths is selected in the Options Bar:


Now draw the initial shape of the stamp with the rectangle tool, until you have something like this:

Rectangular shape


Before you proceed with the next step; make sure that the Layer Mask is still active (notice the Mask in front of the layer and the double border around the mask), if not, click on it.

The next step is to activate the Paths palette by clicking on the Paths tab (A), opening the fly-out menu by clicking on the little black triangle (B) and selecting Stroke Path... (C).

Stroking a path

In the window that pops up, select Brush and click OK.

Stroke tool selection


A quicker way to do the same is by clicking on the Stroke Path with Brush iconStroke Pathin the Paths palette:

Stroke path with brush in paths palette

Tip: hold down the Alt key (option key on the Mac) before you click on the Stroke Path with Brush iconStroke Pathto be able to select the tool you want to use for the stroke like we saw in an earlier screenshot. By default Brush is selected. Use the method that your prefer. For beginners it might be easier to remember the fly-out menu than all these dozens of icons and that's why I'm showing both approaches.

Ok, so we have stroked the path, but you might wonder why you're not seeing anything change in the paths palette. That is because the path palette only shows vector based shapes and not pixels. Our stroked path is based on a brush, so the stroke was added to the pixel based mask (which was active during the stroke). You'll see soon enough.

4. Final touches

Click on the Load path as a selection iconLoad Pathin the Paths palette:

Load path as selection in paths palette

This will convert the path to a selection.

Now click on the Layers tab to activate the layers palette and disable the mask by clicking on the layer's thumbnail with the checkerboard pattern (you'll notice aBrushappear in front of it and a double border around the thumbnail).
Notice that our mask now shows the result of stroking the path:

Layers Palette with Mask showing result of stroked path


Set the foreground color...

Selecting foreground color... by clicking on the foreground color in the options bar.

In the Color Picker window that pops up, select your preferred color and click OK.
Select the Paint Bucket Tool Paint Bucket Toolin the Tool Bar and fill the selection:



You can finish it off by adding some noise to the paper, roughening the edges, adding some color stains and an image, it all depends on how you want it to look.


Have fun!

For more help with Photoshop check out ourPhotoshop Trainingsection.

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