DIY How to create your own personal card with layers in Photoshop

I made this article about a way to use layers in Photoshop in March, right before Easter. But you can apply the tips to any kind of card, in any season.

Sweet memories

easter eggWhen I was a kid my mother used to paint eggs together with me. I have to admit, she wasn’t very creative. So the painting meant putting dye in a saucepan with boiling water and cooking the eggs in it for 7 minutes.

Noticing my mother was not very creative is a finding in retrospect and didn’t have any influence on the warm, cozy feelings I still have for the activity. It is a cherished memory!
I haven’t painted a real egg since childhood, but I still decorate eggs. On my screen and I print them either on thin cardboard or on photo paper.

Let’s start simple

I make my drawings either in Adobe Illustrator or in Adobe Photoshop, but any program with the possibility to work in layers will do. In this example I drew the egg in Illustrator and added the other stuff in Photoshop.

layers in photoshop

Step 1

Fill the first layer with a light color you like.

Step 2

Draw an egg on the second layer in a color that is a different and darker color than the first layer.


Step 3

In the next layer draw as if you are decorating an Easter egg. Don’t mind going overboard, we’ll fix that later.
I love decorations that are not very precise and geometrically, but if you do want it precise or even symmetrically, then Illustrator would be a better place to draw. (You can copy and paste it later in Photoshop).

selections in photoshop

Step 4

Select the egg in layer 2 and invert the selection.
Menu Select > Load selection > Channel transparancy > check button invert.

photoshop layers

Step 5

With the selection still active go to layer 3 and hit the backspace button on your keyboard.
Now you have thrown away all the extra frills and created a flawless egg.

adding text

Step 6

Before entering the text, add a new layer first. You’ll discover why in the next step.
You can select the text the same way as we selected the egg (don’t invert this time). But you can also use the magic wand tool.

adding shadow

Step 7

The card in step 6 is pretty straight forward, don’t you think? Let’s make it more interesting by adding a shadow to the text.
After selecting the text make sure you are going to layer 4. Use the feather tool. The number of pixels depends on the measure of your card, so you’ll have to experiment a little bit. Than fill the selection with black or grey. Finally move the layer a little bit to the right and the bottom.
Want to move it to the left? No problem, it’s your choice.

There is an easier way of making the shadow by using layer effects. Usually I prefer the separate layers to be more free and add or erase parts if I want to.

layer in photoshop

Step 8

Step 7 could be the final step, but if you’d rather have a 3D egg, you can go on.
Add a layer behind the egg. Select the egg, feather, fill with black or grey. So far this is the same procedure as we did with the text. But if we would leave it like that, it would look like a shadow on the wall. A shadow that is on the ground looks more natural.
You do this by distorting the shadow to a much smaller size.

3d drawing

Step 9

The shadow must not be too dark, so you either make the layer more transparant, or you use gray to begin with. Move the layer in the same directions you used for the letters.
To make the illusion complete there has to be a little shadow on the side of the egg.
Make a new layer on top of the egg. There are two ways to add the shadow:

  1. You can use a feathered brush and apply thin layers until it looks good;
  2. Or draw the desired form with the lasso tool, feather and fill.

changing the color

Step 10

After step 9 you can again make the decision that you have had enough. Or you can really go wild and add more eggs.
We still have all the different layers, but for this step it is more convenient if you make one layer of all the layers that are part of the egg. Than you can easly duplicate the layer as many times as you want. You can resize the egg. And a really cool tool is changing the hue. For this go to menu Enhance > Adjust Color > Adjust Hue/Saturation and play as much as you want.

Results A B and C


Which card do you like the most? Let me know in the commentbox below.

I am a big fan of Adobe Photoshop

As a graphic designer for my profession and fanatic photographer for my hobby I am an intensive user of Adobe Photoshop. I started working with it in 1991 (version 2!) on a computer that had a 4Mb working memory. 🙂
If you only occasionaly crop a picture or change the colors a little bit Adobe Elements will be sufficient. But if you want to work in layers, have absolute control on the effects that you add and want to use channels and masks, then Adobe Photoshop is the best choice. Don’t let all the possiblities overwhelm you, but start with step-by-step tutorials for a specific product, like this card.

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