Patterned Paper Christmas Tree

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sara-horton-xsmDid you put up your Christmas tree over the weekend? It’s a tradition in our family to decorate the tree while our tummies are full of leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

To celebrate the tradition and kick off the holiday season, here’s an easy, customizable Christmas tree embellishment you can make from patterned paper you already own.

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For Adobe Photoshop Version click here.

Step 1: Create patterned paper stripes

Begin by creating a new transparent document at 300 pixels per inch in RGB color mode. For the sample, I created a 12×12-inch document.

Also open several pieces of coordinating patterned paper. Get the Rectangular Marquee tool and drag out a long, thin rectangle on the first piece of digital patterned paper.

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Get the Move tool and drag the patterned rectangle onto your transparent document. Drag the patterned paper strip down to the bottom of the transparent document.

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Select a different piece of patterned paper. Using the Rectangle Marquee tool, drag out a long, thin rectangle. Then use the Move tool to drag the patterned rectangle onto the transparent document. Position the new patterned strip so that it is stacked above the first strip.

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Repeat, selecting and dragging rectangles from each of the patterned papers until you have filled the transparent document with strips of coordinating patterned paper.

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Merge the stripes by pressing Ctrl Shift E (Mac: Cmd Shift E) on the keyboard.

Step 2: Cut out the tree shape

Select View > Rulers from the Menu Bar to place rulers across the top and down the left side of the editing screen. Get the Polygonal Lasso Tool and click at the bottom left corner of the striped layer. Drag the cursor upwards and click again at the center of the top of the striped layer, then drag downward to click at the bottom right corner. Use the rulers to help you make a symmetrical triangle. Complete the selection by dragging the cursor left and clicking on the original spot. When you click on the first spot, the selection makes a closed triangle shape and changes to marching ants.

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Making sure that the striped paper layer is selected, press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate the selected triangle. In the Layers Panel, you’ll see your tree shape on top of the full sheet. Click the Layer Visibility icon (eyeball) of the layer containing the full sheet of patterned stripes to see the tree on a transparent background.

Step 3: Create the trunk

Create a new document the size and shape of your choice. Use the Move tool to drag the tree to your new document. If you need to re-size the tree, press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T) and click and drag the Corner handles of the bounding box toward the center of the tree to make it smaller. Confirm the size change by clicking the green checkmark.

Note: If your new document is significantly smaller than the tree image, you may need to use the Zoom tool to zoom out in order to find the corners of the tree layer.

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To make the tree trunk match your color scheme, get the Eyedropper Tool. Click once on the patterned paper in the color you’d like to use. This sets the Foreground color, so when you get the Rectangle Tool and drag out a rectangle for the trunk, it will be filled with the color you have selected.

2009-11-16-tip07elFinish by dragging the rectangle layer under the tree layer in the Layers Panel.

Step 4: Tree topper

The final step is to create a unique topper for your tree. I like to use embellishments from digital kits such as buttons, flowers, sparkly stars, and bows to give each tree its own personality. You can use the Ellipse tool to drag out a circle for the topper (using the method in Step 2) or use the Custom Shape tool to create a star.

To create a star, select the top layer (tree) and the Custom Shape tool, which hides beneath the Rectangle tool in the Tool Bar. The filled star shape can be found by opening the Shape Picker menu in the Options Bar, clicking the right-facing arrow in the top, right corner to open a flyout menu, and selecting Shapes. If you want to change the color of the star, click on the Color Swatch in the Options Bar.

Click, press Shift, and drag out a star to top the tree. Use the Move tool to drag your star into place.

2009-11-16-tip08el

Just like your Christmas tree at home, you can give each digital tree you make your own one-of-a-kind flair. By selecting different papers, you can alter the color scheme to match any project. Changing the tree topper gives the project a new and different look. And don’t forget the decorations! Buttons, ribbons, circles, brads, and other digital embellishments make wonderful ornaments for your virtual tree.

2009-11-16-tip09el

Credits:

Card by Sara Horton
Camille Kit by Lynn Grieveson at Designer Digitals
Font: Gigi

Download a PDF version of this “Patterned Paper Christmas Tree” tutorial.

Windows: Right click on the link and choose “Save Target As” or a similar command.
Mac: Click on the link to download the file.

Step 1: Create patterned paper stripes

Begin by creating a new transparent document at 300 pixels per inch in RGB color mode. For the sample, I created a 12×12-inch document.

Also open several pieces of coordinating patterned paper. Get the Rectangular Marquee tool and drag out a long, thin rectangle on the first piece of digital patterned paper.

2009-11-30-tip01ps

Get the Move tool and drag the patterned rectangle onto your transparent document. Drag the patterned paper strip down to the bottom of the transparent document.

2009-11-30-tip02ps

Select a different piece of patterned paper. Using the Rectangle Marquee tool, drag out a long, thin rectangle. Then use the Move tool to drag the patterned rectangle onto the transparent document. Position the new patterned strip so that it is stacked above the first strip.

2009-11-30-tip03ps

Repeat, selecting and dragging rectangles from each of the patterned papers until you have filled the transparent document with strips of coordinating patterned paper.

2009-11-30-tip04ps

Merge the stripes by pressing Ctrl Shift E (Mac: Cmd Shift E) on the keyboard.

Step 2: Cut out the tree shape

Select View > Rulers from the Menu Bar to place rulers across the top and down the left side of the editing screen. Get the Polygonal Lasso Tool and click at the bottom left corner of the striped layer. Drag the cursor upwards and click again at the center of the top of the striped layer, then drag downward to click at the bottom right corner. Use the rulers to help you make a symmetrical triangle. Complete the selection by dragging the cursor left and clicking on the original spot. When you click on the first spot, the selection makes a closed triangle shape and changes to marching ants.

2009-11-30-tip05ps

Making sure that you have the striped layer selected, press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate the selected triangle. In the Layers Panel, you’ll see your tree shape on top of the full sheet. Click the Layer Visibility icon (eyeball) of the layer containing the full sheet of patterned stripes to see the tree on a transparent background.

Step 3: Create the trunk

Create a new document the size and shape of your choice. Use the Move tool to drag the tree to your new document. If you need to re-size the tree, press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T) and press Shift as you click and drag the Corner handles of the bounding box toward the center of the tree to make it smaller. Confirm the size change by clicking the checkmark in the Options Bar.

Note: If your new document is significantly smaller than the tree image, you may need to use the Zoom tool to zoom out in order to find the corners of the tree layer.

2009-11-30-tip06ps

To make the tree trunk match your color scheme, get the Eyedropper Tool. Click once on the patterned paper in the color you’d like to use. This sets the Foreground color, so when you get the Rectangle Tool and drag out a rectangle for the trunk, it will be filled with the color you have selected.

2009-11-30-tip07ps

Finish by dragging the rectangle layer under the tree layer in the Layers Panel.

Step 4: Tree topper

The final step is to create a unique topper for your tree. I like to use embellishments from digital kits such as buttons, flowers, sparkly stars, and bows to give each tree its own personality. You can use the Ellipse tool to drag out a circle for the topper (using the method in Step 2) or use the Custom Shape tool to create a star.

To create a star, select the top layer (tree) and the Custom Shape tool, which hides beneath the Rectangle tool in the Tool Bar. In the Options Bar, choose the Shape Layers icon, the first of the three icons to the far left in the Options Bar. The filled star shape can be found by opening the Shape Picker menu, clicking the right-facing arrow in the top, right corner to open a flyout menu, and selecting Shapes. If you want to change the color of the star, click on the Color Swatch in the Options Bar.

Click, press Shift, and drag out a star to top the tree. Use the Move tool to drag your star into place.

2009-11-30-tip08ps

Just like your Christmas tree at home, you can give each digital tree you make your own one-of-a-kind flair. By selecting different papers, you can alter the color scheme to match any project. Changing the tree topper gives the project a new and different look. And don’t forget the decorations! Buttons, ribbons, circles, brads, and other digital embellishments make wonderful ornaments for your virtual tree.

2009-11-16-tip09el

Credits:

Card by Sara Horton
Camille Kit by Lynn Grieveson at Designer Digitals
Font: Gigi

Download a PDF version of this “Patterned Paper Christmas Tree” tutorial.

Windows: Right click on the link and choose “Save Target As” or a similar command.
Mac: Click on the link to download the file.

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