Forget hunting for a needle and thread, sew digitally with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.
If you are like me, you have quite a stash of buttons and strings in your digital supplies. I thought it would be cute to thread some of those buttons onto a string to use on a layout.
I'll teach you how to create the illusion that the string is going in and out of the button, and I promise you, you won’t have to spend hours threading a needle!
Step One: Prepare Your Workspace
- You will need to find a piece of string and several buttons to work with. I used string from the Christmas Lights kit by Julie Billingsley and buttons from various kits that matched the colors in my layout.
- Create a new document (File > New > Blank File) or open (File > Open) an existing scrapbook page. (Photoshop: Choose File > New to create a new document.)
- Open the string element.
- Get the Move tool.
- Click on the string and drag it onto your document.
- In the same way, add the buttons to your document, making sure that the buttons are all placed above the string layer in the Layers panel.
- With the Move tool still active, arrange your buttons on top of your string so that the string is going through the middles of your buttons. You may have to rotate your buttons a bit.
Step Two: Duplicate the String Layer
- In the Layers panel, make sure the string layer is the active layer.
- Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate the string layer.
- Drag the duplicated string layer above all the buttons.
Step Three: Add a Layer Mask
Note: If your version of Photoshop Elements doesn't have a layer mask, here’s a link where you can download a layer mask you can install, along with a video and written instructions on how to install it: http://www.digitalscrapper.com/downloads/layer-mask-workaround.zip
- In the Layers panel, make sure the duplicated string layer is still the active layer.
- In the Layers panel, Alt click (Mac: Opt click) on the Add a Layer Mask icon.
A black layer mask should have appeared to the right of the duplicated string thumbnail (see image below) and your duplicated string should have disappeared from your document.
Step Four: Reveal the Top Threads
- In the Layers panel, the Layer Mask of the duplicated string layer should be active. You know it is active when it has a blue outline around it, as in the image above. Just to be sure, click on the Layer Mask. This is very critical to the success of this tutorial. (Photoshop and Previous versions of Elements: The mask outline is white.)
- You should have a white color chip. If not, Press the letter X to switch the Color Chips to white to reveal. Layer masks work exclusively with white and black. Remember this: White reveals – Black conceals.
- Get the Brush tool.
- In the Tool Options (Options Bar), open the Brush Picker and choose the Soft Round brush. Opacity should be 100% and Mode should say Normal. (Photoshop: Flow should be 100%.)
- Using the Right and Left Bracket keys, adjust your brush Size to a bit larger than your string.
- Using your brush, stoke over the part of the string that should be on top of the button to reveal it. (See below.)
- If you make a mistake and reveal more than you like, just switch your Color Chips (Press the letter X) to black over white and paint over anything that you want to hide.
Note: I added a shadow to my bottom original string layer, but there is no shadow on the top copied string layer.
Here is a scrapbook page that features this tutorial. Let me see your sewing work at the Digi Scrap Tutorial gallery.
Digi Scrap Tutorial Threading Buttons on a String by Nannette Dalton
Layout: "Pirate Princess" by Nannette Dalton
Kit: Frame, Brads, and White paper is from Me Personally by Amanda Taylor
Washi tape made from papers from Back 2 School Whimsy by Jen Allyson and Love You Always by Amanda Rockwell
String from Christmas Lights by Julie Billingsley
Skull from Microsoft clip art
Tutorials: Chevron Wave by Jen White, previously available to Premier Members May 2012, Make your Own Washi Tape by Nannette Dalton
Fonts: DJB My Girls Rock, Lemondrop
Software: Photoshop Elements 11 and PS5