Feeling Edgy - Zig Zags

with 24 Comments

Nannette Dalton pic

I used to be a paper scrapper. I have a closet full of supplies that I do not use.

One of the tools I used quite often was my decorative scissors. I have a whole collection of them. My favorite pair of scissors was the pinking shears. I just loved putting edges on my mats and paper. (Does that date me?)

I no longer go for that particular look, but occasionally it would be nice to add a little edge to my digital papers. It adds a little extra flair to my page.

Let me show you how you can make your own pinking shears. One nice thing about scrapping digitally is that I do not have to go out and buy new tools. I already have them at my disposal in Photoshop and Elements.


Step One: Prepare Your Workspace

You will need to find or create a paper to use.

  • Create a new document (File > New > Blank File) or open (File > Open) an existing scrapbook page.
  • Open a paper you want to cut.
  • Get the Move tool.
  • Holding down the Shift key, click on the paper element and drag it onto your document.

Step Two: Create Your Pinking Shear Brush

Photoshop Elements:

Note: Photoshop Elements does not have the capability to rotate an eraser brush, so I've provided a Pinking Shear brush for you in order to complete this tutorial. You can directly download it here.

  • Get the Eraser tool.
  • In the Tool Options, open the Brush Picker, open the fly-out menu, and choose Load Brushes.


  • Navigate to the location where you have opened and saved your DS-Pinking-Shear brush. Click on it and click Load.
  • In the Tool Options, the Size should be 245 px and the Opacity should be 100%.


Adobe Photoshop:

  • Get the Eraser tool.
  • In the Options Bar, open the Brush Picker, open the fly-out menu, choose Square Brushes, and click OK.


  • In the Brush Picker, choose the Hard Square 24 px brush. Adjust the Size to around 60 px.
  • In the Options Bar, set the Mode to Brush, the Opacity to 100%, and the Flow to 100%.
  • Click on the Brush panel icon to toggle open the Brush panel.


  • In the Brush panel, change the Angle to 45°. Make sure that Spacing is checked and set to 140%.
  • Uncheck all the boxes under Brush Tip Shape.
  • In the Options Bar, click on the Brush panel icon again to toggle it closed.


Step Three: Erase the Edge of Your Paper

  • In the Layers panel, make sure that the paper you want to cut is the active layer.

Photoshop Elements Note: Position your brush to erase with just the tip. See the first image below.

Adobe Photoshop Note: Position your brush to erase with the top half. See the second image below.

  • On the document, holding down the Shift key, click and drag from the left end of your paper straight across to the other end. See the third image below.



Don’t forget to add a low drop shadow to the paper for more realism. You should be able to use this same brush for both vertical and horizontal erasing.

Well there you go. You have just created your own pinking shears. And, it's much easier than going out to buy a pair. I also think they are a lot easier to cut with!

Here are a couple of layouts I made using this eraser brush.




Digi Scrap Tutorial: Feeling Edgy-Zig Zags by Nannette Dalton
Layout: Cowboy Style by Nannette Dalton
Kit: Our Holiday by SMJ Designs
Overlay: Textures Vol. 1 by Susie Roberts
Stitching: All Stitched Up by Susie Roberts
Fonts: American Typewriter and Cry Kitty
Layout: You and Me by Nannette Dalton
Kit: Two Hearts by Anita Designs

Download this Digi Scrap Tutorial


24 Responses

  1. Mungo

    Thank you for your very helpful tutorial (and the brush)

    • Nann

      Mungo, You are so very welcome!

  2. Theresa

    EXCELLENT TUT! I love it! Been playing with it all morning. :o) THANKS!

  3. Angie

    Thanks for the tutorial and the brush! It never occurred to me to do zigzag borders…I’ll have to try a few!

  4. jayleigh

    Your tutorials are always well-written and easy to follow. i was a journalist for two small town newspapers and we used Photoshop for everything – and because these were small towns, i did every job – reporter, writer, photo processing, and layout – all in Photoshop and Pagemaker. i still use my old Pagemaker for journaling – especially for the long stories, because i can set them up in 3-column, justified, newspaper style. So page composition, writing, etc., have not been a problem for me – but, from you i have learned the fine points of element creation or, as in this tutorial, paper enhancement. Thanks so much.

    • Nann

      Jayleigh, Thank you for your kind words. I really do appreciate them. Glad to hear you like learning to make elements… we will keep them coming.

  5. char

    LOVE this! Can’t wait to have time to try it on pages about my mom. She was a superb seamstress and some pinked edges on her LO’s will be *just* right. I still have the pinking shears she gave me long ago but I was a klutz at sewing – NOW I can at least cut a straight zigzagged edge for Mom 🙂 This tutorial is wonderful and your example pages are darling!!

    • Nann

      Yea for you!I am glad I helped you cut in a straight line!So glad you can use the tutorial. I will look for you pages in the gallery.

  6. Novella

    Thanks for the brush and the great tutorial! I can’t wait to try it!

  7. Tammy

    Thank you for the great tutorial and the brush. 🙂

  8. Nan

    Thanks so much for this great brush! You have made my Tuesdays so much fun…I really appreciate the generous sharing of your knowledge. Thanks again for all of your tutorials.

  9. Karen Eyrich

    I enjoyed this tutorial. What I have just discovered is that it’s really easy to add these PDF instructions to my Amazon Cloud and to send them to my Kindle Fire. (You can probably do this with any tablet). I am now going through all the tutorial archives to see which ones I want in my cloud. I will be able to have instant access to all of these tutorials. Now I just have to actually scrapbook all the things I’m learning!

    • Nannette Dalton

      Karen, What a great idea. I know on the I-pad there is an option to send it to I-books then I read and it is save there. Thanks again for pointing that out. Yes, and I want to see some of your pages too.

  10. Beverly

    Love this brush! Years ago I made my own “pattern” by pinking a piece of paper then scanning it. How cumbersome. I should have known there was a photoshop way. Thanks for ALL your neat techniques and tips!

  11. Lana

    Thank you so much for the brush and the tutorial…I LOVE IT!!! So much fun to play with! I just love all your tips and tutorials! So easy to follow along!

  12. Nancy

    What a great idea. I love learning new things with my PSE 11. I’m still on the learning curve from PSE 9, and your newsletters make it so plain and easy to take the next step. Thanks so much!!

  13. April Smith

    Can you say “EASY!” Wow that was quick and fun! Never knew I could use the eraser tool like this! I love how your always thinking outside the box and helping me to do the same. 😉

  14. Cheryl Raun

    I used to do paper scrapping, too, and pinking (or scalloping) were some of my favorite edge finishes. Though my tastes have changed since those days, it will still be fun to go back for a “vintage” look!!

  15. Maria-Elena Canals

    Hi, I was trying to download the Pinking Shear Brush provided in the email I received but was not successful. I use a MAC and the download gives an error. How can obtain another chance to download in order to create the zigzag border. I have Photoshop CS6 and also Photoshop Elements 10.

    • Nannette Dalton

      Maria-Elena, I’m not sure why the brush isn’t working for you but I suggest you use the Photoshop version of the tutorial and make your own brush since you have CS6. You really already have the brush because it is just a square turned on its side to make a diamond. Let me know if this works.

  16. dorisedgar

    I tried to download the brush but when I clicked on the spot a add for some
    school came up I am trying to learn pse11

    Thanks for tut

    • Nannette Dalton

      Doris, Try right clicking on the link then “save target as” see if that will work for you.

  17. Deborah

    Thanks for the tut! In Elements, couldn’t you just define a diamond-shaped brush with the brush tool, and then open the eraser and use that brush? I mean, if the download doesn’t work for someone, this could be a way to do it. Thanks again! I, too, like to be able to make embellishments.

    • Nannette Dalton

      Deborah, Yes that would be a great work around.