Learn how to make bracket frames in Photoshop, how to save them as shapes and how to use them over and over again. This process is guaranteed to be fool proof! It is easy, repeatable and doesn’t need a wealth of Photoshop skills. The frames can be used for digi scrapping as well as for displaying photos – pretty much whatever you want to do with them, you can.


Hello, I’m Helen Bradley.

Welcome to this video tutorial.

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can make bracket frames very quickly and very easily in Photoshop.

Before we get started with this tutorial let’s have a look and see what it is that we’re aiming for and I’m going to show you how you can create this sort of bracket frame in Photoshop.

And I’m also going to show you then how you can fill it and add a background so you could get this kind of effect.

I’m going to tuck this one away for now and let’s start with a brand new image.

I’m choosing File, New and my image is going to be 1,200 pixels by 1,200.

I think if you start with an image this size you’re going to find that it’s a workable solution.

So I’ll click Ok.

Now we’re going to use some guides so I’m going to choose View and then New Guide.

And I need a number of guides and they need to be 200 pixels in from the edges.

So I want a horizontal one at 200 pixels.

I want another new guide at 1,300 pixels because that’s 200 in from the other edge.

Now I’m going to choose New Guide and do some verticals exactly the same values, one at 200 pixels and one at 1,000.

So this is going to help us align everything.

I’m now going to choose the Text tool and I’ve got a really large font size or I’m going to select a really large font size about 400 points which is really quite big.

I’m going to click here and I’m going to type a curly bracket and that’s just a curly bracket shape.

Now we can’t see it because it’s white on white so let’s just go and get a color for it right now.

Now this is an extremely unattractive for my purposes here curly bracket so let’s just select it and let’s find a nicer type.

So I’m just going to run through my typefaces until I find a curly bracket that I think is attractive.

I want it to have a fairly short start and something pointy or nice and curvy so that we can actually use it.

And it would be nice if it was sort of balanced.

I think this one might actually make quite a good frame so let’s settle for this one.

Having created it the next thing I’m going to do is this is the text layer, I’m going to right click it and I’m going to convert this to a shape.

So this character is now a shape.

And I’m going to select the Move tool and I’m going to hold the Shift key as I do because I want to constrain this so that it is created at a very large size and so it doesn’t lose its nice curviness.

And so I’m going to just make sure that it lines perfectly with these guides that I’ve created.

And because I’ve got smart guides turned on you can do this by choosing View and then Show and then Smart Guides you’ll see that you’ll see actually little red lines when everything is lined up.

So now that it’s lined up to the guides that I’ve created these two at the top and the bottom, now I’m going to drag it out and align it perfectly to this other guide here as well.

So I’m looking for nice little red lines to appear telling me that it’s lined up in this box here absolutely perfectly.

I’m not totally convinced right now.

Let’s just make sure that it is, okay.

So once it’s in position I’m going to hit the checkmark here.

You can see that it’s extending a bit beyond the edge of the image.

I’m not a slight bit worried about that.

All I need to do is to choose Image and then Reveal All and we can see its edge.

So now that we’ve got one in place the rest of it is really easy.

I’m going to drag this layer down onto the New Layer icon so I now have two.

I’m going to make sure that I target this layer and that I have the Move tool selected, I’m going to choose Edit and then Transform Path and I’m just going to flip this horizontally.

And what that does is create a mirror image of my shape.

Now provided I select the shape that I want to move and start moving it, if I hold the Shift key it will be constrained so it can only be moved in a horizontal direction.

So it’s going to line up perfectly to these guides here and all I need to worry about is that it lines up with this guide here that I’ve created.

And again, I’m just going to choose Image, Reveal All so that we can see both sides of this.

Now I’m going to select both these layers and I’m going to drag the selected layers onto the New Layer icon so that I’ve got another set of these braces.

And I’m going to link these.

I’m going to right click and choose Link Layers because I want these two to travel together.

And what I’m going to do with them is simply rotate them through 90 degrees.

So I’m going to make sure that I have them selected and that I have the Move tool selected and I’m just going to rotate these around 90 degrees and so they’re going to move exactly into position.

And I’m going to click the checkmark here to accept that and again, Image, Reveal All so that I can see the image.

Now I’m going to unlink these layers by clicking them and click Unlink Layers.

And the reason why I want to unlink them is that I want to now move each one of these layers independently of the other.

So I’m going to select this one first and I’m just going to use the arrow keys to nudge it in because I want to join up these gaps.

And I’m going to nudge it in and I’m going to count as I go.

Now I nudged that 20 times.

This one’s got a much bigger gap than I normally see so I’m going to have to do that 20 times for each of these.

And I’m going to continue all the way around.

And then I’m going to continue and do it again.

I’m moving the edge ones inwards and the top ones down.

Now you can see that some of these are coming in more quickly than others.

I’m not really worried about that because you’re not going to see it later on if it’s slightly off skew.

I’m just going to bring this one down a bit too.

I just want to join it up so that the edges are pretty even all the way around and some of them are going to join up in different ways.

It’s going to depend on the curly braces that you’re using.

I’m going to press Ctrl semicolon to turn off the guidelines now.

And this basically is my new curly bracket shape.

But of course I want to save it as a shape so that I can reuse it.

So I’m going to click on the topmost layer and then click on the bottommost of these four shape layers.

I’m going to right click and I’m going to choose Merge Shapes because what that does is it merges these into a single shape so they can be sized and moved and dealt with as a single shape.

And now so that I can use it later on as a shape I’m going to choose Edit and then Define Custom Shape.

And I’m going to call this bracket shape and click Ok.

And now of course we’ve created this bracket we can just discard that shape, that image.

We don’t need it any longer.

So I’m going to choose File, New and let’s create a brand new image.

Now we’re going to find this custom shape in our shapes collection so we’ll click here on the Custom Shape tool.

It shares a toolbar position with the Rectangle tool and a number of others.

But it’s the Custom Shape that we want.

And I’m going to go to the very bottom of my list because this very last one is the bracket shape that we just created.

You can see that I’ve created a few others using different fonts.

Now that I’ve got my shape I’m going to hold the Shift key as I draw it out on this image.

And you can see it’s coming in as a new shape layer because I had it designated as a shape.

In earlier versions of Photoshop you won’t have this dropdown list but you’ll be able to select the shape from the toolbar.

So now that I’ve got my shape let’s have a look and see how we would create some of the other effects that were around that original shape.

The first thing I’m going to do is add a background.

And I have already created a very simple pattern so I’m going to choose Edit, Fill and I have a pattern fill that I’m going to fill the background layer with.

And it’s just a little blue strip pattern.

But I don’t want it to be blue so I’m going to choose Image, Adjustments, Hue/Saturation and I’m going to adjust the layer so that it’s a color that works a little bit better with the shape color that I’m using.

So I’m just going to select that and click Ok.

Now I can of course go back to my shape and change the fill color for it.

So I might make it a little less obvious of a pink.

So I’ll select that.

I’m also going to add a stroke to it so I’m going to choose a white stroke or a creamy short of stroke and I’m going to make it a dot stroke.

So we can now see that we’ve got a dot stroke here.

Now I want the middle of this pattern to be a different color again.

And this is the important to see how you can actually create a fill for this shape so that it blocks out the background behind it.

To do that I’m going to take the shape layer and drop it on the New Layer icon so I have a duplicate.

And I’m going to right click and I’m going to rasterize this top layer.

So it’s now a raster layer.

Because it’s a raster layer I can now use the Magic Wand tool and I’ll click just outside the frame so that I select all the area around this shape.

And then I’m going to choose Select Inverse so that I’ve got the entire area of the shape selected.

And because I want to just miss the edge of this shape I’m going to bring this selection in 2 or 3 pixels.

So I’m going to choose Select, Modify, Contract.

I’m just going to bring it in a couple of pixels to make sure that I’m well clear of the border.

And now that I am clear of the border I’m going to select a color here, a sort of orangey yellow color and I’m going to fill my selection with this sort of yellowy orange.

But I don’t want to fill the layer that has the pink on it so I’m going to create a brand new layer and fill that.

So Alt, Backspace, Option, Delete and I’ll press Ctrl D to deselect the selection.

Now I’m going to get rid of the shape copy because I only needed that to create my fill and now I’m going to drag this below the frame and above the background.

And when I do we end up with the final effect that we saw in the original image.

So this was the original image that I created.

And the only real difference between these two is the style of bracket that I used to create the bracket edge.

So I’ve chosen a rather plain one here but in this case I chose a very fancy one.

But the process is identical to create these frames.

And once you get used to it you’ll be able to create these very quickly and very easily.

And this gives you the ability to create your own frames at any time to your own specifications.

I’m Helen Bradley.

Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial.

Look out for more tutorials on my website at projectwoman.com where you’ll find tutorials for Photoshop, Illustrator, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom and a whole lot more.

And please subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you’ll be notified when new videos are released.

Helen Bradley