Tutorial: Stitching around the edge of text or a custom shape

9 Jun

This past week I was looking threw the gallery at different layouts and I saw a cute little set of letters that looked like the edges had been stitched down onto the paper. I decided that I liked that effect enough, that I needed to find out how to do it myself. And so the search began. I google’d until I was blue in the face. I looked at all the sites I typically look at when needing a good tutorial, and I did find a few, but they all seemed to come up lacking. Missing a step here or there. So I decided, after reading 4-5 different tutorials, picking out the steps that worked and moving on to the next one, that after I figured this out I would make my own tutorial. Even if it only gets used by myself, when I forget how to do the stitching again! So here it goes…

 (I am using Photoshop CS5, I do not know if this works on newer versions)

Step 1: Click on your “Brushes” menu and then on “Brush Tip Shape” at the top. Adjust the roundness to 20%, and your spacing to around 550%. For this tutorial, my brush size was 100px and the text I was working with was 600px.  Spacing and Brush Size will vary depending on the size of your text or shape you are stitching around. Image


Step 2: Click “Shape Dynamics”. Under the ‘Angle Jitter’ option, you want “Direction” selected on the drop down menu. This will make the stitches follow directly along the path you set.




Step 3: Close out of the Brushes menu. On your first layer, use your text option or custom shape that you want to stitch around. When you have that finished, make a second layer on top of it. Select your text/shape layer, then hold CTRL and click your text/shape layer. This will make ‘little black ants’ march around the edge of your shape or text, showing that it is selected. 



Step 4: Go up to the “Select” menu at the top of the screen. Click “Modify” and another menu will pop out, click “Contract” on this menu. 


Step 5: When you click “Contract” you will get a little menu pop-up. For this tutorial, I put in 25px, but I’m using large text. If you are doing a small item or text, you may want to stay closer to 10-15px. 



Step 6: You will notice that your little “Marching ants” went from the very edge of your shape/text, and moved in just a little. This is where your stitching will be placed. If you like this placement, continue on. If it needs adjusted farther in, you can repeat the last step. If it is to far in, click “Edit” then “Step Back” and do it over again, imputing a smaller amount in the pop up box.

Step 7: Now you are going to click your top layer, just so that it is highlighted and click on your “Paths” menu. When that opens you will see several little icons along the bottom of the new menu. Click the third one from the right, which is “Make Work path From Selection”. This will turn your little marching ants into a solid line. 




Step 8: When you click the button, a new selection will appear in your Paths Menu. It will say “Work Path”. 

Now make sure that over on the left hand side, your brush is selected and that the brush displayed just above that is the stitch brush that you made at the beginning of this tutorial. You also want to make sure that you have a contrasting color selected as your foreground color. This color will be the color of your “Stitch”. Once you have all of that checked, go ahead and right click on the “Work Path” selection in your Path Menu. This will bring up another menu, and you want to select “Stroke Path”. 



Step 9: Another little pop up menu will appear, with a drop down menu. You want to select “Brush”, then hit OK.Image

Hey, Look! There are your stitches, on your text or shape or whatever you are stitching! Aren’t they cute?! If they are cute, and you love them, then go ahead and click the little trash can on the “Paths” menu. This will remove that solid line, that your stitches just appeared on.

If they are NOT cute, it is most likely because the brush size is to big/small or the spacing is to big/small. You can adjust those in the brush menu and try again. Don’t give up! 



So now your cute little stitches are on their own layer, right there above your text or shape. If you want to add some texture or shadows to your stitches to make them a little more realistic, you can do that now. 


Thank you for taking a few minutes to read my tutorial. I hope it helps someone else as much as I know it will help me next week when I forget how to do this again. (When does pregnancy brain go away anyway?!) 

If you like this tutorial, and want me to write one on a different subject for you, just let me know! I’m still learning, and would love to help you learn too!




7 Responses to “Tutorial: Stitching around the edge of text or a custom shape”

  1. Marilyn June 10, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    Thank you so much for this fantastic tutorial. I am new to using Photoshop and am searching for tuts just like this. I love the screenshots, makes the tut so much easier to follow.

    • lyllahraven June 11, 2013 at 12:17 am #

      I am so glad that it helped you! If there is something else that you run against that you would like me to do a tutorial on, feel free to email me. I’m still new to photoshop too and I find a lot of the tutorials available, frustrating.

  2. Arizona Girl June 22, 2013 at 12:48 am #

    Great tut.. Thanks April! I had wondered how to do this. I have an action that is suppose to do this for me but it doesn’t always work. I use Photoshop CS2 and your tut works well on straight sides but curved has a few “stray” stitches. Did you read anything in your researching about CS2 having problems and how to fix them? Thanks so much!!!

    • lyllahraven June 22, 2013 at 2:20 am #

      If I remember correctly, I think you can fix it, or atleast make it look better by adjusting the size of your brush, thus adjusting the size of the ‘stitch’. I will double check that and let you know for sure. I hope this helps!!

      • Arizona Girl June 29, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

        This does help but there are some random out of the area stitches. I have an action that is suppose to do this for me too and it does the exact same thing…. maybe I need to tell my husband its time to upgrade to newer version.

      • lyllahraven June 29, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

        How odd. I’m sorry it’s giving you that error.

      • Arizona Girl June 30, 2013 at 1:22 am #

        I have thought about contacting the designer who created the action and seeing if she knows how to fix the problem. Thanks for trying to help. I love the tutorial I didn’t know how to do it without the action.

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