How to Make a Digital Washi Tape in Photoshop or Elements

This is a fun and easy tutorial that shows you how to make your own digital version of Washi Ribbon in Photoshop. If you’re scratching your head wondering what a Washi ribbon is, it’s a decorative ribbon made from natural materials in Japan. Many different types and styles are now exported from Japan, both in patterns and solid colors.

Their popularity has grown rapidly in recent years and they have become extremely popular for use in many craft projects, especially scrapbooking. However, if you’re more into digital scrapbooking, in this tutorial we’ll show you how to make your own unique digital ribbon to use in your projects.

To follow this tutorial you will need a copy of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Don’t worry, even if you’re new to Photoshop, this is a pretty easy project that everyone should follow, and you’ll learn a few useful tools and features along the way. You’ll also need an image of a simple piece of tape – here’s an image of a tape that you can download and use for free: IP_tape_mono.png. More experienced Photoshop users can take a photo or scan their own bits of ribbon and use it as a base. If you want to try this, cut the ribbon from the background and save the image as a PNG to get a transparent background. You’ll also find that making your tape as light as possible will give you a more neutral base to work with.

We show you how to make a solid colored ribbon and another version with a decorative pattern.

  1. Make a ribbon strip with a simple color
  2. Make a ribbon strip with an ornament
  3. Save your ribbon as PNG

Make a ribbon strip with a simple color

In this first step, we’ll show you how to add the color you want to the base ribbon image.

Go to File > Open and navigate to the downloaded file IP_tape_mono.png or your own custom ribbon image, select it and click Open button. It is recommended to go to File > Save As and save it as an appropriately named PSD file. PSD files are Photoshop’s native file format and allow you to store multiple layers in a document.

If the Layers palette isn’t already open, go to Window > Layers view. The ribbon should be the only layer in the palette and now hold the ctrl in Windows or the key order on a Mac, click the small icon that represents the ribbon layer. This will select all pixels in the layer that are not completely transparent, and you should now see a row of marching ants around the ribbon. Note that in some older versions of Photoshop you need to click the text area of ​​the layer, not the icon.

Then go to Layer > New > Layer or click the button New layer at the bottom of the layers palette, then click Edit > Fill . In the dialog box that opens, select Colour from the Use drop-down menu, then choose the color you want to apply to your ribbon from the color picker that opens. Click Okay in the color picker and then Okay in the Fill dialog box and you will see that the selected area is filled with the color you chose.

While Washi tape doesn’t have much surface texture, there isn’t much of it, so the base image of the tape we’re using has a very light texture. Make sure the new color layer is still active to make it visible, then click the dropdown Blending Mode at the top of the layers palette and change it to Multiply . Now right click on the color layer and select Merge down to merge the two layers into one. Finally, set the input field to cover meaning 95% so that the tape is slightly translucent, since the real washi tape also has a slight transparency.

Make a ribbon strip with an ornament

In the previous step, we added a simple color to the ribbon, but the technique for adding the pattern isn’t too different, so we won’t be repeating everything here. So if you haven’t read the previous step yet, please do so first.

Open an empty ribbon file and save it again as an appropriately named PSD file. Go to File > Place then navigate to the template file you will be using and click the button Open . This places the drawing on a new layer. To resize the image to fit better on the ribbon, go to Edit > Free Transform and you’ll see a bounding box with handles on the corners and sides. If you need to zoom out to see all the bounding boxes, go to View > Zoom Out . Click on one of the corner marks and hold the Shift to keep the same aspect ratio, drag the handle to resize the template.

When the ribbon is well covered with the pattern, make a selection of the ribbon as in the previous step, click on the pattern layer in the layers palette and then click the button Mask at the bottom of the palette. – see picture. Just like in the previous step, change the blending mode of the pattern layer to Multiply right click and select Draining and then reduce cover before 95% .

Save your ribbon as PNG

To use the new Washi Virtual Ribbon in your digital projects, save the file as a PNG image so that it retains a transparent background and slightly transparent appearance.

Go to File > Save As and in the dialog box that opens, navigate to where you want to save your file, select PNG from the file format drop-down list, and click Save strong>. In the PNG Options dialog box, select Not and press Okay .

You now have a Washi digital tape file that you can import into your digital scrapbooking projects. You may also want to check out our other tutorials showing how to apply a simple torn paper effect to the edge of a ribbon and add a really subtle drop shadow that adds just a little bit of realism.

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