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Inked Edges PLUS: A Photoshop Elements Tutorial

On Monday, I did an inked edges tutorial for all of you, but in my rush to get things posted, I forgot that a lot of you are PSE users and that YOU might be interested in inked edges too! Thanks to some of my wonderful readers, and a sweet reminder that not ALL of you have jumped on the CS bandwagon…yet, I decided to do a quick version of the tutorial for those of you that use the Elements program!

There IS some good news when it comes to this tutorial!  You CAN ink edges in PSE…the bad news is that it takes a few more steps..but as with all things Elements, you probably know that by now! So, without further ado…here is the inking tutorial for all my Elements friends!

Berniek,  one of my wonderful readers, wrote me last week and said she would love to know how to get those great inky edges that paper scrappers get by using the ink pad on the edges of the paper. If you are not familiar with this technique, or are wondering WHY would you want to  ink the edges of your papers and elements, the short answer is because it can add a lot depth to your layouts, and really help those papers and elements stand out!  While inking the edges of our paper layouts is pretty easy, inking the edges of out digital layouts is even easier…and WAY less messy! There are many different techniques that can be used to achieve this look in PSE as well as the CS version, but today, I am going to show you the one that produces the best results.

Begin by opening the alpha, paper or element that you want to ink.  We are going to use the same label as I did with the CS  version of this tutorial. The label is from Mye’s Sign of Spring kit.

When you bring your element into PSE, the background to the label is cropped very close and that doesn’t leave you much room to work,  so a helpful hint to increase your canvas size is to grab your CROP tool from the tools panel and start at the left top and drag the crop tool all the way down to the right corner. It will actually cover the whole label.  Next, locate the little boxes that surround the label.

There will be one in the middle of each of the four sides. When you hover over the square, an arrow tool will appear and you can pull the arrow out as far as you like (see above) Do this on all four sides. Then click  the green arrow to commit the changes. It will INCREASE your canvas size and you will have a larger space to work with !

Next, we need to create a new layer right above the label. You can do this by clicking on the New Layer Icon in top left corner of the Layers Panel.

Now,  press and hold the CTRL key and click on the  Layer Thumbnail picture of your label in the Layers Panel on the right side of your workstation.  Marching ants will surround your element or paper.

Once you have the marching ants, go to SELECT>MODIFY>CONTRACT

The Contract Selection dialogue box will appear and will ask you to input the number of pixels you want to contract by. This is where is will be solely up to you. This number depends a LOT on how much you want to ink or how large the paper or element is. If you are inking a label then you want the ink to be smaller than if you are inking the edges of a large 12×12 sheet of paper. I chose to contract my selection by 10 pixels. If you don’t can always input a number and UNDO if you do not like the results.

Once you enter the number, click OK. You will be able to see that your selection has now gotten smaller on your label.It is no longer surrounding the edges, but has shrunk ten pixels.

Now go to SELECT>FEATHER and input the number of pixels you want to feather your selection by. Feathering just adds a gradual decrease of the ink so that it will appear softer on the inside of the label as compared to the edges of the label.

You will not be able to see any changes to your selection….so don’t get worried 🙂

One more time, go to SELECT>INVERSE. This will inverse the selection you just did so that we will ONLY be able to paint on the part of the label that we want to ink! This keeps us from having any messes!

From your tools panel on the left hand side of the workstation, select your BRUSH tool. Once you have selected the tool, go to the top of your workstation and select a brush to paint on the ink. For this tutorial, I used a Faux Finish Brush.

You can change your brush by clicking on the drop down menu to the right of the word BRUSHES. Scroll down to Faux Finish and then find the brush labeled “Rolled rag-Terry 60px)

Now, you will need to choose the color that you want to ink the edges. Since this label has a brown hue, I am going to select a brown ink to edge it in. Locate the black/white boxes on the tools panel. This is where you set your foreground/background color.  Click on the top box (this controls the foreground color) and a Color Picker Dialogue box will pop up.  Select your ink color either by clicking on a color in the label (an eyedropper will be your mouse) or by picking your own color in the Color Picker Box.

Click OK to complete the selection option. Now you are ready to INK your paper or element.

Select the NEW LAYER COPY in your layers panel (it will be the blank empty one above your label)  Once selected, go over to the label and color the edges of your element or paper. You can see that it will only allow you to color on the edges of the page…nowhere else!

Color it all the way in and when you are done, hit CTRL D to deselect and remove the marching ants.  Now, go back to your original layer in the layers palette and once again, gold CTRL and click on the layer thumbnail. It will select the label again and marching ants will appear just around the label and not around the paint. (you can see I changed the color of my paint–which you can do too if you change your mind about the color) 🙂

Go back up to the NEW LAYER and make sure that you have clicked on it to highlight it. Go one last time to SELECT>INVERSE. Then hit DELETE. This will delete everything that is larger than the label and it will leave you with an inked edge!

Finally, once you have deleted the extra ink, change the layer mode to really complete the look. I used Overlay for mine, but Linear Burn and Color Burn work just as well..they just look different, so try them out to see what works best for your paper or element.

Once you have the label the way you want it to look, Merge the  layers by right clicking on the bottom layer and selecting Merge Visible!  By merging the visible layers and NOT flattening them, it will retain its translucent background and will be ready for use in your scrapbook pages!

There you have it! The same results..with just a slightly different way of doing it! Hope you enjoyed this companion lesson! I will see you Monday for a fun new tutorial!


comments +

  1. tiffany says:

    Thanks! That is very helpful.

  2. […] posted : HERE get-things, inked-edges, monday, pse, rush, tutorial, wonderful, […]

  3. Debbie says:

    Thank you so much!!! I have wanted to know how to do this in PSE since I started digital scrapping.

  4. JeannieK says:

    Big hug to you Tamara! Thank you for the PSE version! Will be trying this very soon! Happy Easter!

  5. TJ says:

    Just use control G and then you can just skip the extra steps on deleting the ink.

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I'm Mye De Leon

I'm a mom with a desire to give the best for her family and turned a lettering hobby into a multi6-figure business. These days, I eat strategy for breakfast and turn other businesses into successful empires.

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I'm Mye


My business is to help your business generate more revenue so you can be who you want to be.

I'm Mye


My business is to help your business generate more revenue so you can be who you want to be.