How to Create Borders in Photoshop CS5

This blog was inspired by a question from one my students in a Photoshop training class about how to create this simple, yet elegant frame around an image.

The finished image with borders.

  1. Open the image and create a new layer. Go to the Edit menu, select Fill and fill the layer with black. Name the layer White Border.
  2. Click the fx button at the bottom of the Layers panel and select Stroke. Set the the Size to 9 pixels, the Position to Inside, and the Opacity to 60%. (These values are based on the size and resolution of the image used. This image is about 3″ x 4″ with a resolution of 72 ppi.)
  3. Go to the menu to the left in the Layer Style dialog box, and select Blending Options at the very top of the list. In the Advanced Blending Options section, set the Fill Opacity to 0%. Click OK to close Layer Styles. Note the Fill Opacity field at the top of the Layers panel.Layer Styles dialog box for creating the white border.
  4. Drag the White Border layer to the New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel to duplicate the layer. Rename the new layer color1 border.
  5. Double-click the fx button next to color1 border to edit the Layer Styles. Edit by double-clicking fx button next to the layer name.
  6. Select Stroke from the menu on the left. Change the Size to 4 pixels and increase the Opacity to 80- 100%. Click the Color Swatch and pick a medium-saturation, neutral tone. Click OK. (For this image, I sampled from the plate. If you hover over the image while in the Color Picker, your cursor will change to the Eyedropper.)
    Layer Styles dialog box for creating the second border.
  7. Duplicate the layer and rename it. Double-click the new layer’s fx button.
  8. Select Stroke from the menu. Change the Size to 2 pixels, click the Color Swatch and select your darkest color. In this case I sampled from the chocolate in the image. Medium-dark golden bronze shades work well, too.
    Layer Styles dialog box for creating the third border.

That’s it. Simple, elegant… Gotta love it!

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