How to add frames in photoshop

Written by william harrel
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How to add frames in photoshop
Frame your Photoshop images with stylised strokes. (Border of paint strokes on an isolated background image by Andrew Brown from

Adobe Photoshop is the leading image editing and graphics creation software, used by designers and photographers alike to prepare images and graphics for electronic and print media. Often, designs call for decorative frames around Photoshop photos and graphics. Photoshop provides many ways to create frames. One of the easiest and more straightforward methods is to "stroke" the image, convert the stroke to a Smart Object, and then use one of the Smart Object styles to create your frame. Once you've applied the style, you can then edit it to your taste.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Adobe Photoshop CS2 or later

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    Framing Your Image

  1. 1

    Open the image you want to frame in Photoshop. In Photoshop, click "File" on the menu bar and choose "Open." This displays the Open dialogue box. Navigate to the image file, select it and choose "Open."

  2. 2

    Go to the "Layers" panel. Layers is usually on the right side of the Photoshop window. If you don't see it there, click "Window" on the menu bar and choose "Layers." Click the "New Layer" button (second button from the right in the lower-right corner of the Layers panel). This creates a new blank layer.

  3. 3

    Click "Select" on the menu bar and then choose "All." This selects the entire blank layer. Click "Edit" on the menu bar and choose "Stroke" to open the Stroke dialogue box. At this point, it doesn't matter what size and colour stroke you apply. When you apply the Smart Object style, Photoshop ignores these settings.

  4. 4

    Right-click the new layer in the Layers panel and choose "Convert to Smart Object" from the flyout menu. Click "Window" on the menu bar and choose "Styles" to open the Styles panel. This panel displays several predefined Smart Objects. Find one you like and click it to apply it to the layer. (Note that some, but not many, of the styles don't have frames. These are fairly obvious. Don't choose one of these styles to create a frame.)

  5. 5

    Double-click "Effects" in the Smart Object layer tree in the Layers panel. This opens the Layer Style dialogue box. Depending on the style you chose, several options in the left "Styles" pane are selected. You can edit your frame by selecting these options and changing the settings in the centre pane of this dialogue box. Click the "Preview" check box in the right pane---this allows you to see the changes you make to your frame as you make them.

  6. 6

    Click the "Stroke" option in the left pane of the dialogue box. This displays the options for editing the size, gradient, and lighting angle of your frame. You'll make most of the changes to your frame here. For example, to increase the size, or thickness, of your frame, drag the "Size" slider to the right. To change the lighting angle, change the value in the "Angle" field. Photoshop measures angles in degrees. You can also tweak the other options selected in the Styles list. Select each one and make the desired changes. You can also add other affects to the style by selecting one or more of the options in the Styles list.

  7. 7

    Click "OK" to apply the changes to your frame and close the Layer Style dialogue box.

Tips and warnings

  • You can start over at any time by clicking the Smart Object style again in the Styles panel. This resets the style back to the default settings.
  • You can apply a different style at any time by clicking it in the Styles panel. This removes the current style and applies the new one.
  • You can create a new Smart Object style to use again in other images. In the Layer Style dialogue box, click "New Style." Name the style and click "OK." Photoshop adds it to the Styles panel.
  • Unless you want to create a new style, don't double-click the Smart Object layer itself to open Layer Styles. This opens and saves a new Photoshop file. You'll have to save your changes as a new style and apply the new style to your image from the Styles panel. Using this method clutters up the Styles panel.

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