Adobe Photoshop Elements Curled Ribbon Tutorial

Written by darrin koltow
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Knowing how to create images of curled ribbons in Adobe Photoshop Elements lets you depict these decorative forms in illustrations of festive events like holiday and birthday parties. You can learn a lot about Elements by trying to create these forms through the program's filters. However, learning to use the Elements manual painting tools will build your drawing skills and knowledge of the program. In your approach to this and any drawing project, always seek to simplify your subject into forms and shapes familiar to you.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Click the "File" menu's "New" command, and then click "OK" to create the new canvas on which to draw the curled ribbon.

  2. 2

    Click the tool palette's paintbrush icon to run the "Paintbrush" tool, and then drag on the canvas to form a "C" shape.

  3. 3

    Click the magic wand icon from the tool palette, and then click the "C" to select it. Press "Control" and "C" simultaneously, and then press "Control" and "V" simultaneously to duplicate the shape.

  4. 4

    Press "V" to run the "Move" tool, and then press and hold "Control." Drag the duplicated "C" to a short distance directly above the first "C." Right-click the top layer in the "Layers" window, and then click "Merge down" to merge the duplicate "C" with the first "C."

  5. 5

    Click the tool palette's "Paintbrush" tool again, and then click the upper "C's" top point. Press "Shift" to tell Elements that you want to draw a straight line, and then click the lower "C's" top point. This connects the two points with a straight line, which now forms the first curl's top-right edge.

  6. 6

    Use the instructions from the previous step to connect the bottom two points of the two "C"s. This forms the first curl's bottom edge. Draw a vertical line connecting the leftmost extremes of the two "C"s. This line indicates where the curl's front face turns into its back face. When you complete this step, you'll see the unshaded form of the ribbon's first curl.

  7. 7

    Drag the mouse throughout the white area of the lowest, closed subshape of the larger shape of the curl. This shades the curl's underside. You can now discern the front and underside of the first curl.

  8. 8

    Click the eraser icon from the tool palette, and then drag over the portion of the ribbon's underside that's visible through the front side. This action erases that portion. Use the instructions from steps 3 and 4 to duplicate the first curl, and move it so that its lower edge matches up with the first curl's upper edge.

  9. 9

    Use the instructions from the previous step to erase the portion of the second curl that's behind the first curl. This portion will be a part of the second curl's shaded underside.

Tips and warnings

  • Repeat steps 8 and 9 to create as many curls for the ribbon as you need.

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