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Photoshop: Jar Stencil

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Photoshop: Jar Stencil

I’m gearing up to paint some chalkboard signs on my storage jars. I have so many different kinds of rice that it’s getting to be work telling them apart!

I didn’t want to paint plain ol’ rectangles or ovals on the jars, so I decided to create stencil templates in Photoshop. I like vintage store signs, so I created 2 flourish-y patterns.

Version 1:

Template for Jars #1

Version 2:

Template for Jars #2

If you like my stencil templates, go ahead and download the pdfs here: Version 1 & Version 2. Be sure to scale them to the size you want before printing.Then cut them out along the  inside line and tape to whatever you’re painting.

Tip: If you have some extra contact paper lying around, cut out the template on that and stick it to the jar.

Or search the custom shapes you already have on your computer and save the jpg as a pdf in the Save As menu.

Or, if you’d like to create new ones yourself, follow the directions below! All you need is Photoshop or a similar program.

Step 1) Open a fresh document of any size at 300 dpi. Keep in mind, it’s much easier to scale your image to a smaller size than it is to scale to a larger one. So start big. I made mine 11″ wide by 8.5″ tall.

Step 2) Create a type layer and type a { using a large font size (Shift + [ ). For the above, I used News Gothic MT at 400 pt. But if you’d like something less rigid, a little more playful, I recommend going with a handwriting font like {skinny jeans} or Mathilde.

Type Bracket

Step 3) In the layers menu, right-click (on a Mac Ctrl + click) on that first bracket layer and select “Duplicate Layer.”

Duplicate first layer

A dialog box will pop up prompting you to name your layer. I recommend doing so to “Right” and then changing the other to “Left.” Saves some confusion.

Step 4) From the Edit menu, hover over Transform and select Rotate 180.

Rotate 180

Step 5) Move the flipped bracket to the other side of your board.

To move the bracket in a straight line, click on the layer then hold down the Shift key as you move it. (Let go of the mouse button before the Shift key. Otherwise, your shape will jump to wherever the cursor is on the page.)

Step 6) In the layers menu, right-click on the newest bracket layer and duplicate again. Rename it “bottom” or something similar.

Step 7) In the Edit menu, hover over Transform and select “Rotate 90 CW.” Center the third, horizontal bracket between the 2 vertical brackets.

Center the horizontal bracket

Step 8) In the Edit menu, select Free Transform.

Click Free Transform

A box will appear around your bracket. Use the nodes in the middle of each side of that box to stretch your image.

Stretch the image

Try to stretch evenly to each side (use each node evenly), stretching the bracket in small increments, pausing to re-center the image between the 2 vertical brackets, until you have the curve you want.

The Proper Curve

Step 9) In the layers menu, right-click on the bottom bracket and duplicate the layer, renaming the new layer “top.” In the Edit menu, hover over Transform and select “Rotate 180.” Move the new stretched bracket to align with the top of your vertical brackets.

Step 10) Before you start cleaning up your template, double-click on either the “top” or “bottom” bracket layer in the layer menu. The Layer Styles menu will open. Check “Color Overlay” and choose any color.

Color Overlay

Repeat for the other horizontal bracket.

Repeat Color Overlay

Now you can see the lines of each bracket better.

Step 11) Reorder your layers so that the Right and Left brackets are highlighted over the Top and Bottom brackets. To do this, simply click and drag the layers in your layers menu.

Drag Right and Left on top

Center your brackets and align the inner lines.

Align These Points

Step 12) Once your points are aligned, go ahead and erase the excess on the red brackets. Leave the black brackets intact.

Erase the red brackets

Step 13) Once you have your excess erased, go to the layer menu and remove your color overlay. To do this, click on the eye image next to “Effects” in each of the Top and Bottom bracket layers.

Click eye next to Effects

PSD done

Step 14) In the Edit menu, select Save As and save your file as either a jpg or a pdf – dealer’s choice. If you’d like to keep your background transparent, save the file as a png. I don’t use pngs on the site because I read that some browsers (IE for example) have trouble displaying them.

Here’s a different (kind of messy) version that I made with Mathilde. It’s a bit more cartoon-y than the ones I made.

Mathilde version


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