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Creating Holiday Wreaths

In this tutorial, we are going to create some fancy Holiday Wreaths in Photoshop. We’ll cover some “Path” basics along the way!

Step 1

Before we can get started on our Wreath, we need to create a special “Brush” that imitates the leaves on a wreath. In other words, we need to create a single one of those spiny leaves which will help us create hundreds of Similar leaves. Create a new document in Photoshop, 500×500, White Background.

In this tutorial, you’ll be using the Pen Tool. While we will try to familiarize you with the Pen Tool in this tutorial, you may want to swing by our Pen Tools Basics Tutorial if you haven’t used this tool in the past.

Now, grab your Pen tool from the toolbar. Select Black as the Foreground Color. Create a point near the bottom of your image by clicking.

This is how your pen tool should be setup

Step 2

The pen tool is used to create vector graphics. This point you see on your canvas is not actually a visible element in your graphic, but rather just a point. Create another point just up, and to the left of this one. When you click the mouse, hold down and drag up to the left a bit:

Create a new Point, Hold down the mouse button while dragging up to the left a bit to make it curve

Create a few more similar points to create the shape. To finish it off, click your first point to close the shape.

Here is what the final shape should look like.

Step 3

Disable the “Background Layer” for your document, and Define your spine shape as a new Brush Preset (Edit > Define Brush Preset). Your shape will now be a usable Brush with the brush tool.

You can find your new Brush in the Brushes Window

Step 4

We are now going to setup our brush for drawing the Wreath. Begin by selecting your new brush from the Brushes Window (shown above). Then proceed to apply the following settings to your brush:

Brush Tip Shape: Diameter: 12, Spacing: 1%
Shape Dynamics: Size Jitter: 20%, Angle Jitter: 15%
Scattering: Scatter: 140%, Count: 1
Color Dynamics: Foreground/Background Jitter: 20%, Hue/Saturation/Brightness Jitter: 3%

Select #29511e as your Foreground Color, and #0c3a0e as your background (or similar greens). Your brush is now set up.

Step 5

Close out of your first document, and create a new document (500×500, White Background). Create a new Layer for your Wreath.

It would be awfully hard to draw a perfect circular wreath using the brush tool, unless of course you have a knack for that sort of thing. However, for those of us who don’t, there is an easy way to achieve a perfect circle while using the brush tool. Select the Ellipse Tool from the toolbar, and set the mode to Paths.

Selecting the Paths mode with the Ellipse Tool

On your new canvas (in your new layer) draw an ellipse while holding shift to make a perfect circle. Right Click after you’ve drawn your circle anywhere on the canvas, and click Stroke Path. From the Tool Dropdown, Select Brush.

Stroke the Path with the Brush Tool

Note: You should have a full circle. I cut out half of the circle to show the path, and the stroked segment.

Step 6

Repeat this stroke several times to get some dense leaves. After 3-5 repeats, resize your path (Edit > Transform, or Ctrl + T). Hold Alt + Shift while resizing to keep the path centered, and to scale. Make the path just a bit smaller than it was before, Press Enter to apply the transformation, and repeat step 5. Do this several times until you have what looks like a complete wreath. To get rid of your path, press Enter, or Go to the Paths Panel, and manually delete it.

Wreath Shape Completed

Step 7

One more thing to do. Let’s shade our wreath using the Dodge and Burn tools to make it seem a bit more real. Using the Burn Tool, with a Large, very soft brush (Hardness set to 0%), brush along the inside, and outer rim. Try to get only the shadow and midtone ranges. Then go back over with the dodge tool, highlighting the highlights and midtones around the center of the wreath.

Shading Details

That’s it!

Additionally, you may choose to decorate your wreath with some extra foliage, some ornaments, or perhaps throw a ribbon on there as I have (just a few shapes I put together with the pen tool).

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from Tutorial9


  1. Add point Subtract point
    LaundryBasketcollapsible (1 Point) November 22, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Very useful thanks

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  2. Add point Subtract point
    hoteldibangkok (1 Point) November 18, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks very much
    I love this tutorial

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  3. Add point Subtract point
    Nappies (1 Point) November 8, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    IT’s not easy, but you make it easy..thanks

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  4. Add point Subtract point
    psn card (1 Point) March 9, 2010 at 9:47 am

    PlayStation Network Cards or psn cards are prepaid cards used to buy PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable contents in the online PlayStation network. Our Online PSN Store is easy to buy psn card USA only) directly via Paypal which is very safe.

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    ดาวน์โหลดเพลง (1 Point) February 3, 2010 at 2:20 am

    wow Cool tip thank for sharing.145

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    ฟังเพลง (1 Point) February 1, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    wow Cool tip thank for sharing.131

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  7. Add point Subtract point
    เพลงใหม่ล่าสุด (1 Point) February 1, 2010 at 1:41 am

    wow Cool tip thank for sharing.125

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  8. Add point Subtract point
    เพลงใหม่ล่าสุด (1 Point) January 30, 2010 at 9:17 am

    wow thanks so much.

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  9. Add point Subtract point
    Joseph Hillary (1 Point) December 25, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    This looks very simpler and really fantastic..
    Thank you so much for posting it…

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  10. Add point Subtract point
    tinabeth (1 Point) September 15, 2009 at 6:55 am

    Great tut. Again. I used this as a brush-tutorial, and figured out lot of new stuff about brushes & Photoshop. This app will never stop to amaze me.


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  11. Add point Subtract point
    huwaw69 (1 Point) May 8, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Great for holidays, but the technique used might come in handy in other images

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  12. Add point Subtract point

    Great tutorial. I appreciate all the Pen tool tutorials, as I still suck at it. But I am slowly getting better, with help from tutorials like yours. Keep up the great work.

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  13. Add point Subtract point

    owesome work…great..tutorials for ps learners….waiting for more new ideas…

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  14. Add point Subtract point
    Argelia (2 Points) June 29, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Your site is very useful, thank you for share.

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  15. Add point Subtract point
    Nathan (1 Point) April 2, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Looks like a tire covered in moss :(

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  16. Add point Subtract point
    Chris Henn (1 Point) February 23, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    I just started to put my attention on the pen tool. I am hopelessly horrible at it but thanks for the help.

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  17. Add point Subtract point
    Steve Mathis (1 Point) January 2, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    The pen tool is arguably one of the most useful tools you can learn to use well in photoshop. Learning to use it was easily the best thing I ever did to help develop my skills.

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  18. Add point Subtract point

    Hey, glad this helped you out! This is by no means an extensive tutorial for the pen tool (or its sister tools for that matter). Ill try to cover it in further detail soon!

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  19. Add point Subtract point

    Wow, I never knew how to use the pen tool correctly, hopefully you will be releasing more pen tool oriented tutorials soon. I always screw it up and it looks like garbage, but I remember seeing some of the products of using the pen tool on greycobra and being amazed. Keep up the good work.

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