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Simple Coffee Cup Icon Photoshop Tutorial

In this tutorial we’ll be going though creating a semi-photo realistic coffee cup, with some nice frothy coffee.

Materials Needed:

Final Image

See High Resolution.

Final Image

Step 1

Make a new Photoshop document with the dimensions of 1024×1024 pixels, this is a nice round size and is a good one to use when making large icons.


Step 2

Set a background colour (I went for a light green) and layout some guides, they should snap to the center of the x and y axis.


Step 3

Make an oval shape and center it. Then rename it to “Base”.


Step 4

Get the rectangle tool and set it to “subtract” then cut the top half of the oval, this is just to make it easier to see other shapes.


Step 5

Now make another oval across the half oval to make a bowl like shape, you may want to adjust the colour for visibility. Rename this to “Rim”.


Step 6

We’re going to do a little back step now, but this will help us a lot later on. Grab the path selection tool which is the black cursor towards the bottom of your toolbar, if the arrow is white, hold down the button for a couple of seconds and select the black cursor.


Step 7

Select the oval you just made and copy it, then hide the layer and click on the layer mask of the oval beneath paste the shape you just copied and set it to subtract the shape. Your final shape should look like this:


Set “Rim” back to visible.

Step 8

Ok so we have the cup’s basic shape, now we’re going to tweak it a little and add some layer styles. I decided the cup was a little too wide so using the Free Transform Tool I squished it a little.

Now we’re going to add some layer styles. Change the colour of “Base” to a light grey, I used #f4f4f4. Then apply these layer styles:


Step 9

Duplicate “Base” (ctrl or cmd+j) and remove all the styles then apply this style:


Step 10

Now it’s time to move onto the “Rim” layer. Set it’s colour to #f4f4f4 just like “Base” and add these layer styles:


This is what your cup should look like so far, although it looks more like a japanese rice bowl at the moment.


Step 11

Now it’s time to hollow this cup out, duplicate the “Rim” layer and get the free transform tool (ctrl or cmd + T), then adjust the size to your preference (how big you want the rim to be). Rename it to “Cup_Inner”.

Now apply some layer styles to this:


Here’s what you should have so far:


Step 12

Now we’re going to draw the handle use the pen tool to draw a shape similar to this.


Then we’re going to apply a very simple layer style:


So that’s the cup done, but it would look miles better with some coffee in it.

The Cup

Step 13

Get the “Cup_Inner” layer and duplicate it, Recolour it as #e7974f and Rename it as “Coffee”. Move it down 10 pixels then copy the “Cup_Inner” vector mask and paste it on “Coffee” and set the mode to Intersect. Your final result should be this:

Apply these layer styles to the “Coffee” layer:

Step 14

Duplicate “Coffee” and set it’s fill opacity to 0%, then add this style:


At the moment this is our coffee cup:


Step 15

Now at the moment it’s not looking at all like coffee, nevermind frothy coffee, so we’re going to use a texture to make it a little quicker and easier.

Stock Photo: Premium, or Free Versions

The texture I used cannot be included with the .PSD I’m afraid. However here’s a link to it here, alternatively if your not willing to fork over a dollar (or 20 if it’s your first Envato purchase or your balance is less than a dollar) you could use my texture for free here. However the result with mine isn’t very good, but of course there is the option of hunting another free texture though, which if you did and posted it in the comments you’d be a star. :)

Import whichever image you chose to use, name the layer to “Texture” and shrink it down a bit. Then fit it to the perspective of the coffee, you may want to make it slightly transparent so you can see what your doing. Here’s what it should look like:


Set the layer’s blending mode to overlay and set it’s opacity down to 40%, then copy and paste the “Coffee” layer’s vector masks onto the texture and set it to intersect. To soften the edge of the texture just add this style:


Again here’s what it should look like:


We’re nearly done, but those bubbles could do with some more definition and we need some steam and a shadow.

Step 16

Get the vector eclipse tool and start going over the bubbles like this:

Repeat this until you get most of the bubbles covered, that includes some of the smaller ones. Convert the layer to a smart object. Then go to Filters > Blur > Gaussian blur and set it to a value of 1.5. Then turn the layers opacity down to 36%. You can name this layer “Bubbles”.


Step 17

Now we’re going to do the smoke and the shadow, to make the smoke get the pen tool and draw 5 shapes in white like this:


Then merge the layers and go to Filters > Liquify, use this to mess the shapes up a bit, this is what it looked like for me:


Now Gaussian blur the shape you just made with the value of 7.5, then reduce it’s opacity down to 35%.


Step 18

Now to finish this all off we’re going to add a simple shadow, get the ellipse tool and draw a circle, then set it’s fill to 0% and set a black to transparent black radial gradient layer style. Convert the shape to a smart object and squash it into an oval. Set it’s opacity to 40% and put it below the cup.


So there you have it. Making a semi-realistic coffee cup, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned some new Photoshop techniques. If your dying to see the final result again look below.

Final Image

Download the PSD (or source files)


  1. Add point Subtract point

    Aprendiendo a manejar photoshop

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  2. Add point Subtract point
    kopitubruk (1 Point) December 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    thanks for this awesome turorial

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  3. Add point Subtract point
    Alex Rogahn (5 Points) November 27, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Sorry to the people that are finding step 7 hard, it’s not that important to the final result actually, it’s just me trying to be neat. Basically what you’re doing is copying the layer vector mask from the “Rim” layer over and onto the cup’s outer shape and setting it to subtract the shape (add a clipping mask essentially). Step 6 explains how to go about this, if it’s not immediately clear how to do that.

    When I made this tutorial my knowledge of Photoshop was much less than it is now, and therefore some of the techniques seen here are probably not the most sensible.

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  4. Add point Subtract point

    i’m little bit lost on step 5-7 …..
    could someone xplain more about the step
    specially abaout the step 7….

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  5. Add point Subtract point

    thank you very good design tutorial

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  6. Add point Subtract point

    Vocalizer to Kim Clijsters when she fails to boost to the on key points during the correct

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  7. Add point Subtract point
    nottingham website design and seo (2 Points) October 13, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Nice cup of coffee :) and a cool tutorial.

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  8. Add point Subtract point
    โหลดเพลงฟรี (1 Point) September 30, 2010 at 12:49 am

    thank you i like it

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    graphicbeacon (1 Point) September 26, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Cool tutorial. I think the rising vapour could be improved a bit more.

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  10. Add point Subtract point
    Finance Advice (1 Point) September 14, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Would you generate two or three blogposts for us. Your entire writing method is really spectacular.

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  11. Add point Subtract point
    Natanela (1 Point) August 23, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Can anybody please help me with step seven? It is not remotely understandable.

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  12. Add point Subtract point

    After look throught this commentary ,im sorrowful for meeting so much difficult in the learning process.
    Is there someone willing to help me ?

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  13. Add point Subtract point
    Marty Rogers (1 Point) July 31, 2010 at 2:08 am

    Beatiful tutorial, it really is. It looks incredibly difficult straight from the image, but the tutorial is so easy and clear to follow I think I might actually get this one right!

    Keep up the great work.

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    κατασκευή ιστοσελίδων – PCNW (1 Point) May 27, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    nice technique ! thanks

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  15. Add point Subtract point
    Azurency (1 Point) May 9, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Nice tutorial ! Personally I use this texture :

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  16. Add point Subtract point
    Webchester (1 Point) May 2, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Very nice tutorial Alex. Thanks man.

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  17. Add point Subtract point
    Maggie Gao (1 Point) March 31, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Thanks for sharing~
    And you are handsome, lol~~

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  18. Add point Subtract point
    โหลดเพลง (1 Point) March 29, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Thank you for your information.

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  19. Add point Subtract point
    seo derby (1 Point) March 23, 2010 at 11:44 am

    nice tutorial very effective and simple to follow

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  20. Add point Subtract point
    seo derby (1 Point) March 23, 2010 at 11:42 am

    nice tutorial very impresssive and simple to follow

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  21. Add point Subtract point
    Janee Lickey (1 Point) March 17, 2010 at 12:12 am

    Wonderful post, numerous interesting points. I recall five of days ago, I have viewed a similar blog.

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  22. Add point Subtract point

    loved this tut! i was able to use it and transform it.
    here’s what i did with it
    the split globe halves are created from this cup!

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  23. Add point Subtract point
    เพลงใหม่ล่าสุด (1 Point) February 3, 2010 at 12:09 am

    its very nice. Great post35

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  24. Add point Subtract point
    ฟังเพลงออนไลน์ (1 Point) February 2, 2010 at 1:44 am

    its very nice. Great post22

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  25. Add point Subtract point
    เพลงใหม่ล่าสุดเดือนนี้ (1 Point) February 1, 2010 at 3:01 am

    its very nice. Great post16

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    ดาวน์โหลดเพลง (1 Point) January 30, 2010 at 11:51 am

    great i never seen before.

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  27. Add point Subtract point
    SEO Nottingham (1 Point) January 27, 2010 at 5:23 am

    Great little tut, simple to follow and I’ve used some of the effects in this tuts on other objects like a football

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  28. Add point Subtract point
    Kimberly3D (1 Point) December 7, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Nice tutorial. Thanks for sharing!

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  29. Add point Subtract point
    music-mp3 (1 Point) November 28, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Thank you for good information

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  30. Add point Subtract point

    Thank you for the awesome tutorial, I tried to do it but I had a big problem, I use CS3.
    My problem is when I apply the Layer Style to the 3er layer, the Rim, it mess up the previous Layer style I added, I mean the Base, how is possible if there are in different layers? Why the previews Layer would be affected?

    Help please thank you so much.

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  31. Add point Subtract point

    Awesome. very realistic. well laid out and easy to follow. Thanks.

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  32. Add point Subtract point

    Here’s what I came up with:

    I used this brush for the coffee texture

    I used this brush for the smoke texture

    Thanks for the awesome tutorial! Oh and for those of you struggling with the Pen tool, left click once to add a new “control point” along where you are drawing. Then hold down control and click the square boxes to move the points around where you want them. That helped me out a ton in figuring out how the pen tool works! Hope this helps.

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  33. Add point Subtract point
    Photoshop (1 Point) August 29, 2009 at 3:52 am

    Really simple and nice tutorial..

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  34. Add point Subtract point
    Kaushal (1 Point) July 23, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Great Tutorial. I tried it and kept up until step 12, except for some reason the handle of the coffee cup doesn’t work for me…the pen doesn’t work the way for it I want it to.

    I already referred to the pen tutorial, but that didn’t help much.

    Can you post a video of how to get the handle? Or just a specific set of instructions?


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  35. Add point Subtract point
    Kaushal (1 Point) July 23, 2009 at 1:35 am

    I’m trying to pass Step 12..where I draw the handle with the pen, but I just can’t seem to draw that. I checked and went through the entire pen-tool tutorial, but that didn’t help either.

    Can you please help me out, or post a video or something that would help me draw the handle part?

    Thanks, appreciate it alot!

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  36. Add point Subtract point
    Alex Rogahn (0 Points) July 18, 2009 at 6:48 am

    @Jeremy At step 7 you don’t copy and paste the circles, you make the mode ADD instead of subtract and keep adding them until your satisfied with the amount.

    @Bahadır It’s not supposed to be 100% realistic, it’s mainly just eye-candy really ;P

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  37. Add point Subtract point
    Bahadır (1 Point) July 17, 2009 at 12:49 am

    Orange coffee???

    Hmm… Interesting.

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  38. Add point Subtract point
    azad dabirzadeh (1 Point) July 15, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Tanks …
    Appreciate For You

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  39. Add point Subtract point
    Juglord (1 Point) July 12, 2009 at 5:45 pm


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  40. Add point Subtract point
    Jeremy (1 Point) July 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    I’m getting confused at Step 7.
    “Select the oval you just made and copy it, then hide the layer and click on the layer mask of the oval beneath[. P]aste the shape you just copied and set it to subtract the shape.”

    I choose the Path Selection Tool, but then I don’t know how to ‘select the oval and copy it.’ I click all over that dang oval and nothing happens. Right clicking brings up no useable action, either.

    Also, (forgive me, I’m knew to this kind of art, usually working with photographs), but once I figure out how to copy like the first part of the step says, will the second part of subtracting the shape once pasted be easy to understand? Will a box pop up or something? If not, where will I choose to do that?

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  41. Add point Subtract point

    didn’t know it’s this simple for a “photo-realistic” art. certainly can be applied to many other things too. i love it. thanks.

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  42. Add point Subtract point
    iMacDaddy (1 Point) June 10, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    tried following it, but there are several inconsistencies in the tutorial. It’s a nice result btw though.

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  43. Add point Subtract point

    thank y so much. i really like it. I hope you’ll have many masterpiece design to share with people.

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  44. Add point Subtract point
    Alex Rogahn (1 Point) June 9, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    I really think I need to thank you guys for all the lovely comments, I’m actually surprised people like it! Again, thanks and I’ll be sure to contribute more to the design community :)

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    Lufutu (1 Point) June 9, 2009 at 9:33 am

    May be a smoke texture better than :) !
    That my opinion. Thanks this tutorial .

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  46. Add point Subtract point
    Dalia (1 Point) June 9, 2009 at 2:27 am

    Nice coffee texture…
    Adds something to it….

    Thanks for the tip

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  47. Add point Subtract point
    Ryan (1 Point) June 8, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    what font did you use where it says simple coffee cup icon photoshop tutorial

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  48. Add point Subtract point
    vbox (1 Point) June 8, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Great tut though the smoke doesn’t look very natural.
    Thank Alex & David ;)

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  49. Add point Subtract point

    There was a mistake when this tutorial was published. It briefly read that I was the author when in fact it is Alex Rogahn, one of our new contributors.

    Great job on your first tutorial here Alex :) Hoping you’ll write more for us in the future!

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  50. Add point Subtract point
    CgBaran Tuts (1 Point) June 8, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Great icon and techniques are very useful for other icon drawings

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  51. Add point Subtract point
    nahid (1 Point) June 8, 2009 at 5:37 am

    Good technique David, you come up with good ones!

    Check my site for other great resources! :)

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  52. Add point Subtract point
    Mike Bell (1 Point) June 8, 2009 at 4:01 am

    Good tut.

    Lots of useful ‘layer style’ tips


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  53. Add point Subtract point
    Speciwacy (1 Point) June 8, 2009 at 2:16 am

    Wow…really awesome tutorial ! ty allot !

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