Free Materials For Teachers
Image©2020 ABS Intricate black line art border
Downloaded Fancy Border

Have you noticed various intricate line art frames while browsing public domain clip art sites? I saw a wide selection of them on both and, two sites I often use. I suddenly realized that you could start with one of these line drawings and use various PhotoShop® options to add color and texture.

After experimenting, I’ve found ways to turn these line art frame designs into spectacular ornate borders. These could be used to frame something special — a portrait photo, a report or book cover, or perhaps a first prize certificate.

Image©2021 ABS Multi-color, textured, fancy border
Finished Fancy Frame

They’re very easy and a lot of fun to do! I have written a tutorial (FancyFrames.pdf) with detailed instructions. Following the steps in this tutorial also gives you an excuse to try out a bunch of PhotoShop filters and effects you probably haven’t used before.

Spoiler: These borders depend heavily on the Bevel effect and on setting Fill Opacity to 0

Image©2021 ABS Square wooden folk art frame woth red and blue incised flowers, framing a textured green area with the word RECIPES in raised darker green letters.
Frame A Book Title

After you finish the main tutorial, download three frame examples as many-layered .psd files and a short tutorial, LearnFrom3FrameExamples.pdf (all in one zip file). Work through the tutorial to steal the tricks I used to make three very different fancy borders from three different clip art designs.

Image©2021 ABS Tall wood frame with intricate raised gold inner border
Vintage Ornate Frame

Bonus: Fancy Frames Collection
After you finish the tutorials, download the Fancy Frames Collection, a set of 22 finished frames in .png format that I made using three different clip art border designs. These range from elegant to gaudy, and hopefully demonstrate the amazingly rich possibilities of this technique.

To use these borders, open the file and add a layer or layers below the fancy border to contain whatever you want to frame. There are enough pixels in these borders to print them out quite large; at the default 72 ppi the printed dimensions are on the order of 23 inches (58.6 centimeters) per side! You probably need to raise the resolution, thus reducing the dimensions in inches (or centimeters). Here’s an easy way to do it!

  • 1. Open the Image Size dialog (Image—>Image Size…)
  • 2. Copy the pixel dimension for the Width. You will need it in step 4 to force PhotoShop to calculate lower sizes for the printed width and height, rather than generating more pixels and keeping the initial print dimensions. Be sure Constrain Proportions is checked.
  • 3. Increase the number for the Resolution. Example: Default is 72, so try typing 150, 200, or 300 instead. Notice that PhotoShop automatically increases the pixel dimensions when you enter the larger number, NOT what we want. But the next step fixes that.
  • 4. Very important: Select that automatically increased value for the pixel width, and PASTE the original pixel dimension value into the space for Width (You copied it, so it’s on the clipboard now). This forces a reduction in the print dimensions, which are the values in inches (or centimeters).
  • 5. Check that the print dimensions in inches (or centimeters) fit within the size of your paper. You may need to change the orientation (Portrait or Landscape). If the dimensions in inches (or centimeters) are too wide or too tall, repeat steps 3 and 4 until you find a satisfactory size.
  • 6. Print.

Applications needed: Acrobat Reader, PhotoShop.
Subject area: Tips, Resources.
Level: Author.

Downloads-Printable Tutorials

FancyFrames.pdf (2.7 MB) FancyFrames.pdf tutorial to print. Acrobat Reader, PhotoShop. (133.5 MB) LearnFrom3FrameExamples.pdf tutorial to print, plus three frame example files in .psd format. Acrobat Reader, PhotoShop.

Downloads-Resources (61.5 MB) 22 finished fancy borders in .png format. To preview the collection, click here.

June 19th, 2021 at 11:53 pm


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