Technique Thursday - Making a Curves & Waves

Thursday, December 09, 2010
Hi everyone! This is Nicky posting today's technique. I don't know about you, but for the longest time I saw beautiful curved papers on layouts and just drooled! I thought that must be so hard. I even tried to use my pencil tool to draw a curve freehand! (And I'm embarassed to admit I gave it away as a freebie on my blog!)

I have since learned that waves are SO EASY to make, and I'm going to show you how! My tutorial is in Photoshop CS2, but it works the same in Photoshop Elements 8, and I have a couple of screenshots of that to show you as well later.

Making Waves in Photoshop
1. Make a new document. I made mine 14x14 inches so I could move or rotate my curve a little bit and I won't have to worry about it being too short for my 12x12 layouts. 300 ppi, transparent background.

2. Choose the line tool. In the menu bar above, choose how wide you want your wave to be. I chose 15 pixels.

3. Make a vertical line in the center of your document.

4. In the layers palette, right click on the layer for your line, and choose Rasterize Layer. (If you forget this step, you will be prompted to do that during the next step, and click OK.)

4. Select Filter > Distort > Shear.

5. In the pop up box, you will see a straight line with grid marks. Click on any point on that line, and drag it to the right or left a few millimeters.

6. Then choose another point on that line, and drag the other direction.

7. If you like the look of the curve you made in the pop up box, click OK. Your line in your document will adjust to the same curve.

8. That's it! You made a curve!

9. What?! That's not big enough to clip a paper to? Oh, ok. Select the magic wand tool. Click on one side of your curve. Click Select > Modify > Expand. Choose 5 pixels or so. Select the Paint Bucket Tool (Cmd + D or Ctrl + D). Click in that selected area. This will make a large clipping mask with a curved side. Save this as a .png file so you can use it again and again.

Photoshop Elements.
Follow the exact same instructions, but here are a few screenshots for you:

Tip: Play! Who said your curve has to have one curve to the right and one to the left? I like this one!

Here are two screenshots of how I made my paper. I dragged the curve onto a 12x12 document and used the Move Tool with the transform handles selected in the upper menu bar. I added my paper above the curve, and clipped the paper to the mask.

I pulled another copy of the curve onto my paper, rotated it, and moved it down just a little. Then I clipped another paper to this curve. This is my background!
{Supplies: both papers from the Blue Winter kit made by Cilenia Curtis at Digital Designer Shop.}

I hope I helped you conquer your fear (and envy) of curves!  Have fun!


  1. CraftCrave said...:

    Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [10 Dec 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  1. Hi Nicky, I've been wanting to do that for ages...thank you for the great (and easy to follow) tutorial!
    I'm so glad I'm following you guys, you rock! :)

Post a Comment

Go ahead, tell me what you think! :)

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

© Cilenia Curtis 1986 - 2012 | Infinite Dimensions | The CAD Wizards
All content is copyright protected and owned by Cilenia Curtis. For permission to use any contents from these pages, please email Cileniac at yahoo dot com.