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Simple Line Border

Elegance in simplicity...

This tutorial is part of a series of tutorials on Photoshop Borders.

Many photos look a little bare without any border, but would be easily overpowered by a very large or eye-catching border. This is where a simple line border can come in very handy.

Click to View Video Tutorial

This is the example image that I'll be using:

Simple Line Border Example 1

Getting Started

Pull up a photo that you want to give a line border. Now, it would be easy enough to just draw a black line round the edge with the pencil tool, but there are several disadvantages to this!

Firstly, once it's done, it's done. You can't come back later and change it so that it's thicker, or a different color, or anything like that.

The other potential hazard is if you later decide you want to crop or resize your image. It would be nice if the border could remain independent from that process.

The other thing of course is that the pencil tool is a little bit fiddly. If you're working with very large images, it can take ages!

So here's how I suggest you add a simple line border:

The Steps

1. Create a new layer - Always add borders on a new layer so they can be easily changed or removed later on.

2. Select all - Pressing Ctrl + A will do it, or otherwise you can pick 'Select - All' from the menu.

3. Open the stroke dialog box - Select 'Edit - Stroke (Outline) Selection' from the menu.

Stroke Dialog Box

4. Pick a thickness - The thickness you choose depends on the look you desire. Here I am picking 4 pixels to give a medium weight border, but if you want a thinner or thicker border then you can change this value.

5. Pick a color - Black always works well for the color, though more colorful lines may be appropriate for some images.

6. Leave the rest - Forget the rest of the options, we don't need them for this. (They should be set to 'Center', 'Normal' and '100%').

7. Click 'Ok', and you should have your nice black border, like this:

Simple Line Border Example 2


I've already mentioned that you can easily vary the color and size of the border, but what about making it a faded border? This is also quite simple:

1. Create a new layer - Same as before, for easy editing later on.

2. Select all - Pressing Ctrl + A will do it, or otherwise you can pick 'Select - All' from the menu.

3. Border the selection - Pick 'Select - Modify - Border' from the menu. Pick your thickness value according to your aim. I'll use 4 pixels again. Then press 'Ok'.

4. Select the brush tool - Pick the brush tool from the menu, and pick a normal default brush. Change the size so it is very large, for example 500 pixels.

5. Change the palette color - Change the foreground color in the palette to black, or another color if you prefer.

6. Draw over the entire image - Using the large brush, click and drag all around the edge of the image, until the bordered selection is filled with your color. This should create a faded border effect something like this:

Simple Line Border Example 3

There's a lot of mileage in these simple borders, and they're so quick to create, it's a technique well-worth remembering.

Want to read more Photoshop Border tutorials? Visit the Main Page.

Kind Regards

Robert Redwood Robert Redwood - Bio
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A page about creating a Simple Line Border

Photoshop Elements