Dashed Grid

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Dashed Grid
by Jen White

Quickly add trendiness to your next digital project by creating a customizable dashed grid using your favorite font and color.

For this tutorial you will need:

  • Photoshop Elements or Adobe Photoshop

Step One: Prepare a New Document

You’ll want to start with a full-sized document so that you can make the grid nice and big. As with any element, it’s okay to make it smaller, but making it bigger will cause pixelation.

  • Create a new 12×12 inch document (File > New > Blank File) at 300 ppi with a white background. (PS: Choose File > New.)
  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black over white.

Step Two: Create a Dashed Line

You can create a dashed line many different ways, but the simplest way is to use a dash from a font. You’d be surprised how many different styles of dashes are in your font stash.

  • Get the Horizontal Type tool.
  • In the Tool Options, open the Font Picker and choose a common font to start with. I’m using Helvetica Regular.
  • Set the Size to 40 pt and the Alignment to Center.
  • On the document, click in the center to place the cursor.
  • Press the dash key until the dashed line nearly reaches the sides of the document. Click the checkmark to commit.

NOTE: You could also call this character a hyphen. The difference between a hyphen and a dash is: a hyphen is not surrounded by spaces, while a dash is.

TIP: Try other looks by using an en-dash or an em-dash. (See below.) Not all fonts will offer these options.

 

Step Three: Duplicate and Move the Line

  • Get the Move tool.
  • In the Tool Options, uncheck Auto Select Layer.
  • On the document, hold down the Alt key (Mac: Opt key) and click and drag out a duplicate line.

 

Step Four: Duplicate and Rotate the Lines

  • In the Layers panel, hold down the Shift key and click on the previous line layer. Now both line layers should be active.
  • Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate the line layers.
  • Press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T) to get the Transform options.
  • In the Tool Options, set the Angle to 90˚. (PS: Set the Rotate to 90˚.)
  • To reposition the lines, click and drag inside the bounding box.
  • Click the checkmark to commit.

Step Five: Move an Individual Line (Optional)

  • Get the Move tool.
  • In the Layers panel, click on one line layer to activate it all by itself.
  • On the document, click and drag to reposition the active line.
  • Repeat to move other lines.

Step Six: Shorten an Individual Line (Optional)

  • In the Layers panel, double-click on the thumbnail of the line you’d like to shorten. This will highlight/activate all the dashes in the line.

 

  • Press the Right Arrow key to move the cursor to the end of the line of dashes. This will deactivate all the dashes in the line.
  • Press the Backspace key (Mac: Delete key) until the line is shorter.
  • Click the checkmark to commit.
  • Repeat to shorten other lines.

Step Seven: Change the Appearance of the Grid (Optional)

There are many things you can do to quickly change the appearance of the grid. Here are two.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the top line layer to activate it.
  • Holding down the Shift key, click on the bottom line layer. Now all four line layers should be active.
  • Get the Horizontal Type tool.
To change the font:
  • In the Tool Options, click directly on the name of the font to highlight it.
  • Press the Arrow keys to cycle through the fonts you have available to you. NOTE: Some fonts might require you to lower the Size in order for the grid to fit on the document.
  • Press the Enter key when you find one you like. I’m using Charlemagne Std Regular.
To change the color:
In Photoshop Elements
  • In the Tool Options, click on the Color Chip to view color swatches.
  • To choose a custom color, click on the color wheel to open the Color Picker. In the Color Picker, choose a color and then click OK.
In Photoshop
  • In the Tool Options, click on the Color Chip to open the Color Picker.
  • In the Color Picker, choose a color and then click OK.

Step Eight: Save the Grid

To keep the dashed grid editable:
  • Save the document as a PSD file (File > Save) with a unique name.
To turn the dashed grid into a non-editable element:
  • In the Layers panel, click on the Visibility icon of the Background layer to hide it.
  • Save the document as a PNG file (File > Save) with a unique name.
  • Close the working document without saving.
There are literally boat-loads of ways you can use a dashed grid on a scrapbook page or other digital project. Simply look through your favorite gallery for examples.
Here are a couple examples I created:
Credits
Card: Hello, Friend by Jen White
Tutorial: Dashed Grid by Jen White
Kit: Beautiful Morning by Amber Shaw
Fonts: Allura, Amalyara, Dessert Menu Script, Charlemagne Std
Credits
Page: Enjoy the Little Things by Jen White
Photo: Jen White
Tutorial: Dashed Grid by Jen White
Kit: Chasing Dragonflies by Brandy Murry
Font: Ostrich Sans
Credits
Page: Adventure by Jen White
Photos: Jen White
Tutorial: Dashed Grid by Jen White
Kit: Real Life by Calista’s Stuff, Such a Trip by Mommyish, Simple Joys by Anita Designs

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This self-paced class will take you where you want to go and is available for Photoshop Elements 11 to 2018, and Photoshop CS6 through Creative Cloud.

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5 Responses

  1. Mary Torres
    | Reply

    thanks for the simple explanation on how to create this fantastic effts

  2. Nell Covington
    | Reply

    Jen, you are just so creative. Thanks for all the sharing of knowledge and talent you have done over the years.

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Awe, thanks for your kind words, Nell. 😀

  3. Marie
    | Reply

    You and your ideas never cease to amaze me! Thanks Jen

  4. CrimsonCrow
    | Reply

    Such a simple addition can make such a cool difference! Thanks. I would never have thought of this.

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