Layered Thanks Card Template

with 15 Comments

Layered Thanks Card Template
by Jen White
Use the Type and Shape tools to create a super versatile card template with multiple layers that will leave LOTS and LOTS of room for additional decoration.

For this tutorial you will need:
  • Photoshop Elements v15 (or later) or Adobe Photoshop CS6 (or later)
  • A chunky font, I recommend Impact Regular

NOTE: This tutorial is written using groups. Groups were first introduced in Photoshop Elements 15. Versions earlier than PSE15 are no longer supported.

NOTE: This tutorial is written using the word “thanks.” If you choose a different word with more or less letters, the horizontal position of the groups will need to be altered.

 

Step One: Prepare Your Workspace

  • Create a new 7 x 5 inch landscape document (File > New > Blank File) at 300 ppi with a white background. (PS: Choose File > New.)
  • In the Menu Bar, choose View and place a checkmark next to Rulers.
  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black over white.
  • Press Ctrl 0 (Mac: Cmd 0) to fit the document to your viewing area.

 

 

Step Two: Add the Bottom Shape

To create the template, we will start at the bottom of the layers and work our way up. That way things are well organized in the Layers panel.

  • Get the Custom Shape tool.
  • In Photoshop Elements Only:
    • In the Tool Options, open the Shape Picker and choose the Hexagon shape. If you don’t see the Hexagon shape, open the dropdown menu and choose Shapes. Then open the flyout menu and choose Large List.
    • Set the Style to None. The Color Chip should be black. Open the Geometry Settings and choose Fixed Size. Set the Width to 15 in and the Height to 13 in. Check From Center. Click on the New Shape Layer icon.
  • In Adobe Photoshop Only
    • In the Tool Options, set the Tool Mode to Shape, the Fill to Color, and the Stroke to None. Open the Path Operations and choose New Layer. Open the Geometry Settings and choose Fixed Size. Set the Width to 15 in and the Height to 13 in. Check From Center.
    • Open the Shape Picker and choose the Hexagon shape. If you don’t see the Hexagon shape, open the flyout menu and choose Large List. Then, open the flyout menu again and choose Shapes. Click OK to replace the current shapes.
  • Press Ctrl – (Mac: Cmd -) three times to zoom out on the document
  • On the document, click and drag to place the right-most point of the hexagon at the 6 x 3.5 mark. See the screenshot below.

 

 

Step Three: Add the Last Letter in the Word

  • Press Ctrl + (Mac: Cmd +) two times to zoom back in on the document.
  • Get the Horizontal Type tool.
  • In the Tool Options, open the Font Picker and choose Impact Regular. Set the Size to 100 pt. Click on the Color Chip and choose gray. (PS: Also click OK to close the Color Picker.) Click on the Left Align icon.

Note: I’m temporarily setting the type color to gray so that it contrasts to the black shape.

  • On the document, hold down the Shift key and click to the right of the point of the hexagon to place the cursor.
  • Type a lowercase S. Do not commit the type.
  • Hold down the Ctrl key (Mac: Cmd key) and click and drag inside the bounding box until the right side of the S is aligned with the rightmost point of the hexagon. See the screenshot below.
  • Click the checkmark to commit.

 

 

Step Four: Trim the Shape

  • In the Layers panel, click on the shape layer to activate it.
  • Get the Rectangle tool.
  • In Photoshop Elements Only:
    • In the Tool Options, set the Style to None. Open the Geometry Settings and choose Fixed Size. Set the Width to 2 in and the Height to 3 in. Check From Center. Uncheck Snap. Click on the Subtract Front Shape icon.
  • In Adobe Photoshop Only:
    • In the Tool Options, set the Tool Mode to Shape, the Fill to Color, and the Stroke to None. Open the Path Operations and choose Subtract Front Shape. Open the Geometry Settings and choose Fixed Size. Set the Width to 2 in and the Height to 3 in. Check From Center.

NOTE: If you’re not sure which icon is Subtract Front Shape, make sure your Tool Tips are turned on in Preferences. Then when you hover over an icon, the name of the icon will be displayed.

  • On the document, click and drag the rectangle so that a small sliver of the S is outside the left edge of the rectangle AND the top-left and bottom-left of the rectangle are outside the boundaries of the hexagon. See the screenshot below. To reposition while dragging, press and hold the Space bar.

 

 

Step Five: Set the Color of the Letter to Match

  • In the Layers panel, double click on the thumbnail of the type layer to highlight the letter and get the Horizontal Type tool Tool Options.
  • In the Tool Options, click on the Color Chip and choose black. (PS: Also click OK to close the Color Picker.)
  • Click the checkmark to commit.

 

 

Step Six: Group the Layers

  • In the Layers panel, hold down the Shift key and click on the Shape layer. Now the Type layer and Shape layer should be active.
  • Click on the Create a New Group icon.
  • Double click directly on the name of the new group and rename it S.

Note: There should be no visible change to the document.

Step Seven: Add a Drop Shadow

  • In Photoshop Elements Only:
    • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Layer Style > Style Settings.
    • In the Style Settings dialog box, set the Lighting Angle to 120. Click to check Drop Shadow. Set the Size to 24, the Distance to 12, and the Opacity to 50%. Click OK.
  • In Adobe Photoshop Only:
    • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow.
    • In the Layer Styles dialog box, set the Blend Mode to Multiply, the Opacity to 50%, the Angle to 120, the Distance to 12, the Spread to 0, and the Size to 24. Click OK.

 

 

Step Eight: Create Additional Layers

Follow these instructions for creating the remaining letter groups for the card.

  • Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate the current group.
  • In the Layers panel, double click directly on the name of the duplicate group and rename it. I’m spelling Thanks backward, so I’ll rename my group K.
  • Click on the arrow to open the new group.
  • Double click on the thumbnail of the type layer, then in Tool Options, click on the Color Chip and choose a dark gray. (PS: Click OK to close the Color Picker after choosing a dark gray.) Type a new letter and click the checkmark to commit.

Note: The color of the shape/letter does not really matter. What is important is that the color contrasts (is visually set apart from) the previous group.

  • Double click on the thumbnail of the shape layer to open the Color Picker.
  • On the document, click to sample a color from the new letter and click OK to close the Color Picker.
  • Click on the arrow to close the new group.
  • Get the move tool.
  • Press the Left Arrow key to nudge the new group to the left until the right edge of the new letter is aligned with the left edge of the previous letter. See the screenshot below.

 

 

  • Repeat Step Eight for each of the additional layer groups.
I created an N group, then an A group, then an H group, and then a T group.
Each group I created was recolored with a slightly different color of gray. Again, the color is not important, it just needs to be different.
BONUS TIPS
  1. If you save your card as a template, you can reuse it over and over for different words by changing the type layers in the Layers panel.
  2. Turn off the Visibility icon to hide groups you don’t want to use.
  3. Use a phrase (small string of words) instead of a single word. It will work similar to a hashtag. People nowadays are used to reading phrases with no spaces.

 

(OPTIONAL) Step Nine: Resize and Reposition the Groups

Because all the layers in the template are vector layers (shapes or type), they can be resized as much as you want without loss of edge quality.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the top group to activate it.
  • Hold down the Shift key and click on the bottom group. Do not activate the Background layer. Now all six groups should be active.
  • Press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T) to get the Transform options.
  • To reposition the groups, click and drag inside the bounding box.
  • To resize the groups, change the Width percentage in the Tool Options.
  • Click the checkmark to commit.

I made my groups much larger so that they nicely filled up the 5×7 card background.

 

 

Step Ten: Save the Layered Thanks Template

Saving the document as a layered grayscale template will allow you to use it over and over again with different papers and elements for a completely different look.

NOTE: Normally I would have you crop your document before saving in order to decrease its file size. But since all the layers in the document are vector, the shapes that are extending past the boundaries of the document are not going to cause a big rise in the files size of the document.

  • Save the template (File > Save) as a layered PSD document with a unique name. I named mine “template-layered-thanks-card.psd” and saved it in my card templates folder on my computer.

Step Eleven: Use the Card Template

Using this template is a GREAT opportunity to use paper packs that you love.

Work on a Duplicate
When working with templates, it’s always a good idea to work on a duplicate so you do not alter the original. Here’s how:
  • Open the saved card template (File > Open).
  • In the Menu Bar, chose File > Duplicate. (PS: Choose Image > Duplicate.)
  • In the dialog box, click OK.
  • Close the original.

Tips for Choosing Papers

  • Choose a set of papers from a single kit.
  • Use all solid papers or all patterned papers.
  • If using patterned papers, alternate highly contrasting papers to make the groups easily recognizable

Clip a Paper to a Group

To stay better organized and not get confused, I recommend starting with all groups closed.

  • In the Layers panel, click on a group to activate it.
  • Open a paper (File > Open).
  • Get the Move tool.
  • Holding down the Shift key, click and drag the paper onto the template.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask.
  • Transform the paper as needed.

Here are a couple cards I created using this tutorial.

Card: Many Thanks by Jen White
Tutorial: Layered Thanks Card Template by Jen White
Kit: Bless This Mess by Tami Miller Designs
Font: Impact Regular, Brownhill Script, Wedding Chardonnay

 

Card: Many Thanks by Jen White
Tutorial: Layered Thanks Card Template by Jen White
Kit: Fuchsia by Susie Roberts
Font: Impact Regular

Download PDF

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Author: Jen White | Contact Us
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15 Responses

  1. Margaret
    | Reply

    Thank you! Love this tutorial! I can see that this is one I will use often.
    Would you consider adding instructions on how to add a stroke outline to the letters to the tutorial and PDF? Sometimes, depending on the papers or the letters (h,k) used, the letters seem to need a little more definition. I’d love to see a video, too (but have to say the written instructions are quite clear). Love how y’all teach!

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Hi Margaret. If you’d like to add a stroke, I’d recommend applying a stroke layer style to each group. I won’t be adding specific instruction, however. Sorry. Hope this helps!

  2. Sheri
    | Reply

    That is so pretty! I am having a hard time fellowing especially the workspace isn’t the same as yours. Could it be possible to create a video?

    Thank you!
    Sheri

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Thanks, Sheri! There may be a video added later. If you have specific questions, let me know and I can try to help.

  3. Glori
    | Reply

    WOW, fabulous freebies!! THANK YOU!!

  4. Judy Mac
    | Reply

    Thanks for this great tutorial. Can use it in so many ways!!! All of your tutorials are awesome

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Thanks, Judy! Looking forward to seeing what you create.

  5. Nannette Dalton
    | Reply

    This is great Jen. LOVE IT.

  6. akrubygal
    | Reply

    so nice…..thank you!!

  7. Steph
    | Reply

    I love the look of this card – thanks for sharing it with us!

  8. Barbara
    | Reply

    Fun project thanks for sharing.

  9. Faa Ahmed
    | Reply

    Love this, thanks Jen!!

  10. Nell Covington
    | Reply

    Love this card idea. So cute. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Kathy
    | Reply

    The card is way too cute!! Thank you Jen!!

  12. Gail R.
    | Reply

    Thank you for this great tutorial – Love this template!

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