Recolor It Fast!

with 15 Comments

Recolor It Fast!
By Nann Dalton

You can’t teach a old dog new tricks. Who says? I love learning “new tricks,” especially using Photoshop and Elements. When I discover a new tool or a new way to use a filter I am like a kid in a candy store. I can’t wait to try it out and see what I can do with it.

I recently discovered the Color Replacement tool. It was new to me. I didn’t even know it was sitting there in my tool box waiting for me to play with.

What is it you say? The Color Replacement tool replaces color. Shocking, I know. But it is the way it replaces color that I love. It is not the most professional way to change colors in an image, but it works great for simple tasks and is such an easy tool to use that I just have to share it with you.

Are you ready to learn a new trick?

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Open the scrapbook page (File > Open) with which you wish to work.


One of the fun things about using this tool is that you don’t have to use a layered file for this to work. If you have a flattened layout on which you would like to go back and change the colors, this trick will work great.

  • Click on the Foreground Color Chip to open the Color Picker.
  • On the document, click to sample the color you want to use as the replacement color.
  • In the Color Picker dialog box, click OK.

On my layout, I love the little flowers from the kit Sports Mad by Studio Flergs, but I want them to match the pink color of my granddaughter’s shorts. I sampled the pink color (Hex Code #fe4c9c) from my photo.


Step Two: Replace the Color

  • Get the Color Replacement tool. You will find it grouped with the Brush tool.
  • In the Tool Options, set the Tolerance to 30%, set the Mode to Color, set the Limits to Contiguous, click on the Sampling Continuous icon, and check Anti-aliasing.
  • On the document, hover your cursor over the area you wish to recolor and press the right and left Bracket keys to resize the brush to a size that feels right for the area.


Note: Let me explain a little bit how this tool works. With the Color Replacement tool activated, my mouse cursor has changed into a circle with a small target symbol in the center of it. The tool is going to replace whatever color is directly under the target symbol to the foreground color. It will not matter if I go over the edge of the element with my brush as long as I keep the target over the orange color of the flower.

  • On the document, click and drag over the element to replace the color.


Isn’t that fun! One of the things that I really love about this tool is that it retains all the detail of the flower, and it changes the color so quickly. I had so much fun making my layout look like the supplies I used were made just for my photo. I changed all the orange in my layout to pink!



Page & Photo: Template from Learn Digital Scrapbooking by Linda Sattgast, Nannette Dalton
Tutorial: Sporty Word Art from the September 2014 Premier Tidbit by Nannette Dalton
KitSports Mad by Studio Flergs, Fuchsia by Susie Roberts
Fonts: Century, DJB Tweenybopper by Darcy Baldwin
Software: Photoshop Elements 12, Photoshop CC 2014

Download this Digi Scrap Tutorial

Interested in digging in deeper?

Controlling Color Chaos by Jen White
Controlling Color Chaos by Jen White

Controlling Color Chaos Video Tutorial
by Jen White

Take control of the color chaos of a super eclectic scrapbook page with 3 simple tips and Photoshop’s Color Replace Adjustment.


Disappearing Background  by Susie Roberts
Disappearing Background by Susie Roberts

Disappearing Background Video Tutorial
by Susie Roberts

A common problem faced by everyday photographers is that most photos taken inside the house have cluttered backgrounds. In this lesson we’ll re-focus attention on the subject by making the background disappear.


Nannette-DaltonAuthor: Nannette Dalton | Contact Us
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15 Responses

  1. Linda McGue
    | Reply

    This is so interesting. I just had a problem like this and knew I had received a tip many years ago on how to recolor elements. If you click on this link it will take you to the old version. It gives a great hint on how to easily color polka dots (or something similar) that is on a background that is all the same color. I used it on an element that was blue dots on white background and it was so easy. Here is the url I got a message to make sure I trusted the site, but surprisingly the old tip appeared! I have been away from scrapbooking for a while and tips like this help me keep going to finish some projects from a few years ago.

  2. Photobubby
    | Reply

    What about polka dot with a different color background? How do you change each color?

    • Nann Dalton
      | Reply

      Hi Photobubby,
      You would just need to make sure you have the target over the color that you wanted to change. It may be a little tricky but I think you could do it.

  3. Chris Wilson
    | Reply

    Hello Rayleen, what a fabulous trick, I have just tried it on a
    scrapbook page and the change it made was really stunning, thanks
    for this information, it worked a treat on one of my flattened pages and made such a difference.

  4. Rachelle
    | Reply

    This is FABULOUS. Thank you

    • Rachelle
      | Reply

      I’ve used this so many times since this post. How did I live without this before? lol. Thank you again.

      • Nann Dalton
        | Reply

        So happy to hear this Rachelle! Thank YOU!

  5. Teachinglaffs
    | Reply

    Amazing! I haven’t tried this yet but I am thinking this is going to be awesome!

  6. Theresa
    | Reply

    Holey Criky….AWESOME TUT! Been using PS since it was just PS and I’ve never used this…SO TOTALY will in the future! THANKS!

  7. Kim Saunders
    | Reply

    I love this and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I had a layout with a photo of a charm from my charm bracelet on a gold tablecloth, but the rest of the layout was in blacks/grays/pinks. Woohoo, I just changed the tablecloth to pink! Thank you Thank you Thank you!

    • Nann Dalton
      | Reply

      Oh I love happy ending! Thanks for the note and would love to see the layout in the gallery!

  8. Terri
    | Reply

    I love little tricks and I agree we old dogs CAN learn. I might add LOVE to learn. thanks again for a wonderful quick tip. I am always trying to change a color here or there. So this will come in handy.

  9. DorrieH.
    | Reply

    Nann, thank you for introducing a new tool. I had fun trying it out. I’m sure there are more tools that we/I haven’t learned, so it’s very nice when someone who have more experience shows us how it works. Anytime you want to show us more hidden treasure I’ll appreciate it.

  10. Rayleen
    | Reply

    HI, Thank you, this was a fun trick to learn. I opened a layout I’ve been working on to apply this technique. It worked, almost. I had put arrows from the shape tool on the page that were black. I added a hue/saturation layer to change them to red. worked good. But your way would be faster. However, I can’t get them to change color. Is this because they are black? I hid the hue/sat layer, clicked and nothing happens.
    Then I tried a white frame around the photos. No luck there either.
    But I was successful changing a circle from blue to red. It was just a circle from the ellipse tool used as a guide for the arrows.
    I then opened the frame on a new document (anna aspens frame3 80-family-AA) It wouldn’t accept color that way either.
    Can you give an outline which files can and cannot be affected by the color replacement tool?
    Thank you for your classes. It is fun to learn new tricks.

    • Nann Dalton
      | Reply

      Hi Rayleen,
      You are right as I stated in my opening statement, it is not the most professional way to change color but comes in handy in a lot of situations. It will not work on black or white and you will have to experiment a bit with other colors. I suggest if you are making an arrow with the shape tool that you just pick a different color to make it in, unless you have flattened the image then if the arrow is black it makes it difficult to recolor. Hope that helps to answer your questions.

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