Tutorial+PSD: Christmas Ornament

The holiday season is officially in full swing! For today’s tutorial, we’re going to be creating a standard Christmas Tree Ornament! The PSD is also included!

Download PSD!

As always, the PSDs offered on this site are completely free to use, personally and commercially. 


[raw] [/raw]


To start, we’re going to create the different shapes that will make up this design, starting with the most prominent one, the main circle. In your Tools Bar on the left, grab the Ellipse Tool and create a nice big circle in the middle of your document, making sure to leave some room at the top for the other elements.

The next element we’re going to create, is the stem. This is simply going to be a rectangle, with a curve at the bottom. Grabbing your Rectangle Tool from the left, make sure to change the color, then draw the shape on top of the main circle. I’m going to make sure to overlap it just a touch. Don’t worry too much about the height of the stem as we’re going to be adding a cap shortly.

Once the stem is in place, grab your Direct Selection Tool from the left, and click on your newly created shape. You should see the paths of the shape appear. When you do, right click in the middle of the bottom path, and add an Anchor Point. This will help define the curve of this shape.

Click on the newly created point, and move it down until you have a nice curve. I found that 16-20 pixels gave me the curve I was looking for, but feel free to experiment. You can also adjust the curve by dragging out the handles as well.

When this shape is complete, I duplicated this layer to use as the cap as well. You can quickly duplicate it by using the Command or CTRL +J shortcut key. Once duplicated, you want to make sure to change the color so we can tell the two shapes apart.

Move the new shape up, until you’re able to see the original stem, and place it where you’d like it to remain.

Now we need to make some adjustments, specifically, we need to make it a tad wider. The easiest way to do this, is to enter Free Transform mode, by using the Command or CTRL + T shortcut, then with your Alt/Option key held down, drag the middle node on either side outwards.

Good. Now that the front of the cap is set, we need to add the top of the cap to give it a little perspective. With your Ellipse Tool selected, drag out an oval, making sure to line up the sides of the Ellipse to the edges of the cap. Don’t worry if your initial shape isn’t 100% lined up. You can make changes to it later on. Set the color of this shape to: bd902e

The next element we’re going to create, will act as the holes on top of the cap. This is where the loop will come out of. For these, they are going to be simple ovals. Using your Ellipse Tool again, set the color of this shape to 7c5500, then drag out one oval on either side, and then duplicate it over to the opposite side. You can use the Alt/Option key while dragging to duplicate.

The last element is the loop, which is a donut like shape. For this, you want to start by creating an Ellipse with the color set to: bababa. When dragging out this shape, make sure that it lines up with the two holes we just created. The final shape of the loop is up to you.

When the Ellipse is created, on your Options Bar, select the Subtract from shape area button. This will help us punch a hole in our shape.

When that’s selected, drag out a similar, but smaller Ellipse inside of the current one. The leftover area will be the final loop.

Now obviously, we need to remove the bottom portion of this loop. It should be hidden inside the cap. To do this, we’re going to apply a Layer Mask to this loop. This can be done using the Add Layer Mask button () at the bottom of your Layer’s Panel.

Now, we need to remove everything below the holes. With your Command or CTRL key held down, click on the first hole’s Vector Mask to turn it into a selection. Then with the Shift key held down as well, click on the second hole. You should have both holes selected now. Inverse the selection using the Command/CTRL + Shift +  I shortcut.

From here, using a black brush, paint over everything below the loop. This will hide the area we don’t want visible. Much better.

At this point, our design is mapped out. It’s time to make it look pretty! For the most part, we’re going to be using Layer Styles to do the job.

Continue onto page two for the Layer Styles!

  • robsproductions

    Wow, excellent job on this one Howard! I like it a lot!

  • WynnAnneSibbald

    That was fun! Now how do we apply a golden stencil on it so that it looks curved and reflective? Or even a flocked or etched design?

    • IceflowStudios

      @WynnAnneSibbald Good suggestion! I might try and cover that too!

  • Markus Freksen

    Awesome!! 😀

  • Andreas Immisch


  • Jelle Baetens

    hahaha great, I just made one like this a week ago. Might tweek it a bit now 🙂

  • Jelle Baetens

    I also made a brush to draw ‘pine twigs’, well just the needles, but might be nice to see your take on that as well…

  • Hrvoje17zg

    I really liked this tutorial, also I like these “Create-something-out-of-nothing” tutorials. Great job, Howard! :)Oh, btw, could you do a tutorail that will show us what are the real functions of Bevel and Emboss and Satin layer styles? I use them sometimes, but I’m not sure what options and settings should I use, for example, when I want to make sth look like it’s engraved into some material.

    Thank you a lot Howard, you make an excellent job here! 🙂

    Greets from Croatia 🙂

  • tpendery

    Great tutorial. I was doing the steps as you did them but hit a snag. After I copied the stem and flip it, I tried to select it to use the free transfom but I got this message, “Could not make the selection because the point you clicked is not inside the vector mask of a visible layer”. This is probably something obvious but I can’t figure out why it is doing this. The layer it is on is selected and visible. Help! Thanks.

  • All I can say is wow! You are a fantastic Photoshop teacher. Your calm, laid back approach is exactly what people need. You have taught me many great ways to make graphics better. I’ve learned so much from watching your tutorials. When on the Internet, I learn from as many people as possible – but I’d have to say your tutorials are by far, bar none THE BEST on the Internet. If I know how to do it, it’s because I learned it by watching one of YOUR tutorials! PEACE BROTHER!