How to make a Party Hat

Now that you’ve completed the Banner Tutorial why not take the idea of triangles and see if we can add a twist so we come out with a Party Hat.
Are you ready? Let’s Go!

  1. Open a new file:  300 ppi, 2″ width by 3″ height, transparent background.
  2. Fill Layer 0 with a dark green color (it will help us “see” the grid better).
  3. Press D to switch your colors back to the Default (Black Foreground, White Background).
  4. Select the CUSTOM SHAPE tool and from the list chose the Polygon Custom Shape.
    Screen shot from Elements v.9
    Screen shot from Photoshop CS5
  5. On the Options Bar change Sides to 3 (see screen shots above … reference the arrows).
  6. Turn on your GRID or add some Guides (one for the horizontal middle of Layer 0 and one for it’s vertical middle)
    NOTE: If you don’t have a version of Elements that includes the Grid, then:
    Activate Layer 0,
    Activate the Move Tool, make sure Show Bounding Box is turned on.
    Now you’ll be able to see a bounding box in the exact middle of your canvas.
    If you had to do this, then don’t forget to change back to the Custom Shape tool before going on to the next step!)
  7. Create a triangle on your canvas in the exact center of your canvas – click&drag from the center of the canvas.

    NOTE: If you press and hold the SHIFT key as you drag UP you’ll find it easier to make a triangle with the point at the top and base at the bottom. Play with this tool and you’ll begin to get a feel-for-it. My final triangle can be seen below: 
    You’ve just created a SHAPE layer (see screen shot above, the red arrow points out the new layer). Because this is a vector layer … it is completely scalable … NO pixelation issues!).
  8. Let’s activate Free Transform (press CTRL/CMD + T).  Stretch the top upward, then stretch the bottom downward … until we have a triangle that has the right proportions for a party hat.
  9. To make this look more like a party hat we’ll need to add a curve to the bottom.
    Let’s use our Marque Tool to help! Press M and
    make sure the tool is set to the Elliptical shape.
  10. While pressing and holding CTRL/CMD key,
    click&drag from the center of the base of the triangle and
    move slightly downward until the new elliptical shape
    stretches across the triangle and meets the outer two points of the base.
  11. Create a new blank layer (CTRL + SHIFT + N will do this quickly).
  12. Fill the selection on the new layer (press CTRL/CMD + Delete to fill it with white).
  13. Now, we’ll use a couple “tricks” to get the final shape we are wanting!
    Over in the Layers Palette, CTRL/CMD + CLICK on the thumbnail of the custom shape layer …

    … this will make a selection of the triangle shape.
  14. Let’s turn off the visibility of all layers, except the green layer, to de-clutter our canvas view.
  15. Next we need to add the curve, right? This is easier than you might think!
    Again we’ll go over to our Layers Palette, only this time
    we are going to press and hold
    both
    the CTRL/CMD + SHIFT keys when we
    click
    on the Layer Thumbnail for our Elliptical layer
    … (in my screen shot it’s called Layer 2).
    Notice how the selection changes?
    Isn’t THAT a neat trick?!!! By adding the SHIFT key to our tricky selection method in step 13, our procedure becomes a add to selection procedure! You’ve gotta LOVE this trick … it’s totally slick!
  16. Next, I am going to activate the green layer, then create a new layer via a copy (CTRL/CMD + J).
    In the screen shot below you’ll see my new “Party Hat” layer (called Layer 3).

    You’ll notice that I deleted all of the other layers … we don’t need them anymore.
  17. To add some depth to our hat we will add a layer for some highlights, but first we need a new blank layer at the top of our stack of layers.
    CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + N will create a new blank layer now.
  18. Change your Foreground color to white.
  19. Activate your Gradient Tool. Change the following Options Bar settings:
    Gradient Colors should be set to Foreground to Transparent;
    Gradient Type should be set to Reflected Gradient;
    Mode = Screen;
    Opacity = Start with a value between 80% and 85% (or any value you prefer).
  20. Create a selection of the hat (CTRL + CLICK on the thumbnail…remember? C’mon … tell me you haven’t already forgotten that $100,000 tip I gave you earlier?)
  21. Now, you’ll be doing a click&drag move. Let me offer a few tips to anyone not familiar with the Gradient Tool:
    ~ You don’t need to go far … maybe about 1/4″
    ~Drag in a slight Up & to-the-right direction … over on the right side of the hat.
    ~If you don’t like the results, use your CTRL+Z (Undo) and repeat until you get something you like. 

    The screen shot below is a sample highlight (think I’ll keep it)

  22. At this point, you simply embellish your Party Hat.
    If you’ve ever attended any of our training or done any of our tutorials you KNOW that I am going to use my new Party Hat layer as a MASK … right? RIGHT!
    TIP: This would be a good time to save your file. Give your two layers meaningful names (ie: Highlight for the layer with your gradient, and Hat Mask for your green layer). Once saved, you’ll have a great Mask file in your stash that you can easily customize by adding papers from digi-kits … imagine the possibilities!
  23. All I have to do is add a Pattern Adjustment Layer and clip it to my Party Hat layer. Because my Pattern had a transparent background I also changed the color of my hat to orange.
    LOOK!
    It’s a great start for a pretty funky PARTY HAT, ay? Totally!
    I could add some fur, feathers, glitter, … oh goodness … the options are endless!
  24. I can’t resist adding some FLUFF
    … a ball at the top and
    … a row of FLUFF along the bottom (see Creating Fluffy Edges tutorial).
    FUN! FUN! FUN!
    Maybe a bit of an inner glow to my little swirlie do-dads from my adjustment layer
    oh yeahI like that!
    Oh boy … I could play with Party Hats endlessly!!!
    Before I continue on with my playtime on this party hat, I want to say, “Thanks” for stopping by!

I hope you found this tutorial fun and helpful. Feel free to share the link with others who enjoy stretching their Digital Scrapbooking skills!

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2 Responses to “How to make a Party Hat”


  1. 1 April January 19, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    This is a really cool party hat tutorial.
    I had loads of fun with it.

    Thank you,

    April


  1. 1 Creating a Fluffy Edge « The MaskMasters Trackback on January 19, 2011 at 1:42 pm

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