Weaving Ribbon Through Alphas and Elements

Weaving ribbon or string through alphas or other elements adds a lot of realism and depth to a scrapbook page.  As I’m working on digital scrapbook pages I try to think as if they’re traditional paper layouts.  Weaving ribbon through alphas can add depth and interest to a title.  Threading string through dangling elements adds depth and serves to attach the element to the layout.  Today, using Photoshop Elements 15, we’ll put some of these ideas into action and see how easy it is to do.

Weaving Curly Ribbon Through Alphas

I love kits that include curly ribbons.  I use curly ribbon a lot to build clusters and I also like to weave them through alphas to add a little pizazz to a title.  It’s very easy to accomplish this nondestructively using Photoshop Elements and Layer Masks.

First, select the ribbon and alphas for your title.  The ribbon will be behind the letters.  As you place each alpha it will open in the middle of the layout.  I select and accept each alpha and let them stack on top of each other.  When I’m finished selecting all the alphas I can easily resize them all at once by selecting the top alpha layer, hold the Shift key, and select the bottom alpha layer then drag a corner of the bounding box.  When the alphas are the right size, I select each letter then move it to the right or left while holding the Shift key. This will hold the vertical position even while you drag right or left.  Finally, align the letters.

Next, resize the ribbon until it’s the right size and in position to weave through the alphas. Be sure constrain proportions is checked before resizing the ribbon. You can drag the ribbon to the top to check placement before weaving.  Make sure it is aligned so that it flows through openings correctly.



In this example, I want the ribbon to go over the left side of the “o”.  With the “o” layer active, select Add Layer Mask (the rectangle with a circle in the middle). Then I go to the ribbon layer, hold the Ctrl key, and click on the Thumbnail to select the ribbon.  Go back to the “o” layer and click on the Layer Mask.  There will be a blue outline around it.  Notice the marching ants around the ribbon.  This will confine the area to be masked on each letter.

Remember when masking white reveals and black conceals.  Use a hard round brush appropriately sized and set to black to conceal the area on the letter where the ribbon will appear on top of the letter.  Use Ctrl+D to deselect the ribbon.  Repeat the process on the other letters to weave the ribbon.  Always select the letter layer first, Add Layer Mask, then go to the ribbon layer, hold the Ctrl key and click the ribbon thumbnail, then go back to the letter layer, and select the mask. Use the black hard round brush to conceal the area on the letter.  Deselect the ribbon again and repeat steps on the next letter.







Here are the results once all the letters have been masked and shadows have been added.  Always add shadows last.


weaving alpha



Without the woven ribbon or with woven ribbon?

Here is an example of another layout title without the woven ribbon to show the difference it can make.





The ribbon adds interest and depth to the cluster as well as adding a little oomph to the title which looks a little flat otherwise.





Weaving String and Ribbon Through Other Elements

In addition to weaving string and ribbon through title alphas, I like to use it as a method to attach dangling elements to a layout.  It’s probably just me but I think my elements need to be secured to the page in some way otherwise they might fall off. LOL.  In the examples below, I’ve shown a few other ways I use Layer Masks to weave hat pins, string, lockets, tags, bows, and alphas together on a layout.





Weaving an Element Over Multiple Layers

In this layout, in addition to the woven title, I also wanted the foliage at the top to be under some paper layers with only one leaf folding over the top.





In order for the forward facing leaf to peek over the two papers it overlaps, a layer mask has to be added to both paper layers.  Just like the previous examples, I selected the foliage thumbnail to confine the selection area when I was revealing the leaf through paper one and paper two.

The same process could have been done with the foliage used in the cluster on the right.  It just depends on how far you want to take it.




I hope you’ll incorporate some of these ideas into your layouts.  If you have any comments or questions, please let me know.



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