Tutorial: Customizing Paper Flowers in PSCC

I love adding customized layered paper flowers to my kits, so when I purchase CU paper flowers, I always look for those in solid colors, separate them into layers and add my kit papers to make them unique to each kit. I save my psd files so later, I can switch out the papers and reuse them over and over if I wish. At first,  it took me awhile to separate the flowers into different layers, but over time, I discovered the way that worked easiest for me both in extracting each layer and adding my papers to the layer. I hope you find my technique helpful in creating beautiful paper flowers.

The flower I will be using is by Miss Tina and was purchased at https://sugarhillco.com/. You can use any solid color paper flower to create your own custom paper flowers.


Use any paper flower without a pattern on it. If it is purchased colored, you will first want to turn it into a greyscale flower. Once it is in greyscale, you can start separating it into layers:

I separate my flowers into layers from the bottom up, always with the goal of duplicating each layer without it’s bottom most part. It’s easy, it’s quick and I never have to worry about “holes” where pixels are missing and often times, I only have to worry about working around the outer most edge of each layer, so it is less time consuming. You can see below that I start by separating the flower from the leaves. I prefer to use the pen tool (I work in PSCC) around the area that I’m going to be working with so I can more easily adjust for curves or errors if I didn’t get it quite right. You can see below that this technique really only required a smaller area that I had to be more exact with. Once I get my area chosen, I close the path , hit “make selection” to select the area and hit alt-j to duplicate the area that I’ve chosen.

Below you can see the layers that I now have. I still have the complete full layer on the bottom, with my selection then on the next layer.

I generally turn off all layers except the one that I will be working with next so I don’t lose track of where I’m at:

Step 2: Next, working with the layer I just extracted, I do the same thing as I did with the bottom layer, using my pen tool around the flower to separate the outermost part of the flower layer that I’m working on from the rest of the flower, adjusting where needed to get nice edges and curves. When ready, close your path, make your selection, hit alt-J and your next layer is now created.

Here is the next extracted/created layer, smaller of course, than the previous layers. Again, I turn off the previous layer so that only the layer I will be working on is shown so I don’t get mixed up on where I’m at or what layers I’m extracting.

Continue to keep creating smaller and smaller layers of your flower. For this final layer, I’ve decided not to extra any further as most of it is so heavily shadowed that the paper might not be seen. On a flower that is less closely wound, you might want to keep extracting/duplicating your layers further than I have.

Now you need to ready your paper. For a flatter paper flower, you might choose to not tinker with your paper much except to reduce it in size. This particular flower is wound in such a way that the pattern would be smaller towards the bottom edge and the center of the flower than on the outer edges of the flower so we need to ready our paper to use on our flower. This is the paper I’ve chosen to use on my flower. It is from my kit, Vacation that will be available in stores on April 28th, 2017.  Make sure that you work with a copy of the original so you do not accidentally copy over and alter the original!

I do not know if other software can do this, but in PSCC, I go to “filter”, then “distort” then “polar coordinates”. I use the default settings, hit “ok”.

Here is what my paper now looks like. I’ll reduce it in size a bit so it’s easier to work with but otherwise, I’ll use it as is. Remember to not save it over your original!

Now it’s time to add your paper to your layers. You want it to look like a real rolled up flower! I start by lowering the opacity of my paper down so I can see my flower layers below it. This helps me line up the center of the paper with the center of the flower so my pattern is not thrown off center. Once I get the paper centered, I increase the opacity back to 100% and start adding the paper to each layer of the flower.

I add the paper to the layers in the same order that I created the layers, from the bottom up. Duplicate the paper for each layer and clip each one to it’s layer.

For some reason, I find adding the paper and getting a feel for things helps if I duplicate the original greyscale flower, move it to the top and use the filter overlay on it. When Chelle was still designing, she taught us to use one layer in soft light mode and one layer in linear light mode on top (both at 50%) to add the highlights to the flower in a realistic manner and avoid having to tinker to much with filters on the actual paper. I still do that when I’m finished with everything but at this point, I just want to get an idea of things so I’ll use overlay.

Continue clipping papers to each layer and rotating the paper on each layer so that it does not line up with the layer below. You want it to look like the pattern actually actually rotates around the flower.

Here is my flower without the leaves colored in yet.

I added a layer of green to color the leaves! Then decided to divide the leaves into two separate leaves so I could enhance them.

I want to punch up the look of the flower a bit now so I add the two adjustment layers that Chelle taught us to use. One grayscale flower at linear light at 50% and one greyscale flower at soft light at 50%. It’s really looking nice now!

I’m still feeling the need to punch it up a bit, so I select all the layers, duplicate them and merge the duplicated layers

Then I go to my original layers, add shadows to every layer, duplicate them once again and merge the shadowed layers. Yep…it’s a bit harsh…but I’m getting there. 🙂

Clip the shadowed version of the flower to the “regular” version of the flower, save it! You can adjust the opacity of the shadowed layer at this point to get just the amount of shadow that you want if this is too dark for your own preferences but you have a pretty nice looking flower that reflects depth! Don’t forget to save your .psd or .tiff file so you can reuse it. You can remove the layer with the leaves next time or even switch them out with different leaves for a new look to your flower!

I hope this tutorial was helpful, that it gave you ideas on how to customize your CU paper flowers, ways to add punch and depth to your finished element, and…a great way to extend your stash!

Thank you for letting me share with you.

Have fun and Happy Crafting!

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