Feeling festive? Get in the seasonal spirit as we hand you over to Eric Renno, aka Tip Squirrel for a fun photoshop tutorial. 

Eric: As we approach Christmas I thought I’d relax a little and so something fun. In this post I’m going to add a santa hat to an image of me but lets make it a little different and go for a sticker look.


I understand this is a little silly, I blame the holiday spirit, but the technique can be used to give images a nice shaped white border that can be used in more professional situations.

If you’re comfortable bringing all the elements to the image, jump to Step 4

Step 1 – Open The Images

I’ve opened an image I want to add the stickers to. It’s actually a picture of me. I then need to get the image for the first sticker.

I thought I could do with a Santa’s hat, which for this I chose this file. It has a whole series of hats at different angles.

The only one I want is down at the bottom but that’s ok, I’ll grab it once it’s in Photoshop. The image may open in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) first depending how you have it set up, if it does, click Open Image to proceed.

If it doesn’t and you’d like JPEG’s to open in ACR by default then take a look at this post at TipSquirrel.com to find out how.

Step 2 – Select the Hat


Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool I’ve made a selection of the hat, leaving room around it, at least the size of the sticker’s border.

Press Cmd+J (Mac) or Ctrl+J (PC) to duplicate (or Jump) the selection to it’s own layer.


Step 3 – Move the Hat to the Portrait

There’s a few ways to get our layer to the first image. Possibly the most tricky to start with, but quickest once you get the hang of it, is to drag it over.

With the layer selected and the Move Tool selected, click and hold on the image and move the mouse up to the tabs at the top of the window. Move the mouse over to the tab of the first image and then, when it pops open, move the mouse down onto the image. Let go of the mouse.


Step 3 – Resize the Layer

For me the hat is much too big. To resize it press Cmd+T (Mac) or Ctrl+T (PC). It may be that you can’t see the resizing handles, if this is the case press Cmd+0 (Mac) or Ctrl+0 (PC) to fit it all on screen.

Click a corner handle and with the Shift key pressed move the mouse in to reduce the size of the hat. When you’re happy click the tick at the top of the screen.


Step 4 – Select the Hat

Use the Quick Selection Tool to make a selection of the hat. It doesn’t need to be perfect but should at least get the shape. With the Quick Selection Tool click and drag over the hat, the selection should ‘snap’ to it’s edges.


Step 5 – Expand the Selection – Using Expand

I’m going to utilise the Refine Edge dialogue box to expand my selection. You may have thought that I could go to Select > Modify > Expand and put a pixel figure in the box?


And you’d be right, this would work fine. By using the following technique however I can see dynamically how much border I’m giving my sticker. No guess work.

Step 6 – Expand the Selection – Using Refine Edge

Once you make any type of selection a button appears at the top of the window labeled Refine Edge, click that.


This is often used to select fine details, if I wanted, for example, to get the strands of fur on the hat I’d use this dialogue box.

Move the Contrast and Shift Edge slider to their furthest right hand point. With the Feather slider I can pinpoint the frame, or edge i want to give to my sticker. For me, I used the following settings, but these will differ depending on taste and image resolution.

When you’re happy, change the output to New Layer and click OK


Step 7 – Add some FX

To make this a little 3D let’s add some effects. From the bottom of the layers panel click the FX button.


Again some of the settings will need tweaking deepening taste and image size, but here’s what I used:


Step 8 – Rotate the Layer

As we did earlier, press Cmd+T (Mac) or Ctrl+T (PC) to get a bounding box around the hat. Move the pointer just outside a corner and you’ll get a double ended curved arrow. Click and move the mouse to rotate the layer.


When you’re happy, click the tick.

Step 9 – Repeat for Other Stickers

Repeat as often as you’d like to decorate your festive image.

Other images used:



And last but not least, Happy Holidays all!

As always, a big thanks to Eric for supplying this super detailed tutorial. Check out more of his tutorials on his websiteYouTube and you can find him on Facebook and Twitter should you wish to get in touch with him!