Easy Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial

Last year I created this picture of a Christmas wreath hanging on a brick wall.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

I’ve lost the original file I used, but I wanted to recreate this - so why not share the steps with you? Here’s how to create this Christmas Wreath image in Photoshop.



Things You’ll Need:

Brick Texture
Tinsel Brush
Red Textures
Brushed Gold Metal Texture

 

Step One:

Open up a new document in Photoshop. I’m just using a default 8.5x11” document, but you can use whatever size you need.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

Next, place your brick image on the document and scale it to fit the whole artboard like this.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

In the top menu, hover over the “Filter” option and in the drop-down menu click on “Filter Gallery.” In the menu that pops up, click on the “Artistic” sub-menu and then click on Cutout. Set the Number of Levels to 6, the Edge Simplicity to 1 and the Edge Fidelity to 2. This gives the brick a slight cartoonish look.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creek Creative
 

Step Two:

Create a circle of any color the size you want your wreath to be. I placed my circle about halfway down the artboard and centered it vertically.

Create a new layer above the circle. In the brushes panel click on the brush subset you just downloaded select the “tinsle 1 1” brush and select a size that fits for the wreath size you have. You want it be fairly thick. I chose 138 for my brush size. Next open up the brush panel option and click on Color Dynamics

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative

In the Color Dynamics menu use the following settings:

make sure “Apply per Tip” is checked
Foreground Background Jitter: 4%
Control: Off
Hue Jitter: 5%
Saturation Jitter: 23%
Brightness Jitter: 39%
Purity: 73%

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

Close the brush panel and change your foreground and background colors to #2f7543 and #1a5d0d, respectively. This is where you’re going to start forming your wreath. Following the outside of the circle as a guide. Press and hold your brush as you draw a circle on the edge of your circle like this:

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative

Some tips for this step: you might find it easier to create the circle in small sections instead of trying to draw the circle in one long continuous stroke. I also find the color to be better in the final result if I go back and forth with the brush instead of just a forward motion. Once you’re happy with the base of your wreath then you can delete the circle underneath.

Now we want to create a shadow for the wreath so it doesn’t look so flat against the background. Click on the FX button in the bottom right hand corner and choose “Drop Shadow.” Think about where your light source is coming from. I’m imagining that there is a light coming from overhead the wreath so my shadow is going to be going down towards the ground. Here are the settings I used:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Opacity: 100%
Angle: 90%
Use Global Light Checked
Distance: 39
Spread: 10
Size: 2
Contour: Linear
Noise: 0

Feel free to play around with the shadow settings until your happy with it. Pay attention to the settings you use, because when we add the ornaments in, you’ll need to know what you used before. Now for the next step.

Step Three:

Now we’re going to add in some lights to the wreath. Create a new layer above your base wreath layer. Make your foreground color white and select a small round brush with medium hardness. I chose a brush that was 37 px and with a hardness of 61%. Click the brush all around the wreath however you want your lights to be placed. Here’s what mine looks like:

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

When you’re happy with the placement of your lights, then click on the FX button again and go to blending options. We’re going to make these lights glow! Click on outer glow and use the following settings:

Blend Mode: Screen
Opacity: 82%
Noise: 0%
Color: #ebf49d
Technique: Softer
Spread: 0
Size: 27
Contour: Half Round
Range: 50
Jitter: 0%

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

You may have to play around with this to get it to look right. The overall effect we’re going for is a soft glow around the the dots of light with the center slightly more focused. Here’s what mine looks like up close.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

Step Four:

Now we’re going to add the ornaments. I’m going to do red ornaments, but you can choose different colors if you want. You’ll just need to find matching textures in the colors you want to use.

Create a new layer above the lights layer. Click on the circle shape tool and make the color #da1111. Now create a small circle on your wreath the size of an ornament.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

The next thing we want to do is make the ornament look more three dimensional. When I created this last year I just did plain red ornaments, but I think this time I want to make them glittery. So in the red textures folder from Brusheezy (link at beginning of post) open up the red glitter image (right click in folder - open with Photoshop). With the image open, click on “Edit” in the top menu and then “Define Pattern.” Change the name to red glitter and then hit “Ok.”

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

Go back to your main document and click on the FX button again to create a new layer style.

Under Bevel & Emboss use the following settings:

Style: Emboss
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 10%
Direction: Up
Size: 57%
Soften: 1%
Angle: 90
Use Global Light checked
Altitude: 30
Gloss Contour: Rolling Slope - Descending
Highlight Mode: Screen (White) - 50%
Shadow Mode: Multiply (Black) - 50%


Under Pattern Overlay use the following settings:

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100
Pattern: Choose the red glitter pattern we made a few minutes ago
Scale: 23%
Link with Layer Checked


Under Drop Shadow use the following settings:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Opacity: 47%
Angle: 90%
Use Global Light Checked
Distance: 12
Spread: 9
Size: 10
Contour: Linear
Noise: 0%


Save the settings and see what your ornament looks like. Here’s what mine looks like:

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative

Copy your ornament as many times as you need and place them all over your wreath.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

Now our wreath is really shaping up but there’s a few details we need to add. Right now the ornaments looks like they’re free floating above the wreath. We want to make it look like they are a part of it. Create a layer above the ornaments and then select the tinsel brush we used earlier with the same settings. The only change we’re going to make is the size. I put my brush size at 111, less than a half of what the original brush size is. We’re going to take the brush and run it along the bottom of the ornament so that it looks like the ornament is now nestled safely in the wreath like this.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

Do this for all of your ornaments. Click your brush once or twice over some of the lights to make them appear farther back in the wreath than some of the other lights.

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative

Now our wreath is finished! There’s only one more thing to do, and that is to add a wreath hook.


Step Five:

Create a new layer above the brick background and below the wreath layer. Select the rectangle tool and with a light yellow color selected, create a long think rectangle from the top of the wreath to the top of the art board like this:

Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

Open the Gold Brushed Metal texture and create a pattern following the same steps as before. Add the pattern as an overlay as in the FX menu. Scale the pattern to your satisfaction. Now click on Bevel and Emboss and use the following settings.

Style: Emboss
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 199%
Direction: Up
Size: 29
Soften: 2
Leave the rest of the settings the same.

Close the FX panel.


We now have our finished piece!


Christmas Wreath Photoshop Tutorial | Mill Creek Creative
 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Now that you’ve learned the basics of creating this piece you can play around with different background scenes. Here’s another way I used this last year:

Christmas Fireplace Design | Mill Creek Creative

Thanks for following along! I can’t wait to see what you’ll create.