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Basic Waves

Written By: Sandra
Last Updated: June 6th, 2018
Program: Photoshop
Difficulty: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

This tutorial is going to teach you how to add create a basic wave for your preppy sign/deco.

Final Product

Materials Needed

Step one

Create a new blank document. Click on the Rectangular Marquee Tool.


Under the top navigation bar, change the Style from “Normal” To “Fixed Size.”


This will give you a fixed width and height for your first bar so you don’t have to guess at how thick you actually made it. I prefer a 3px width and whatever height your document is (467px). Click in the center of your document to get the selection.

Step Two

Now you’re going to make a new color fill layer. Layer > New Fill Layer > Color Fill.

A box will pop up asking you to name it. Just click OK.

When the color chooser comes up, pick one of the colors in your scheme and hit ok. A bar will now appear in your document.

Step Three

Go into your layers palette (Window > Layers) and you will see your color fill layer. Duplicate it by pressing CTRL+J on your keyboard. Duplicate it so that you have three more of them.


Double click the color fill area in the layers palette to cause the color chooser to come up for the second layer.


Choose the second color in your scheme and then hit OK. Repeat for all of the colors in your scheme.

Step Four

Click on the second layer and then move it to the right by using the arrow keys on your keyboard. I made my bars 3px wide, so I am going to move the layer 4 times with the right arrow keyboard (formula is width +1).


Move the other two color layers so that they are all 1px each from eachother as shown below.

Step Five

Now we’re going to want to add a white background behind the bars to really define them. Click back on your Rectangular Marquee Tool and then change the width from 3 to 14 ((width x 4) + 2). Click to make the selection and then make a color fill layer with the color white and move it behind the bars.

Step Six

Now we’re going to edit the fill layers with a wave distortion. First, click on the layer mask in the layers palette.


You will know you’re editing the mask if you see the white corners around the mask’s box.
Now go to Filter > Distort > Wave.


Match your settings to mine!


Go back into the layers palette and click on each of the layer masks for your color fill layers. Press CTRL+F on the keyboard to repeat the filter and when you’re finished each bar will be waved.

Step Seven

If you go back and instead of highlighting sine, you click on triangle, you can make a blockier wave, just make sure to adjust your wavelength and amplitude.

And that’s it!

By getting used to integrating the color fill layers when you’re making waves, you can easily create editable decos for yourself or your site. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us with the cbox, leaving a comment here on wordpress, or on Facebook!

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