• How to Recolor Embellishments in Photoshop and PSE

    One of my favorite things about digital scrapbooking is the ability to use my purchases over and over again. It's so great to own just the right ribbon or sticker-set for a project and never have to worry about running out in the middle of a project. And what's more, you have the ability to recolor your purchases to customize them to whatever project you are creating! In this series of tips, we'll be demonstrating all of the many approaches to recoloring digital art. It's probably easier than you think!

    We'll start by learning how to recolor using the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer method. This method allows you to tweak colors without altering the original embellishment. It's a great way to recolor items like bows, flowers, frames or water-colored images.

    Here's how:

    • In Photoshop and PSE, begin by opening a piece of digital paper or a project that contains the color you want to use. Open one or more elements that you'd like to recolor to match the project you are working on.
    • Get the Eyedropper tool by pressing the letter I on the keyboard or choosing the Eyedropper from the Tools panel on the left side of the editing window. Click on the digital paper to pick up the color you want to use. You'll see the Foreground color chip at the bottom of the Tools panel will change to the color you have clicked.
    • Next, click the embellishment window to make it active in the editing window. In Photoshop, just click the title bar or tab. In PSE, you can double click the item in the Photo bin.
    • To change the color of the embellishment, click the "Create a new fill or saturation layer" icon which looks like a black and white circle at the bottom of the Layers panel. (In PSE, this is at the top of the Layers panel.) Select Hue/Saturation.
    • The Hue/Saturation dialog box will populate. Put a check in the "Colorize" box near the bottom.
    • Adjust the Saturation and Lightness sliders to achieve your desired color. (Warning: the Hue slider will select a new hue instead of matching the color you have selected.) I always start with the Lightness slider and then tweak Saturation only if necessary.
    • When you are satisfied with the color, select the adjustment layer and go to Layer>Create Clipping Mask (Alt+Ctrl+G on PC, Opt+Cmd+G on a Mac). This will allow you to change the hue at any point, without altering your original or affecting any layers beneath your element layer.
    • At this point, I like to drag the paper onto the embellishment window to check how well it matches. If you need to tweak the color of the embellishment, double-click the thumbnail on the left side of the Hue/Saturation layer. This reopens the Hue/Saturation dialog where you can adjust the Lightness or Saturation. Delete the paper layer when you are happy with the color.
    • Once you have completed this step, itís super easy to recolor other items to match! Choose another embellishment to recolor. Drag the Hue/Saturation layer from the recolored embellishment onto the new embellishment. It's seriously just that easy! You can tweak the Hue/Saturation if desired and then create a clipping mask.
    • Remember to drag both the Hue/Saturation layer and the embellishment layer over to your digital project when using it. Double-check to make sure the clipping mask stays intact during the move. Create a new clipping mask if needed.


    Whether you want to recolor a button, a ribbon, beads or foliage, this technique is a quick, easy and nondestructive way to coordinate the colors in your project.