How to Create Brushes From PNG Files


One of the best parts about writing posts here at The Daily Digi is the opportunity to teach a new trick or skill to help someone feel more comfortable with digital scrapbooking. I (Katie) love those “AHA!” moments that come when you learn something new, and it is such a great feeling when you try it out for yourself and it actually works!

I remember feeling mystified by brushes. I didn’t know what they were, and I really did not understand why I would want to use them. Now I even know how to make my own brushes! I thought it would be fun to show you how to turn a .png file image into a brush and explain why you would want to do that. Before I begin, here are a few previous posts on brushes that will be helpful to review:

Let’s get started on making a .png file into a brush. You will need a photo editing program that supports brush (abr.) format. Photoshop Elements, Photoshop, and Paint Shop Pro are all good examples of programs that work with brushes. I currently use Photoshop Elements 7 so I will show you the steps in that program.

I am going to use a piece of word art from the Family Ties kit by Kristin Cronin-Barrow


Open the .png file you want to use in Photoshop Elements


Go to “Edit” then select “Define Brush”


I keep the name of the brush the same name as the file. My program automatically chooses that name for me.


Select OK to keep the name. Repeat this process with the other files you want to include in the brush set (I could do this with all word art in this kit if I wanted to). After the set is made go to “Edit” and select “Preset Manager”


Select all the brushes you want to include in the brush set by clicking on each one while holding the shift key at the same time (this is the way to select multiple files at once in many programs). Then choose “Save Set” and name your set accordingly. I used the name of the designer and kit.

At this point you will need to close Photoshop Elements and reopen it to fully load the brushes.

Here’s the layout I want to use the brush on


Still using the kit by Kristin. Template is by Yin.

With that layout open in Photoshop Elements select the brush tool from the left sidebar menu (toward the bottom right below the pink eraser). After selecting the brush tool, you will see the brush selection window visible in the options bar on the top of the screen.


Click on the arrow next to the top brush selection window in the options bar and find the brush you have created. Then just click on it and click on the area of your project where you want the brush.

web brush

For this layout, I just used the brush on the standard settings, except that I adjusted the size of the brush in the slider on the options bar. This is where you can have all sorts of fun so feel free to play around and try different modes and opacity settings.


And don’t worry if you “mess up” – just click on this little black triangle in the very top left corner to reset the tool.


Why use brushes?

  • Brushes give your page a hand-stamped look
  • Brushes can soften up a background, create a journaling space, or add visual interest and texture to a layout.
  • There are loads of options for customizing brushes with different settings for many creative variations.
  • Brushes are loaded right into your program so they are easier and quicker to find than looking through several files in your stash.

Have fun making and using brushes from .png files!