Editor’s Note: Yay!  Megan, from Two Live Colorfully, is here to share a fun way to make your own art today.  I followed her tutorial and was able to make my own in about 5 minutes, but I know a thing or two about Photoshop Elements.  Even if you have never used PSE, this project will take you under 10 minutes.  It will take you longer to read this post and drive to Staples to pick up your master piece :)  (Or, read to the end and grab Megan’s generous FREE printable!)

Gold foil is my current obsession. I’m so in love. This metallic-y goodness has infiltrated the blog-o-sphere lately and I couldn’t be happier. But the thing is, diy-ing gold foil can be a little tricky. Most true gold foiling techniques require special materials and lots and lots of patience. Not going to lie; I don’t have a whole lot of either of those.

Jackie took a stab recently at faux gold foil using gold leaf and a glue pen.  It turned out super cute, but Jackie admits it was a little bit time consuming and messy.

Last Christmas, I went so far as to try a faux gold foil technique by placing metallic paper behind a homemade stencil of sorts with great results, but that project isn’t so good for intricate fonts or patterns. Unless, you’re a zen master with an exacto knife, you’ll probably want a simpler method. And that’s what I’m bringing you today!

Gold Foil Art in Photoshop!

Yes! You can easily create a gold foil effect in Photoshop and it is very simple to do. Before we get started, I do want to share a few details about the photo editing program I use. I edit all photos and create my original graphics and prints in Photoshop Elements 9. It’s a great little program for people who want the basics, plus a few awesome extras, and are not doing heavy-duty professional editing.  I know some of you might not have a similar program like this, but you can download a free trial version of Photoshop Elements 12 for 30 days!

Where to Start

Okay, so you’re in Photoshop Elements. The first thing you need to do is create two new files. The print I’m making is an 8×10, so I created two identical 8×10 files. One will be used as the final print and the other will be used to create your custom brush.

Getting Clear Printed Images

In order to get crisp, clear lines when you have the image printed we need to increase the Pixels Per Inch (PPI). It’s important to note that computer quality images will almost always look more pixellated and fuzzy when printed out. Increasing the PPI will keep your image crystal clear.

To do this select Image>Resize>Image Size. In the new window, look for “Resolution” and increase the PPI to 250-300.  This is super important for crisp printing!

Gold Foil Art in Photoshop!

Create your background

Next, you need to find some gold foil. For this, I simply did a Google search for “gold foil backgrounds.” Choose your favorite and save to your computer for personal use. Open your gold foil background in Photoshop Elements. Drag and resize it to cover the 8 x 10 canvas in one of your new files.

After you’ve resized the gold image to fit, add a new rectangle shape on top, covering all the gold foil, in the color you’d like the background of your final print to be. I chose white.

Your layers should look like this:

  • Bottom: “Layer 1/Background”
  • Middle: Gold Foil
  • Top: Background color for final print (white here)

Make Gold Foil Art in Photoshop!

Making Custom Brushes

Now you’ve got the base of your finished product set up. Move over to the second file we made and add the font/patterns you’d like to see “gold foiled” in black. I chose the fun phrase “Hooray! It’s today!”

When you’re satisfied with the design. Use your Rectangle Marquee Tool to select the area around your text and patterns. You’ll see a dashed line surround the area you’ve selected.

Gold Foil Art in Photoshop! In order to make the design “gold foiled”, you need to turn it into a brush and use that new brush as an eraser on our original layered file.

To do this select Image>Define Brush from Selection after you’ve use the marquee tool to select your design. A new box will pop up and prompt you to name your brush. Once you’ve done so, click OK.

Gold Foil Art in Photoshop!

Instant Gold Foil

Now, go back to your original file; the one we layered with the gold foil and top background color.

Select the Eraser tool. Towards the top you’ll see a new bar with shape options for your eraser. Click to expand the choices and look for your newly created brush.

Gold Foil Art in Photoshop!

It should automatically be the correct size and will be an exact copy of the design you created in the second file. Make sure opacity is turned up to 100%.  Position your eraser and click! Photoshop Elements will prompt you to simplify the top layer and might require you to use the eraser once more after the prompt, before it will show the gold foil underneath.


And, you’ve revealed the golden goodness underneath! I added some fun black polka dots to finish off my design and then had it printed at my local Staples on good quality card stock.

Gold Foil Art in Photoshop!

As you can see, you won’t get that true metallic sheen from this method, but at a glance it’s completely believable gold foil and it is much less expensive! Perfect for the DIYer in all of us!

If you really like my Hooray print, all of you lovely Teal & Lime readers can download it for free! Have a fantastic day and gold foil away!

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14 Responses to Make Gold Foil Art in Photoshop Elements!

  1. Meg says:

    What a cool project — thanks for sharing! Already have lots of fun ideas percolating. :)

    • Meg says:

      Had to come back and say I just finished my first piece — and it looks awesome! I’m so excited! I went with a silver foil and my favorite inspirational quote, and I can’t wait to frame and hang it. :) Costs me little and even cooler because I made it myself. Thanks again!

  2. I LOVE this tutorial! Not only is it going to help me learn more PSE tricks but I will get a gold piece of artwork out of it!

  3. Another reason I need to get PSE … love this idea. :)

  4. Making my shop labels using this tutorial!

  5. emily says:

    a way easier way is to layer the goldfoil on top of the font and press ctrl g it puts it right on top of the font in one simple step.

  6. Love this! I usually use clipping masks in Photoshop and I love learning new ways to do stuff!

  7. Kathia says:

    I was so excited about this tutorial and even downloaded the free trial for Elements. I cannot seem to find the tool to create a rectangle so I end up stuck in this part of the process: “After you’ve resized the gold image to fit, add a new rectangle shape on top, covering all the gold foil, in the color you’d like the background of your final print to be. I chose white.”

    Do you have any idea of what is it that I am doing wrong?

    Thank you so much! This is awesome!

    • Jackie says:

      Kathia, Try looking for a tool with a blue shape in it. It might not be a rectangle, it might be another shape like a circle or rounded rectangle. Click on the tiny triangle in the bottom right corner of that tool and a menu will pop up revealing the shapes. You can select the rectangle. Hope that helps.

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