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Making a Needle and Pins

By Wendy Williams  ·  June 25th, 2007

A while ago there was a request on the forum for a tutorial on making Needles. At the time I gave a few broad instructions, but I thought perhaps it would be better to write a full tutorial on how to make them. I have also added instructions for making a Pin and Cotton.

The first thing you need to do is to create a new file. [File>New>Blank File] I used 1000 pixels by 1000 pixels, Resolution 300, RGB with a white background.

Select a pale color for your background. Any color will do, but if you want to use the same one I used – my color is a6d8df. Fill the background with your color. [Edit>Fill Layer]

Next, select b2b3b3 as your foreground color and then create a new layer. [Layer>New>Layer] Call this layer “Needle”. You now need to select the Paintbrush and choose a hard round brush at 20 pixels.

Click once at point A then hold down the shift key and click once at point B. Elements will then draw in a straight line for you. The next image has these points marked so that you can make your Needle a similar size to mine.

To make the point of the Needle just select the Eraser tool with a hard, 20 pixel brush and click once in the position marked as A in the next image. Hold down the Shift key and click again at point B.

You can then do the same thing on the other side and that will complete the point of the Needle.

Duplicate this layer. [Layer>Duplicate Layer] Call the layer “Pin” and then go to the Layers palette and switch off its eyeball. We will use this later as the basis of the Pin.

Make sure that you still have the “Needle” layer as the active layer and then select the Eraser, change the brush size to 8 pixels and use the points A and B in the next image as guides to erase a line to form the eye of the Needle.

Finally, apply a metallic layer style to the “Needle” layer to complete the effect. I used Style 7 from a set called sks-silvertone by Shelby Kate Smitz, but just experiment with different ones until you find one that you like. Here is my finished Needle.
[Editor’s Note: You can find a link to the set here.]

Now, to make the Pin first go to the Layers palette, turn off the eyeball next to the “Needle” layer and turn on the eyeball next to the “Pin” layer.

Using the Move tool we will now reduce the size of the “Pin” to 60%. Just click on the pin and when the bounding box comes up, click in one corner of it and then go to the top of the screen and type in 60% for both the Width and the Height.

Next, create a new layer above the “Pin” Layer and call it “Head”. Using the Elliptical Marquee make a small selection, something like mine.

Then fill the selection with the grey foreground color. [Edit>Fill Selection]

Finally, I applied a Layer Style from the same set (Style No 6) to the “Head” Layer and once again, Style No 7 to the “Pin” Layer” to complete the Pin. Here is how my finished Pin looks.

The next step is to give the Needle the appearance of actually going through cloth. So for this I chose part of the curtain I made in the “Making Curtains Tutorial.” I opened a new image. [File >New> New>Blank File], and used 1000 pixels by 1000 pixels, Resolution 300, RGB with a white background. Then I copied a merged copy of the material into the image, which I then I rotated until I found a suitable fold for my Needle. Try to find something similar to this.

Now copy-and-paste your Needle into the new image and Move it into a position over a fold. You can either erase the middle part of the Needle or, if you have a Mask Addon to Elements, use a mask instead and paint away the excess on the mask. Hopefully your image will then look something like this

Create a new layer below the needle and call this layer “Shadow”. Add a couple of small black dots below each erased edge of the Needle. Use Gaussian to blur them by maybe 5 pixels and then reduce the opacity of the “Shadow” layer to around 40%.

Next we need to make the cotton. Create a new layer above the image and call this layer “Cotton”. Using a 9 pixel hard brush and white as your foreground color, draw in a line for the cotton.

To finish off the effect simply apply a Bevel Layer Style to it (I used Simple Inner Ridge) and then Erase the part of the cotton strand which goes across the Needle. This will make the cotton look like it is passing through the eye of the Needle and make the image more realistic. Your image should now look something like this.

Don’t forget to Save your images. This will allow you to be able to quickly and easily add Needles or Pins into any of your other images. Here is how I used a Needle and Pins in one of my Scrapbook Pages.

Hope that you enjoyed the tutorial and I look forward to seeing your images … just Experiment and Enjoy 


1 Reply to Making a Needle and Pins:

  1. Robert

    August 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I wish I had better fabric to work with. I need a tutorial on that. I did use the linked Making Curtains tutorial, and I’m happy with my results.

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