How to Create and Use Custom Brushes in Photoshop Elements

Make your own brushes for Photoshop Elements 2019

Custom Brushes in Photoshop Elements

It's possible to create your own brushes in Photoshop Elements and save them to your brushes palette. For example, you can convert one of the custom shapes that comes with Photoshop Elements into a brush and then save multiple variations in a set.

Instructions in this article apply to Photoshop Elements 2019 for Windows and Mac.

How to Make Your Own Brushes in Photoshop Elements

To create a brush using a custom shape in Photoshop Elements:

  1. Open Photoshop Elements and select File > New > Blank File.

    Open Photoshop Elements and select File > New > Blank File.
  2. Set the Width and Height to 400 pixels, set the Background Contents to White, then select OK.

    Set the Width and Height to 400 pixels, set the Background Contents to White, then select OK.
  3. Select the Expert tab at the top of the workspace.

    Select the Expert tab at the top of the workspace.
  4. Select the Shape tool. Set it to Custom in the Tool Options panel, then select a shape.

    Select the Shape tool. Set it to Custom in the Tool Options panel, then select a shape.
  5. Click and drag across the document to create the shape.

    Click and drag across the document to create the shape.
  6. Go to Layer > Simplify Layer to convert the shape to pixels.

    Go to Layer > Simplify Layer to convert the shape to pixels.
  7. Go to Select > All.

    Go to Select > All.
  8. Go to Edit > Define Brush from the Selection.

    Go to Edit > Define Brush from the Selection.
  9. Name your brush and select OK.

    The number under the brush thumbnail indicates the size in pixels. It's best to create your brushes in a large size since the brush will lose definition if it is scaled up.

    Name your brush and select OK.
  10. Select the paintbrush tool and scroll to the end of the brushes palette. You'll notice your new brush has been added to the end of the list.

    Select the paintbrush tool and scroll to the end of the brushes palette to see your new brush.

How to Save a Custom Brush to a Set

By default, Photoshop Elements adds your brush to whatever brush set is active when you define it. If you ever need to reinstall your software, however, these custom brushes won't be saved. To back up your custom brushes, you must create a new brush set.

  1. Go to Edit > Preset Manager.

    Go to Edit > Preset Manager.
  2. Select your brush from the bottom of the active brush set and select Save Set.

    Only selected brushes will be saved to your new set. To include more brushes, hold the Shift key as you make your selection.

    Select your brush from the bottom of the active brush set and select Save Set.
  3. Give your new brush set a name and select Save.

    Give your new brush set a name and select Save.

Open the Brush palette menu and select Load Brushes to load your custom brush sets. If you want to add more brushes to this custom set later on, load the custom set before you define your new brushes, then remember to save the brush set again after adding to it.

Open the Brush palette menu and select Load Brushes to load your custom brush sets.

How to Save Variations of a Brush

You can now customize the brush and save different variations of it. For example, you can select Brush Settings to adjust how your custom brush looks.

Select Brush Settings to adjust how your custom brush looks.

Once you're satisfied, go the Brushes palette menu and select Save Brush. You can then give the variation a new name.

Go the Brushes palette menu and select Save Brush.

Your brush variations will appear in brushes palette. After you've added all the variations you want, go to the Brush palette menu and select Save Brushes.

After you've added all the variations you want, go to the Brush palette menu and select Save Brushes.

You can rename and delete brushes by right-clicking a thumbnail in the brushes palette.

You can also use clip art, fonts, textures, or any other graphical assets you can think of to create a custom brush.

Custom Brush Examples
 Sue Chastain