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by Wendi E. M. Scarth.


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 Paint Photo Borders


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Paint Pretty Borders Using The Paintbrush Tool
Beginners Plus

Paintbrush Tool Borders GIMP

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This GIMP (GNU) tutorial demonstrates how to paint a pretty Photographic Border using GIMP’s Paintbrush Tool. To work along, you are welcome to download the Start Image
I am working with
Here.  Unzip the file and open the image onto GIMP’s workspace.

Create, Save & Apply A Sparkle Brush
Create A Multi Coloured Picture Brush
Create A Custom Brush From A Photograph
Create A Custom Brush From A Photo Object
Create, Save & Apply A Copyright Signature Brush

Read GIMP’s Comprehensive Brush Notes Here

You can quickly Undo a step at any time by pressing Ctrl then Z. Alternatively, click a previous Undo History snapshot - Windows then Dockable Dialogues then click Undo History. In addition, to Zoom in (or Zoom out) of your image; from the top menu, choose View then select a Zoom Tool from the subsequent drop-down

Launch GIMP & Organise Its Workspace & Palettes

Open your choice of Start Image onto GIMP’s workspace - File then Open - Ctrl then O.

Ensure the Layers and the Undo History Palettes are visible, and then drag them into position over your workspace - (Windows then Dockable Dialogues - then click Layers and Undo History).

Now, create a New Transparent Layer by clicking the following Create a new layer.... tab, found at the foot of the Layers Palette. And from the subsequent New Layer dialogue box (into the Layer name box), type a name for your New Layer, and then click OK.


Then, from the left-side Toolbox, activate the Paintbrush Tool.

And from the left-side Options Box, click open the Brush Library by clicking over the tiny black plus icon. And from the subsequent Brush Library, left-click over a Brush of your choice.

(I am utilising a Special Effects Brush named Sparks).

Under normal circumstances, painting with the Brush Tool will apply the Foreground Colour.

However, because the Sparks Brush is a Special Effects Bush, it will paint just as it displays in the Brush Thumbnail. The Sparks Brush will therefore paint Bright Orange/Yellow Orbs onto your image .

Gradient Brush Note
To set the Paintbrush Tool to paint with Gradient colours of your choice, mark the following Use colour from gradient box. And then click open the Gradient Library, and then highlight a Gradient of your choice, as illustrated below. You are now ready to paint with your choice of Gradient.


Once you have set your Brush, you are ready for the next step.

(I am utilising a Special Effects Brush named Sparks).

Now, working on the Paint Brush (New Transparent) Layer, left-click and begin painting sparkles to form a frame around your image - as illustrated below.

You can quickly Undo a single Brush application by pressing Ctrl then Z

Quickly Resize The Brush Size
Tapping the Outer (Square) Bracket Keys will quickly Resize your Brush.

Brush Application Note
You can either apply the Brush as one sweeping movement. Alternatively, for precision, apply your Brush one click at a time. It’s entirely up to you which way you choose.

After you have formed a frame around your image, you are ready for the next step.


Layer Blend Mode Note (
Understand GIMP’s Blend Modes Here).
Because you have applied the Brush onto its own Layer, changing the Paint Brush Layer’s Blending Mode can alter the way the Brush’s Colours Blend with the Layer beneath it.

Difference Blend Mode Example


When you are happy with your Brush application. From the top menu, choose Image and then choose Flatten Image.

Congratulations, your work is complete,
and it is ready to save - top menu, then File then Save As.
Now you are familiar with this technique, you can have lots of fun painting pretty borders around your favourite photographs.

Wendi E. M. Scarth. 
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