Whoa! Check out those cool watercolor….layer styles? What are layer styles? Where and how do I use them? Unless you’re fairly well-versed in Adobe Photoshop you probably haven’t heard the term layer style before. Let me break it down for you and also totally convince you that you need these bad boys in your life!

Just exactly what is a Photoshop Layer Style and how do I use it? I'll show you, and you can create stunning Pinterest graphics with this technique! Download the free Photoshop shortcuts file too!

So, What Exactly Is A Photoshop Layer Style?

A layer style in Adobe Photoshop is a method to apply a group of settings like drop shadows or bevels to a layer without being destructive to the graphic element.

This is such a fantastic feature of Adobe Photoshop. Consider you have this brush that looks like a paint stroke. Now, if only you could make it look like legit watercolor? Of course, you could break out your paints and your Winsor & Newton watercolors and paint some gorgeous blocks. Then, wait for it to fully dry, scan it in, adjust it in Photoshop so it looks decent, and then apply it as a clipping mask. OR, you could click a button and voila, magic.

What Kind of Layer Styles Are Available?

Artists and designers all over the place have been creating Photoshop Layer Styles for years. Back in the mid-2000s, we would use those silver metal layer styles on our faux brads and staples in our digital scrapbooking. The variety you can find available now is and can be a little overwhelming.

(click on those examples up there to see my FAVORITES)

So How Do I Load a Layer Style in Adobe Photoshop?

How to install Adobe Photoshop Layer Styles and just exactly how to use them. Click through to see a full instruction set as well as links to some of my favorite Layer Styles.

There a couple of ways to load Adobe Photoshop Layer Styles, but I’m going to give you a direct way right here:

  1. Download your layer style (don’t forget where you saved it on the computer)
  2. Open up your styles palette (Windows/Styles)
  3. See that little arrow doo-hickey up there on the top right of that styles palette? Click it.
  4. Scroll down to Load Styles and locate the file you downloaded.
  5. Voila! You have them all loaded!

How Do I Use the Layer Style?

Oh, this is the easy part! How do you use the Photoshop Layer Style? You simply select the layer you want to apply the style to, then click on the button of the Layer Style in the Styles Palette. It just does its part. The cool thing is that you can adjust these to your liking by simply double-clicking on the layer and viewing the properties of the style you applied. Don’t like the drop shadow it applied? Just adjust it.

How to install Adobe Photoshop Layer Styles and just exactly how to use them. Click through to see a full instruction set as well as links to some of my favorite Layer Styles.

(shown above – bird watercolor brush for Photoshop by Monday to Sunday Designs).

Can I Make My Own Photoshop Layer Styles?

Yes and it’s easy! Just do all the things to the object, like apply a drop shadow or a pattern overlay…just anything using the blending palette. Then, when you’re all done, just click the NEW button and it will be added to your library. Now, you can use it anytime. I do this frequently when I want my drop shadows to be consistent across products. It’s a huge time-saver.

How have you used Photoshop Layer Styles in your projects? Leave me a little note below to let me know – let’s gather great tips for others!

 

Holly McCaig

About Holly McCaig

Hey you! I'm Holly McCaig and I'm super excited to help you love and ROCK your Etsy shop. I will help you have an amazing online presence so you can build a strong business and attract more customers to your shop. Let's do this together! Let's connect on Pinterest or Instagram, k?

About Holly McCaig

Hey you! I'm Holly McCaig and I'm super excited to help you love and ROCK your Etsy shop. I will help you have an amazing online presence so you can build a strong business and attract more customers to your shop. Let's do this together! Let's connect on Pinterest or Instagram, k?

3 Comments

  1. MasArtStudio on November 17, 2015 at 9:03 am

    What are the system requirements and which versions of photoshop are compatible?

    • Holly McCaig on November 17, 2015 at 6:57 pm

      All versions of Photoshop work with Layer Styles. However, I’d review the product you are downloading or buying to see what they indicate in the description for compatibility. 🙂

  2. […] of watercolor effects for Photoshop on the market. You can even find plenty to download for free. I did a tutorial on layer style effects for Photoshop if you want to read up on how to do this. This art print shown in the example for this will feature […]

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