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Create brushes from Photoshop custom shapes Tutorial

how to create brushes from Photoshop custom shapes

How to create and convert Photoshop custom shapes into brushes tutorial. Custom shapes can be used as a powerful source for all kinds of brush strokes in Photoshop CC CS6 CS5 CS4 etc. You can apply the shape as a single custom shape and then define that as a new brush via the edit menu and define brush command. You can also use effects along with the custom shapes to create even more unique brush strokes. You can also create Photoshop brushes using multiple Photoshop custom shapes (and these can be applied in countless ways to create countless possible brush designs). The shapes can also be useful as pattern presets. This tutorial shows you how to create brushes from Photoshop custom shapes.

Custom shapes to purchase

$7.79 (also GBP, etc) for the set, CSH format, download


BUY 13,000 Custom shapes for Photoshop CC 2017 2015 2014 CS6 CS5 etc and Photoshop elements for an unlimited selection of designs for brushes CSH 13,000 Custom shapes for Photoshop and Elements

  1. Select CSH tool in the toolbar

  2. Set to layer or fill pixel option (top bar)

  3. Apply shape (or re-apply shape and create more shape decorative graphics)

  4. Use visual effects or change blending mode or change shape and re-apply as required

  5. Edit menu

  6. Define brush

  7. Saved to preset panel

  8. Select a stroke tool as required and paint

Brushes from shapes

Create a new document, select the CSH tool and set to pixel fill or layer and then apply the preset with the required size, color etc. Re-apply to build up an interesting stroke design. Use the edit menu define command to create a new brush from the generated artwork. Select one of the paint tools in the toolbar and then Paint.

Single use of shapes - you can use a single shape to create a quick instant brush for use in Photoshop etc

letter create

If you want a direct translation of the shape to a brush, the best option is to use the shape layer and apply a single shape in black (filling the entire document). Flatten the image and then use the define command found in the edit menu. You can, as the presets are vectors, apply them to any size of document (say 2500 x 2500 and then define that. Sadly there is no tool that can migrate a preset from one type to another.

  1. Select custom shape tool in Photoshop toolbar

  2. Select color (preferably black)

  3. apply shape across the entire document

  4. edit menu

  5. define brush

Using multiple shapes - create more complex brushes using multiple Photoshop brushes

multiple custom shapes into a single brush

You don't have to use a single shape.

  1. select the custom shapes tool

  2. select the color via the foreground color

  3. select the shape in the shapes panel

  4. apply a small shape

  5. change color

  6. apply another small custom shape

  7. repeat

  8. edit menu

  9. define brush

Using effects with the custom shapes to create all kinds of weird and wonderful Photoshop brushes


You can also apply a shape with layer effects or use visual effects such as blur and then define that as a stroke via the edit menu "define brush" command. You can also set up an action to repeat this action with any preset. It is a quick and easy way to create endless tools with the presets as a great source. The image combines multiple blurs along with the wonderful oil paint filter

  1. Select the custom shape tool in toolbar

  2. Set to pixel option

  3. Set color

  4. Select shape

  5. Apply the design once or multiple times

  6. Go to the filter menu

  7. Select the blur filters

  8. Apply filters once or multiple times

  9. Edit menu

  10. Define brush command

Additional approaches to the brushes and shapes via patterns - all can be used to create new brushes from Photoshop shapes

3D extrusion letter

You can use the presets as a source for patterns and then use the patterns as the source for the strokes instead of the vector. You can also use the shape in the 3D menu with the new extrusion from layer command.


You can see the same "C" letter shape artwork used as a 3D model and then used as a source for a new stroke and added in orange

  1. Select custom shape tool

  2. set color

  3. select the custom shape

  4. set the option to shape layer

  5. apply shape (as layer)

  6. 3D menu

  7. new extrusion from layer command

  8. render 3D

  9. flatten

  10. edit menu

  11. define brush

Other tutorials

1. how to use the Photoshop shapes with the creative cloud libraries

2. create 3D extrusions / models from Photoshop custom shapes tutorial

Sources and references

1. Brushes on

Freebies / free brushes

1. Free brush strokes for use in your projects for use in commercial and personal work