Creating Templates using PSP - Beginner
Revised: July 28, 2002: 10:00 MDT
This tutorial will teach you the basics for creating a template using Paint Shop Pro (PSP). Once you have learned the basic skills needed for template creation, you will quickly get up to speed on how to create more complex types of templates. For this tutorial, we need nothing more than our PSP program.
  1. Start PSP. If you already have PSP open, and have been using it, shut it down and restart. This ensures that you have optimum memory available for working ~ graphics creation can be a resource hog!

  2. File > Preferences > General Program Preferences > Rulers and Units

    This gives a red coloured grid in one inch increments ~ which helps when measuring for a template. Your Ruler and Grid will measure in inches, with marks at the inch. Precision is the key to a successful template...too small or too big, the project may be ruined. A little extra care at the beginning will pay off in a wonderful project ~ and lots of raves and admiration from your fellow computer crafters!

  3. Display the Tool Options and the Layer Palettes. Icons for these are located on the Toolbar.

  4. Create a new image with these settings:

    This will create a full page ( 11" by 8-1/2" ) sized image ~ you will want to make sure that your project is going to print on a single page. A template often needs a full page at least, and for larger ones it may require 2 or 3 pages. The resolution of 100 pixels may be considered low, but for a template that is quite large or detailed, you may run into problems by making it any higher. I have had good success in creating my templates at this resolution. We can always resize or resample if we need, after the fact.

  5. Page Setup: File > Page Setup. Pager Size should be Letter 8-1/2 by 11, and Orientation should be Landscape. This will ensure that when you print, it prints properly. When using this template for any project, this is what your settings should be. I know a few of the Computer_Crafts members that use PSP had great difficulties when printing some of the projects. I think that improper setup here is where the problem is. Note the other settings, they too are important.

  6. Set the Color Palette:

    • Styles: Stroke Color = Black; Fill Color = No Fill
    • Textures: Both Stroke and Fill settings to none

  7. Set the Zoom level - click the Zoom tool and then left click your image once.
  8. Lastly, let's put in a couple more settings that will help us with our project. View > Rulers to turn on Rulers, if you don't already use them, and one more, View > Grid to display the one inch grid markings.

Your environment is setup, and you are ready to begin creating!!
The Project: 2" square box, with lid

A square box will teach you 2 skills...the art of making something with precise measurements, and putting objects together to make another object. From this you will also learn how to dissect an object ~ so that makes 3 skills actually! For this, we will use vector images, but don't be alarmed, you will find they can be your friend! And we keep our project simple by making it small so that it all fits on a single page.

When working you may find that you need to see your project better....use your Zoom tool on the Tools Palette to zoom in and out of the project. Left mouse clicking zooms IN, and right mouse clicking zooms out.

If you mentally dissect the box, you will see that each part becomes an object: the lid, the bottom, the four sides, the flap for keeping it closed, and the tabs for keeping it together.

Create the left side of the box

  1. Click the Preset Shapes tool from the Tools Palette.

  2. Click the Tools Options - Preset Shapes palette, choose the Rectangle and set your options:

  3. Position the cursor where the Rulers marks 2 inches across the top and 3 inches down. At the bottom left of your window, the Status Bar will indicate 200,300

    Also, when your cursor is precisly positioned on a marked spot on the Ruler, the marking will turn white. The trick is patience when working with your mouse. And I have found that sometimes zooming in one or two levels makes it easier to hit the mark! Also know that these settings are only precise when you have the object selected exactly in its middle...this is the default when you paste the object, it is selected in the middle. If you unselect and then have to reselect the object with the Object Selector, you need to find the mid point of the object...that midpoint will be the settings I have described for each one. Hope this makes sense!

  4. Press and hold the SHIFT key, and checking you're still positioned correctly as described above, drag your mouse to the right and down, until the Status Bar reads (200, 300) -> (400, 500) = 200 x 200 [1.000]. You should also notice that the red grid lines turn green when the lines of the square match up.

    And, when done this is what it looks like:

  5. Make a copy of the square: Edit > Copy

NOTE: So just what does the Status bar stuff mean? The first set of values (200, 300) is where you are starting from, the x and y coordinates, measured in pixels - I am hoping that PSP will in a future release, use the values that the Ruler least let you choose what will display (inches or pixels). Because our template was created at 100 dpi, and its 11 inches wide by 8 1/2 inches high, thats 100 pixels per inch. So 1 inch is 100 pixels, and 2 inches is 200 pixels, and so on. The second value (400, 500) is where you are going to in pixels (x, y values), or 4 inches on the Ruler by 5 inches on the Ruler. The = values of 200 x 200 is our measurement of our object in pixels again, and because we have a resolution of 100 dpi, it is 2 inches by 2 inches! Voila! The last value [1.000] gives a value of the relationship of the width to the height (x = width, y = height) this case they are equal so it is a 1:1 relationship. If we drew an object that was 50 x 100, the relationship is .500. Try drawing something else and watching that value....don't forget to delete it before continuing!

Congratulations, you have the left side of the box completed! Save your work! Best to get into a good habit and make yourself a folder called MyTemplates or something equally appropriate. Name your new file what you like, I like to use names that are meaningful, like 2_inch_box_template. Save your file in PSP format.

Create the back of the box
  1. In the last step, you made a copy of the square. You can now paste an exact duplicate of it next to the first square or right side of our box: Edit> Paste > As New Vector Selection. This produces a copy of the square, and it will appear that it is attached to your cursor - everywhere you move, it moves too. It will until you click the mouse to position it...but not yet!
  2. To position the second part of our box, the back, you will want to watch the Status bar, and the grid lines. Position the square so that it butts up against the right hand side of the first square. You will know that it is precisely positioned when the Status Bar says (500, 400), all four sides of the square are green, and the 5 inch marker on the top Ruler and the 4 inch marker on the left Ruler appear white ~ don't be alarmed if the inches seem odd, PSP is measuring from the midpoint of the square, where the mover tool is .

    Here is a screen shot:

  3. When all lined up as described above, click to position. Edit > Copy to copy the square again - trust me there is method in my madness here. If you try to Edit > Paste again, while this object is still selected, you can't, all options are greyed out. You would have to unselect the object and then its just a little challenging to see it with the grid marks in place!!! And we need them for precision placement
  4. Save your work!
Now you have 2 sides of your box completed! Let's continue with the right side and the front side.
  1. Edit > Paste > As New Vector Selection to paste another copy of the square. Position this one so that it butts up to the right side of the back. Your coordinates are:
    • Status bar: (700, 400)
    • Top Ruler: 7 inch mark is white
    • Left Ruler: 4 inch mark is white
  2. When all lined up as described above, click to position. Edit > Copy to copy the square again.
  3. Save your work!
  4. Now the front side: Edit > Paste > As New Vector Selection to paste the 4th square. Position it so that it butts up against the right side of the right side of the box...I know sound awkward! Your coordinates are:
    • Status bar: (900, 400)
    • Top Ruler: 9 inch mark is white
    • Left Ruler: 4 inch mark is white

  5. Click to position, Edit > Copy
  6. Save your work!
  7. Now we have all four sides of the box. The lid and bottom are the same square, so let's continue - we will add the lid (top).

  8. Edit > Paste > As New Vector Selection
  9. This object is going to be positioned above the second square which is our back. You will not be able to see it, but using the grid lines and the ruler markers as we have in the above steps will help you get it exactly where we want it. Here are your coordinates:
    • Status bar: (500, 200)
    • Top Ruler: 5 inch mark is white
    • Left Ruler: 2 inch mark is white

  10. Click to position, Edit > Copy
  11. Save your work!
  12. Now the bottom of the box - it will be positioned below the back section...just as the lid (top) is positioned above the back position. Use the grid lines and ruler markers as your guide to position.

  13. Here are your coordinates for the bottom:
    • Status bar: (500, 600)
    • Top Ruler: 5 inch mark is white
    • Left Ruler: 6 inch mark is white

  14. Click to position, Edit > Copy
  15. Save your work!
If, at any point, you lose your selection, you can go back to where you were by clicking the Layer Palette, click the + symbol on the vector layer

all your objects are listed with the last one created on the top of the list. Click that object, then click the Object Selector on the Tool Palette.
With the object selected, Edit > Copy to continue.
Alright, great job! You have the four sides of the square box, and it has a top and a bottom. Now we need to make the flap for the top, and tabs for glueing our box together. We will create the glue tabs first. In the last step, you created another copy of the square, it is ready for us to use to make simple tabs.
Create a new image to use as workspace:

  1. File > New... with these settings:
  2. Edit > Paste > As New Vector Selection
  3. Position at 200, 200 (Status Bar) or 2 inches and 2 inches on the top and side rulers.
  4. Click and drag the right hand side handle to the left, so that your square becomes a rectangle half of the original width. You'll know you're there when the grid line at one inch on the top ruler turns white.
This next step will teach you how to break the object apart.
  1. Right mouse click the object.
  2. Click Node Edit
  3. Point at the bottom left hand node...represented by an open handle, it will also display START. Right click and choose Edit > Break - notice how you can see two nodes, one is on top, and the selected node is black, the unselected node is an open box shape.
  4. Point at the top left hand node...Mover symbol appears, right mouse click and Edit > Break. Right mouse click again on this node, Edit > Delete. The left hand line of the rectangle is deleted.
  5. Right mouse click object, Quite Node Editing
  6. Position the mouse over the right hand bottom handle - watch your Status bar, and when it says (200, 300), press the CTRL key, click and drag the handle up til the Status bar says (200, 280). You have moved the y value 20 pixels.
  7. Edit > Copy to copy this object.
  8. Switch into your saved template file.
Attach the first glue tab

Now we are ready to attach our first glue tab. We will be attaching to the right hand side of the front of the box. This is the fourth square that we is on the far right hand side.

  1. With your template file active, zoom in one more level - select the zoom tool, left click once on the page. Your squares should be visible. You can select the front portion of the box by activating the Layer Palette and clicking the 3rd Rectangle from the top, or 4th from the bottom (same difference). Now click the Object Selector tool, and your square is selected.
  2. Edit > Paste > As New Vector Selection
  3. Now carefull position the tab on the very right hand side of the square...your coordinates will be:
    • Status bar: (1050, 400)
    • Top Ruler: 10-1/2" mark is white
    • Left Ruler: 4" mark is white

  4. Now lets check to see how accurate the placement the zoom tool, and click once to zoom again. Turn off the grid marks...View > Grid. Examine your work...see how well the tab fits to the side of the box front.

    If the lines meet and no gaps appear or adjustments need to be made, go to the next step.

    If an adjustment needs to be made, then click the Object Selector tool from the Tool Palette, click on one of the lines of the tab, then gently use the Mover tool to nudge it into place.

  5. Save your work! Edit > Copy
Now lets use this tab to make the tabs we need to glue the bottom to the left side and the right side of the box. First, set your Zoom back a level or two if need to easily see most of your template. You can leave the Grid lines off if you like.

  1. Edit > Paste > As New Vector Selection
  2. Position this object on right hand side of the bottom of the box. The coordinates are:
    • Status bar: (650, 600)
    • Top Ruler: 6-1/2" mark is white
    • Left Ruler: 6" mark is white

  3. Check your accuracy, the same as the first tab - zoom in to see, make any adjustments.
  4. Make this tab more narrow by clicking dragging the right hand side handle to the left so that the Status bar value is (650, xxx) and xxx is a value that is not critical. This makes the tab 1/2 the width of the first tab.
  5. Save your work! Edit > Copy to make a copy of this tab.
  6. Edit > Paste > As a New Layer to paste on a new layer so we can mirror it.
  7. With the new tab still selected, Image, Mirror, the image will flip so that the open end now points correctly towards the Bottom of the box.
  8. Click and drag the new tab to the left hand side of the bottom of the box - position it - let's see if you can do it without coordinates!! Zoom and use your eye...when the tip of the tab's lines touch the lines of the bottom, they will turn white...this tells you they have joined. To nudge using the keyboard, hold the SHIFT key while using the arrow keys...great for getting things just where you need them, and pesky mouse is uncooperative.
  9. Save your work!
  10. Keep the left Bottom tab selected, Edit > Copy.
  11. Edit > Paste > As New Layer - looks like nothing has happened but it has.
  12. Image > Rotate... and use these settings. Note the layer setting!!!
  13. This will make our bottom tab. Move it into position, and nudge it so that it butts up against the bottom of the box Bottom.
  14. Save your work!
Almost done! The last part is the flap for the top (lid) so that the box is closeable and reuseable.
Make the Flap

The easiest way to make the flap, is to use another vector object. Some people who have mastered the Bezier curve will use that tool. I for one, no matter how long I have been playing with drawing programs (10 years or so), have never enjoyed the Bezier curve. So my way of creating a nice rounded flap is to use the ellipse tool, and then we do the break apart thing.

  • Make the main vector layer the active one - you have added 2 new layers to your project, so the main vector layer is going to be the one with all the rectangle objects we first created. Layer Palette - click on the first vector layer, it is the one at the bottom of the list, should be Layer 2.
    1. Create a new vector object, Preset Shapes.
    2. Choose the Ellipse tool from the Tool Options palette. Settings for the Ellipse should be the same as as they were for the Rectangle ~ see the Top
    3. Position the mouse at 399, 100 - this sets it so that the ellipse touchs the left hand side of the Top. Click and drag to draw an ellipse approximately 200 by 80 pixels...look for the value "= 200 x 80" in the Status line info at the left hand side of the Status bar.
    4. Choose the Object Selector, and right mouse click the ellipse: Node Edit

      You can see that there are 4 nodes...we want to break apart at the left and right nodes and then delete the bottom section of the ellipse.

    5. Right click bottom node Edit > Break, click and drag the black node down...easier to see.
    6. Right click the right node Edit > Break, click the node again, Edit > Delete, the bottom right of the ellipse is deleted
    7. Right click the bottom node, Edit > Delete, the bottom left of the ellipse is deleted.
    8. Right mouse click, choose Quite Node Editing.
    Voila - you have a nice rounded, perfect tab, it would have taken me a month of Sundays to get this with the Bezier curve...honest! Finish up by positioning the flap into place, zoom if you have to see, and resizing it if you need to. Save your work!

    For extra durability, you can create (copy, paste, resize and position) similar tabs for the top of the Left and Right sides of the box. This will make the box more sturdy when closed.

    For best results print on a heavier paper stock. Score on all fold lines before assembling. You can laminate it, but use the lightest weight laminate that you have, otherwise you may find that the flap on the lid tends to pop out.

    If you have any questions, please email me. I also have a quick tutorial on how I fill using a template - you'll find it here: Filling Templates in PSP.

    Tutorial Copyright © Liz Ackerman 2002