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Button Design and Page Layout Tutorial
For Adobe Photoshop CS.

This tutorial is for designing buttons and layout pages for print on a computer using Adobe Photoshop CS. If you just want to learn how the machines work, you want to go to How To Make a Button guide instead.

If you don't have Photoshop, you will need some sort of graphics program if you want to make your own buttons. There are pre-made button specific programs out there, but we don't carry them because they are pretty well useless for most purposes.

This tutorial also requires a basic understanding of Adobe Photoshop and its tools including:
Layers, Actions, Paths, Text, Move tool, and Other design oriented tools such as the Paint Brush, etc.

You should have a basic understanding of Resolution or DPI and how that relates to image size on screen vs. printing.

These files also rely heavily on the "text on a path" feature only available in version CS or later. If you are using an earlier version of Photoshop you can still use them, but there may be some conflicts. If you are serious about Button Making and are an avid user of Photoshop its highly recommended that you upgrade to the newest version, as some really great advances have been made with the type feature.

First choose your size to download the appropriate files:
1 inch
1.25 inch
1.5 inch
1.75 inch
2 inch
2.25 inch

2.5 inch
3 inch
3.5 inch

Each of the above links contains a zip file (requires winzip which most newer windows computers should already have). Download the zip file and save it to your hard drive. Then unzip it to create a folder that contains 3 files named Xin_design_template.psd, Xin_page_layout.psd, and Xin_button_layout.atn respectively. (the X is replaced with your specific size)

Xin_design_template.psd is used to help you create your master button graphic
Xin_page_layout.psd is used to help make the page layout
Xin_button_layout.atn is a Photoshop action that automates the page layout

First open Xin_design_template.psd. In this example, we'll use the 1in version.

This file contains several layers including a background, guidelines, and text layers in Arial font. Some of the text layers use the text on path feature only available in Photoshop CS and later. If you are using Photoshop 7 or earlier you will probably have to just throw away the "hidden" and "perimeter text" layers.

If you are using Photoshop CS and get a warning when you first open the file asking you to update the text layers, you should be able to click Update. The font used is just Arial.


Now you can begin to design your button using this canvas as your guide. You can turn the layers on an off as you need them, using the little eye ball icon next to each layer

I used a circle shaped brush, from the assorted brushes menu, to make the stripes on a new layer. Then I used a star shaped brush to make the stars on a new layer. Then I dropped in the ButtonMakers.net logo on top of that.

Next I used the text tool and changed the "perimeter text" layer to say www.buttonmakers.net instead. I also changed the text to white and spaced out the kerning to increase legibility.


When you are finished, its a good idea to save the original layered file in PSD format in case you need to make changes later.

When you are totally done designing the button and have saved your original, you are ready to layout the page for printing.

First flatten your graphic. (click Layer - Flatten Image)


Next well need to load the Xin_button_layout.atn Photoshop Action.

To do this open the Actions palette (Window - Actions)


To load the action, in the Actions palette, drop out the menu with the button at the top right of the palette and select Load Actions.

Locate the Xin_button_layout.atn file that you saved to your hard drive and select Load. You will now have a new Actions folder with the Action called 1 inch page layout inside.


Next open the Xin_page.psd file. img

... Using the Move tool drag your flattened button graphic into the Xin_page.psd file and place it over the area that says "place your graphic here"


Make sure that the graphic layer that you dragged in is selected, and play the Action by clicking the triangle shaped play button at the bottom of the Actions palette.

The Action will copy your button into columns then copy the columns to fill the page.

When you close your flattened button graphic, do not save it. Remember you want to save the original with all the layers. If you want to save the flattened version too, make sure to give it a new name.


You are now ready to print. This page takes up most of the 8.5x11 sheet. If your printer allows you to minimize margins, it would be a good idea to set it up that way before printing.This page is set up to be the exact size you need. Do not change the size or use the "fit to page" option in your print dialog. Photoshop will warn you that it will cut off parts of the page. Just click OK.

Depending on your printers margins, it might cut off some parts of the designs. This may or may not be acceptable to you. We just tried to cram as many buttons on an 8.5x11 page as possible. You're welcome to tweak the Action or page layout to fit your specific needs.

After printing your page. You can cut it into strips to use in the Graphic Punch or use the Adjustable Rotary Cutter on the full page to create the circles. Then you can press the button in a Button Maker. Click here for step by step instructions for pressing the buttons.


That's it, You're Done! You now have a finished button that you designed and printed on your own computer! Yay!!!


If you have questions or comments about this page please send them to info@buttonmakers.net

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