Creating a Heart Halo

It’s Tutorial Tuesday! If you’re anything like me, you like to recreate techniques you see on other layouts. I’m a sucker for paper layouts and saw a lot of them lately that included heart halos in some fashion. If it’s either cutouts or paper pieces, I love them all.


Creating a Heart Halo


My first layout with heart halos came out pretty, at least in my world.

Creating a Heart Halo

The image is linked to the gallery for the credits.

I hope now you know what I mean by heart halo. It’s a circle of hearts. With their bottom pointing to the center of the circle. I’m going to scraplift myself to show you how I did it.

  • Prep your canvas first, in my case it’s 3600×3600 px and get a solid paper in or leave your solid background.
  • The first thing you want to do is creating a virtual middle of your heart halo. I did this with two guides, one vertical, one horizontal. Click on View → New Guide and type in half of the width of your canvas (6 inch or 1800 px for me). Do that again and check the other orientation the second time.

Next you draw a shape.

  • Click and hold the Shape tool, choose the Custom Shape tool. Click on a fill color that is different enough from your background, no stroke.
  • In the Shape window, click on the little cog and on Shapes. Now load the „Shape“ collection. When you are asked to save before, you of course can. If you only used PS shapes this far, there is not much to save.
  • In the „Shape“ collection you will find the heart. Click on it to make it active.


Creating a Heart Halo


  • Now click and drag on your canvas and when you feel you got the shape like you want it, release the click and go back to your move tool (shortcut v).
  • Align the vertical center of your heart with the vertical guide a little above the crossing of the guides. Do this manually with your move tool active. There is no need to make it 100% exact. It should look something like this:


Creating a Heart Halo


The Math

Before you proceed, make a decision on how many hearts you want in your halo circle. In my first example both inner and outer circle have 12 hearts. This is the easiest to recreate, because you don’t have to do any math. I will show you later why.

I show you now how to do the math anyway, because in the upcoming layout, I will use 5 hearts in the inner circle. I will try to make it as easy as I can, even for the math challenged. One round of a circle has 360 degrees. If you want to evenly distribute your hearts around your circle (what I’m doing here), you have to divide the 360 degrees by the amount of hearts you want to have in your circle. In my example with 5 hearts in one circle: 360 degrees : 5 hearts =72 degrees. Math can be so beautiful when you combine it with hearts! So every heart will be 72 degrees apart from the next heart when you are having 5 hearts in your circle.

  • With that in mind, we continue with our aligned heart. Copy it (ctrl/cmd+j)
  • Click on one corner to make the Transform tool active
  • You see that little crosshair in the middle of the heart. Pull that one to the point where the two guides meet. It’s good to be as close as you can but don’t worry about placing it 100% correctly.
  • In the details for the tool you see that little degrees sign. Type 72 into it. Press Enter two times.

Before you pressed Enter two times it should look like this:


Creating a Heart Halo


You’ve now got two hearts and they are 72 degrees apart. Isn’t that romantic? Well, but you want more hearts. You can now proceed slowly by copying the second heart, align the crosshair and type in 72 into the degrees, or you can do it faster by doing more math.

  • Copy the first two hearts, have both copies active
  • Align the crosshair of the two of them with the guide crossing
  • Type 144 into the degrees (72 x 2=144)
  • Press Enter two times


Creating a Heart Halo


  • Now make the 5th and  completing heart.

In my upcoming layout I created two more halos concentring (is that a word?) my first halo. The middle circle has 10 hearts which are 36 degrees apart from each other (360 : 10), the outer circle has 20 hearts, 18 degrees (360 : 20) apart. You can see in this picture, that I didn’t work very exact. The lowest heart is not 100% aligned with the guide. It doesn’t matter though as you can see in the following layout.


Creating a Heart Halo


You can leave all hearts single as they are (*sob*) or you can group them or merge them to your liking. I merged every circle into a single layer for my layout and used the hearts to make cutouts. I also randomly erased a heart (*cry*). So that’s what I came up with:


Creating a Heart Halo

The image is linked to the gallery for the credits.

And I tried something else: I made several small heart circles and blended most of them into the background for an art jounaling layout.


Creating a Heart Halo

The image is linked to the gallery for the credits.

My second and third layout above have a multiple of 5 hearts (1 x 5, 2 x 5, 4 x 5). If you want to use a multiple of 2 hearts in a circle (like 2 x 2 = 4 hearts or 6 x 2 = 12 hearts like me in my first layout), you don’t have to type in the degrees and don’t have to do any math. PS has a standard feature that makes it easy for you. When you copied your first heart and aligned the crosshair, hold shift and click/drag one transformation corner to turn the heart around. The heart will move in 15 degrees increments around your circle until you let go of the corner. This way you can create up to 24 hearts in your halo (360:15), depending on which increments you use.

Of course you can use any shape you want for making halos. This is not limited to hearts.
If you have any question, feel free to ask in the comments. Also if you see a technique that you want me to explain, I will do what I can to recreate it for you and prepare a tutorial for you! Let me know what you like to see in the comments, too! Have fun creating!


AlinaAbout the Author: Alina enjoys sitting in front of her large computer screens too much. Apart from that she loves walking her dog and watching sunsets while being amazed of life in general. She is married to her best friend. Tries to manage the needs of her two cats and her dog and badly fails when they all want their cuddle time at once. Everything else is scrapping, taking photos and currently crafting. Having said that, she needs a bigger craft room.



Pursue Custom Shapes


I love to use brushes/stamps on my photos, just to give them that little bit of extra. I love it when these are included in kits, but even when they’re not, it’s super easy to create your own using fun fonts and the custom shapes tool.

Take a look at the two pages below. They are the same page, but the first one doesn’t have the little extras I created using shapes and fonts. On the second page, I added a little, chevron arrow pattern (repeated a few times) and some custom text.

Cards from Project Weekly and The Simple Life by Amanda Yi Designs

Cards from Project Weekly and The Simple Life by Amanda Yi Designs

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use custom shapes to make your own stamps to use on your own photos.

  1. Create a blank document. I usually use a 4×6 or 3×4 document, since those are typically the size of the “pockets” I use for my scrapbooking.
  2. Over on the tool bar, click on the corner of the shapes tool to bring out the flyout menu, and click on the one that says “custom shapes tool.”


  1. The shape options will show up on your top toolbar. If all the shapes aren’t showing up, you can click on the little tool icon to bring up this menu. I like all of my shapes to be showing, so I select “ALL”.


  1. For the page above, I chose to use this cute, little chevron-shaped arrow. Click and drag on your page to draw the shape. If you hold down shift at the same time, it will keep the same proportions (which matters for some shapes and doesn’t for others).


  1. For this one, I duplicated the arrow so I had five copies of it. Here’s one of my favorite tricks. Select all 5 arrows, and make sure your move tool is selected. Then, push the icon at the top that says “distribute horizontal centers” when you hover over it. It makes your arrows evenly spaced!



  1. At this point, I like to merge the shapes together. To do this, select all the arrows, right-click, and select “Merge Layers”. I also like to rasterize the shape (right-click and select “Rasterize Layer”). Now, you can drag the arrows over to your layout and use them however you want.


  1. For the top right pocket on this page, I rotated the arrows, made them smaller, and changed them to a blue color that matched my layout. I felt like I needed something next to the picture on the card, so I put the arrows there. I duplicated the arrows for the moccasin pic, but I decided that five arrows was too many, so I used the lasso tool to select two of the arrows, and deleted them. I also changed them to white for that pic and lowered the opacity to about 75%.


  1. The final step I took for this page was to add text to the bottom left pic. I had converted that photo to black and white, and I felt like it needed a little more. I just added some text boxes directly on top of the picture. Sometimes I will lower the opacity, or change the blending mode, but for this one I just changed the text to the same color as the top arrows. I liked it, so I left it that way.

Here is the final layout:

Cards from Project Weekly and The Simply Life by Amanda Yi Designs

Cards from Project Weekly and The Simple Life by Amanda Yi Design

There are so many fun shapes to play around with, so the next time you think your photo or page needs a little something extra, check them out! Here are a few more of my favorites:


JaimeAbout the Author: Jaime is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She is a stay-at-home mom to 4 boys and 1 girl. When she’s not chauffeuring, volunteering at school, or helping with play costumes, she likes to digitally record her family’s memories, improve her photography skills, and read (there’s always a stack of books on her nightstand).