Linda’s Tip

Week of August 27, 2007

Old Fashioned Deckle Edge
by Linda Sattgast

One of the distinguishing marks of heritage photos is the deckle edge that so many of them have. I'll show you a fast way to get the same look on a modern photo by using a filter in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

Here, for example, is a photo of my husband Charlie when he was quite young. When I scanned the photo into the computer I placed a black piece of paper on top of the photo to provide a contrast to the deckle edge so I could select it out of the background more easily.

Deckle Edge

To give the same deckle edge to a more modern photo you might want to first change it to sepia tone. (I show how to do that on my CD, The Scrapper's Guide to Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0.)

Deckle Edge

To add a white mat on a separate layer behind the photo:

  • Select the Rectangle Tool (one of the Shapes).
  • Click on the layer in the Layers palette that's just below the photo.
  • Press the letter "D" and then the letter "X" to make the Foreground color white.
  • Click on your document and drag an outline around your photo the size you want the mat to be.
  • When you let go of the mouse, the outline will fill with white.
  • Right click (Mac: Ctrl click) on the mat layer in the Layers palette and choose
  • "Simplify Layer" from the menu. (Photoshop: choose Rasterize Layer.)

To give the mat a deckle edge:

  • Get the Rectangular Marquee tool and click and drag an outline slightly bigger than the white mat.
  • Choose Filter > Distort > Wave.

Use these settings as a starting point:

Deckle Edge

Here's the result of using the Wave filter. The key to getting a good deckle is to make the Maximum settings slightly bigger than the Minimum settings, and the Vertical slightly larger than the Horizontal. Notice, also, that I used "Triangle" for the Type in this case.

Deckle Edge


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