How to Make Gold Leaf Prints (That Win Contests)

by Maddie Stearn on July 23, 2015 3 comments

We were so in love with the gold leaf design that Hannah Hathaway submitted to our contest last month that we asked her for a tutorial. She delivered, and now you, too, can turn your home state into a beautiful gold leaf print.

Before you begin the tutorial you’ll want to download the necessary materials. We’ve put together a Lightbox of the elements from our library that Hannah used, as well as some additional textures and shapes that you can use to make other gold leaf prints. Don’t forget to download this map graphic, too. If you’re already a GraphicStock subscriber then you have access to these images for free as part of your unlimited downloads. If you’re not a subscriber, you can sign up for a 7-Day Free Trial, which gives you up to twenty free downloads per day.

Step One: Selecting Your State
Once you have your map file, you’ll need to select your state. If you’ve downloaded the .EPS version, you can use Adobe Illustrator to easily isolate a state and import it to Photoshop. If not, you can always open the .JPG or .PSD versions in Photoshop and use selection tools (e.g., the Magic Wand) to copy and paste a state onto a new canvas.


Step Two: Adding Glitter and Gold
Next, open one of your gold textures and paste it into the document as a new layer.


Select the entire texture layer by pressing Ctrl+A (Command+A on a Mac), then copy it to your clipboard by pressing Ctrl+C (Command+C).


Now select your state layer again and use the Magic Wand tool to select the state’s outline. To avoid rough edges, you can smooth the outline by choosing “Select” and “Feather” from the top menu, then setting your feather radius to one or more (the higher the number, the smoother the result).


With the interior of the state still highlighted, navigate to the top menu and select “Edit” > “Paste Special” > “Paste Into” to fill this shape with your gold texture. Once you hide the rest of the layers, you’re left with the texture in the shape of your state.



Step Three: Stacking Multiple Textures
For more dynamic results, you can repeat step two, using additional textures and lowering the opacities of each layer to blend as desired.



If you want a raised effect, you can also bevel the edges. Just duplicate your final layer, double click on the new layer, and select “Bevel & Emboss.” Finally, adjust the size and opacity depending on how prominent you want your shadowing.



There you have it! Now that you’ve created a gold leaf state, we recommend trying this tutorial with other graphics from our library. A gold leaf dinosaur might be just what your home décor needs!



Just click on the images below to see some more fun graphics and metallic textures that you can use with this tutorial.

metal-surface-12_My2Wl4tu metal-texture_XJ2k4Z
cal-201408-navy-27 silhouette-of-a-posing-woman_GywzTIqO

Get the full Lightbox here

Maddie StearnHow to Make Gold Leaf Prints (That Win Contests)


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  • Bridgett - July 29, 2015 reply

    Great, I am trying to figure out a Logo for my company. I love Michigan and this is something (including my state in this design) I think that would help my branding. I am excited about this forum.

  • Pat - August 2, 2015 reply

    I’m going to use this technique with text. With some modifications of course. Wow it will set me apart from others including using as an accent in a,design.

  • Vitalij Reznikov - August 15, 2015 reply

    It is simple but good Photoshop technic. It will used for web logos for metal industry.
    In past time I used similar effect for one of my logo design (
    Thanks for good lesson.

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