Create a Dotted Border in Photoshop Elements

A question from Tania:

 I have been driving myself nuts trying to figure out if it’s possible to do dot borders in Photoshop Elements. They don’t have to be this shape specifically but any of the tutorials I have been able to find online don’t seem to work out as they should.  Is it possible to even do this in Elements or do you need the CS version to be able to follow a path?

To achieve this look we need to use the brush tool - this method works in Photoshop Elements and Photoshop CS.

Rectangular Dotted Border

Use guides to help you line up your dots!

Remember to create a new layer for each side so you can change or move your border later.

Custom Dotted Border

In this example I draw the dotted line freehand to fit around a heart.

Draw a Dotted Border

To draw a dotted line:

  1. Create a new Layer (Ctrl+Shift+N or Cmd+Shift+N on a Mac)
  2. Select the Brush tool.
  3. Select a small hard round brush.
  4. On the options bar, change the size of the brush.
  5. On the options bar, click the paintbrush icon at the far right to open the Additional Brush Options dialogue box.
  6. In the Additional Brush Options dialogue box, select the following options:
  7. Set Fade, Hue Jitter, and Scatter to 0.
  8. Set Spacing to 200% (or play around to find your preferred setting). Spacing is a percentage of the brush diameter and determines the distance between brush marks. Increase this setting to increase the distance between dots.

To Draw a Straight Line

  1. Click where you want the dotted line to begin
  2. Hold down the Shift key
  3. Click where you want to line to end
  4. Release the Shift key

For more information about brushes, check out Digital Scrapbooking Secrets: Misting, stamping, inking and more messy fun!

In this workshop I use brushes for painting in Photoshop Elements, stamping and other techniques.


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  • Connie Hanks

    Thanks so much for the tips, Melissa!

    • Melissa Shanhun

      :) Happy to help Connie! :)

  • hannahk

    yay finally got around to trying this, and got it after a few attempts (I failed to read the whole post and so got stuck on how to make the dot instead of a solid line). easy peasy when you know how :)

    • Melissa Shanhun

      YAY! Happy you worked it out!

  • marke

    Hello Melissa, how would you create a *dashed* border so the rectangle looks like a coupon? thanks!