Cedar Potting Bench

potting bench

Created February 24, 2003 Copyright SuzShook
Made "Version-Independent" March 2009
Property of SuzShook

This tutorial is my own creation;
however, most of the techniques used in this tutorial, I have learned from others!
Therefore, if you recognize any contribution you have made, I thank you!
And I thank you as well for respecting this as my work by not posting it,
in whole or in part,
in any other location without written permission from me!

Individuals and PSP graphics groups are invited to share my tutorials with others with TEXT LINKS ONLY.
You can e-mail me to let me know you are adding one or more of my tutorials to your list if you like -
it's always fun to know who is doing them!

It's time for spring planting, so here's your launching pad for creativity! This potting bench has a white cedar top, with lots of room for potting up herb cuttings or bulbs for forcing, or for wrapping holiday packages! It even has three large drawers for lodging smaller items! The two upper shelves hold and display small pots; the lower shelf fits larger items, including potting mix or wrapping paper!



I make my tutorials as brief as possible, without the customary paths, details, and how-to's. For those veterans among you, this will be welcome! But for those less familiar with PSP, I included a "Glossary" that contains all the details omitted in the tutorial. If you need a little extra help, check the Glossary section. Just click on the button below - the Glossary will open in a new window.

PSP glossary button


This tutorial assumes you have a working knowledge of Paint Shop Pro at the intermediate level (or advanced beginner level with the Glossary). It was originally written in and for PSP Version 7, and now made "version-independent". Screen shots for this tutorial can come from any version of PSP - where there are significant differences from version to version, a green "Version Note" will be included, along with multiple screen shots if necessary.

Where a note/tip refers to a version of PSP and all higher versions, a + sign will be used to indicate this. For example, if a note/tip applies to PSP X and higher versions, I will use the convention "PSP X+".

If you try this tutorial, and find something is inaccurate for your version of PSP, please EMAIL ME to let me know so I can fix it!

Screen shots in this tutorial are resized - your work will be larger than this!



Supplies - For this tutorial, you will need the following:
  • Paint Shop Pro - any version. The latest version of PSP can be found at the Corel site HERE.

  • Two wood patterns, a light one and a darker one - you can get those I used for my opening image HERE. ~ ~ Unzip into the folder where you keep your current PSP work.

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OK, we're ready to begin! Grab your mouse and let's get started!

Remember to save often!

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STEP 1

Open a new transparent image, 350 x 400 pixels. Use the Flood Fill tool flood fill tool (F) to fill with white.

Note: I use a white background to help me see what I'm doing - you may opt for another color, or leave this layer transparent.

Add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "top front edge". Choose the Preset Shapes tool preset shapes tool (P), select the Rectangle shape from the drop-list, and use the following settings:

Retain style (UNchecked)
Create as vector (CHECKED)
Anti-alias (CHECKED)
Line style (#1 Solid)
Line width (1)

Open the two wood patterns provided with this tutorial. Set the Foreground Material to Transparent (null), the Background Material to Pattern, and find the light wood (ss-wood01.psp) in the drop down list, Scale = 100, Angle = 0° (grain across). If you use a wood pattern with an up and down pattern, set the Angle to 90°.

Draw a long, thin rectangle, 330 pixels wide by 6 pixels in height. Center on your canvas by choosing Objects...Align...Center In Canvas.

Note: Throughout this tutorial, I will repeatedly refer to aligning, left-aligning, or aligning either horizontally or vertically. Whenever you are instructed to align (or to center), choose Objects...Align, and the appropriate command from the Align submenu (Left, Horiz. Center in Canvas, or Vert. Center in Canvas). The alignment commands of the object menu are available only for vector objects, so be sure you align before converting a layer to raster!

Save your work!


STEP 2

Add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "top". With the Preset Shapes tool, draw a board for the top, 330 pixels wide and about 10 pixels in height. Using the Pick tool pick tool (K), select the top front edge board (from STEP 1), and then the top board that you just created, holding down the SHIFT key as you select the images.

Version Note: The Pick tool was new in PSP X - in prior versions, use the Object Selection tool object selection tool (O). Note that the Object Selection tool is still available in higher levels of PSP - it's not on the default Tool toolbar, but it still exists, can be accessed by its former Shortcut key, O, and can even be moved back to the Tools toolbar if desired using PSP's Customize facility.
Note: There is a reason for selecting the top front edge before the top board! We are about to align these two objects. PSP always aligns objects with the "target" object, which is always the first object selected. Because the top front edge has already been aligned in the center of the canvas, we choose it to be the "target" object by selecting it first! The top board will then be left-aligned with the top front edge!

Now choose Objects...Align...Left. Click outside the selection to deselect.

Select the top board only - move it so that it barely touches the top front edge, like this (I've used a black background for illustration purposes - your image will not have this background):

top board and top front edge

Duplicate the "top" layer three times, moving each of these boards into place one above the other, again, so they are evenly spaced and barely touching, like this:

4 top boards and top front edge

Activate the "top" layer. Starting with this board, select all four top boards, holding down the SHIFT key as you click on each board with the Pick tool. If your boards are not exactly aligned, align now (Objects...Align...Left). Once the boards are perfectly spaced and aligned, while all four boards are still selected, press the CTRL key and move the top left corner handle of the bounding box towards the center about 15 pixels. Notice I have Guides set to facilitate this move!

top board angled

To get a proper perspective on the top, while all four boards are still selected, push down on the top center handle until the top is only about 20 pixels in height:

top in perspective

Save your work.


STEP 3

Convert each of the five layers you now have to raster. Add some slight shading to EACH board in the top, including the top front edge. To do this, for EACH layer, select all, float the selection, invert the selection, and apply a Drop Shadow effect with the following settings:

Vertical offset (0)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (100)
Blur (2)
Shadow color (Black)
Note: Throughout this tutorial we will shade wood pieces by using Drop Shadows on inverted selections. Unless otherwise noted, whenever the directions say to shade or apply shading, you are to:
  • Select all;
  • Float the selection;
  • Invert the selection; and
  • Apply a Drop Shadow effect with the designated values.

Be sure to do this for EACH of the five layers. Then deselect, and merge these five layers, renaming the merged layer "bench top".

Save your work!


STEP 4

Change the Background pattern to the darker (blue) wood pattern - if you are using the patterns provided with the tutorial, this would be ss-wood06.psp. This wood pattern has a definite up and down grain - I set the Scale to 50 and the Angle to 0°.

Activate the bottom layer ("Raster 1") and add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "right back support". Using the Preset Shapes tool with the same settings as before, draw a narrow rectangle about 15 pixels wide and 330 pixels in height. Position this support so it's about 23 pixels in from the right back edge of the top, like this:

right back support

Add a small 15-pixel wide rectangle to the top of the back support, like this:

rectangle added to back support

The small rectangle should be exactly the same width, and aligned exactly with the back support. With the small rectangle selected, press the CTRL key and move the top left corner handle towards the center. Then release the CTRL key, and push down on the center top handle, until your image looks similar to this:

top of back support

With the top small rectangle still selected, press the SHIFT key and select the back support. We want to center these two objects vertically on the canvas, but first we need to group them. Choose Objects...Group, and then center vertically. Convert this layer to raster, and apply shading using the following Drop Shadow settings:

Vertical offset (0)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (80)
Blur (12)
Shadow color (Black)

While still selected, apply a second Drop Shadow with these settings:

Vertical offset (0)
Horizontal offset (2)
Opacity (100)
Blur (4)
Shadow color (Black)

Deselect. Duplicate this layer and mirror the duplicate layer. Merge these two layers, renaming the merged layer "back supports".

Save your work!


STEP 5

Add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "right front leg". With the Preset Shapes tool, draw a narrow rectangle about 15 pixels wide and 180 pixels in height. Move this leg so it's just below the bench top, and about 18 pixels in from the right front edge of the top. Rotate this object to the LEFT 1°. Your image should resemble this:

right front leg

When you are satisfied with the position of the right front leg, convert the layer to raster. Sharpen as needed and apply shading using these Drop Shadow settings:

Vertical offset (0)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (80)
Blur (12)
Shadow color (Black)

While still selected, apply a second Drop Shadow with these settings:

Vertical offset (0)
Horizontal offset (2)
Opacity (100)
Blur (4)
Shadow color (Black)

Deselect. Duplicate this layer and mirror the duplicate layer. Merge these two layers, renaming the merged layer "front legs".

Save your work!


STEP 6

Add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "front". Change the angle of the background pattern to 90° (crosswise grain). With the Preset Shapes tool, draw a rectangle about 315 pixels wide and 30 pixels in height. Move this rectangle just below the top front edge, and center horizontally. Convert to raster and apply shading using these Drop Shadow settings:

Vertical offset (0)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (80)
Blur (12)
Shadow color (Black)

Activate the "bench top" layer. Select all, float, and then defloat. Activate the "front" layer. Add a new raster layer naming it "top edge shadow". Apply a Drop Shadow with the following settings:

Vertical offset (4)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (61)
Blur (8)
Shadow color (Black)

Deselect. To clean up any extraneous shadow, activate the "front" layer, select all, float, and invert the selection. Now return to the "top edge shadow" layer and press the DELETE key.

Deselect. Merge the "bench top", "front", and "top edge shadow" layers, renaming the merged layer "bench top".

Save your work!


STEP 7

Change the Angle on the background pattern to 135° (45° if you are using a pattern with a crosswise grain). Activate the "front legs" layer and add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "right brace". Choose the Preset Shapes tool again, and holding the SHIFT key down, draw a square about 40 pixels on each side. Move into place between the front and the right front leg, slightly overlapping the inside edge of the right front leg, like this:

right leg brace

Convert to raster. Activate the Eraser tool eraser tool with these settings:

Shape (Square)
Size (100)
Hardness (100)
Step (25)
Density (100)
Thickness (50)
Rotation (135)
Opacity (100)

Positioning your eraser just a bit above (or to the right of) the diagonal of the square, erase half of the brace, like so:

eraser tool at work    excess brace erased

Apply shading using these Drop Shadow settings:

Vertical offset (0)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (80)
Blur (12)
Shadow color (Black)

Deselect. Duplicate this layer and mirror the duplicate layer. Now merge all layers EXCEPT the "back supports" layer and the white background layer. Rename the merged layer "front".

Save your work!


STEP 8

Change the Angle on the background pattern back to 90°. Activate the "back supports" layer and add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "bottom shelf edge". With the Preset Shapes tool, draw a rectangle 290 pixels wide and 10 pixels in height. Position this rectangle, which will be the edge of the bottom shelf, about 40 pixels above the bottom of the front legs, and then center horizontally. Convert to raster and apply shading as before.

Deselect and save your work!


STEP 9

Add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "bottom shelf". Draw a rectangle 290 pixels wide and about 20 pixels in height. Position this rectangle just above the shelf edge, and then center horizontally. Press the CTRL key and move the top left corner handle of the bounding box towards the center until the shelf just meets the outside edges of the back supports. You may have to adjust from side to side until you get it just right! Here's a cutaway image that shows what the tapered bottom shelf should look like:

bottom shelf

When you are happy with the placement of the shelf, convert to raster and apply shading as before.

Deselect and save your work!


STEP 10

Add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "bottom shelf back". Draw a rectangle approximately 250 pixels wide and about 10 pixels in height to form the shelf back. Position this rectangle just above the bottom shelf. You may need to stretch or contract by dragging the left or right side handles of the bounding box to get it just right - it should fit perfectly between the outside edges of the back supports. When you are happy with its placement, convert to raster and apply shading as before.

Deselect. At this point, merge all layers EXCEPT the white background layer, renaming the merged layer "bench".

Save your work!


STEP 11

Activate the "bench" layer, and add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "top shelf back". Draw a rectangle approximately 255 pixels wide and about 12 pixels in height to form the back of the top shelf. Position this rectangle pretty high up on the back supports. Again, as with the bottom shelf back, you may need to stretch or contract by dragging the left or right side handles of the bounding box to get it just right - it should fit perfectly between the outside edges of the back supports.

When you are happy with its placement, convert to raster and apply shading as before.

While still selected, apply a second Drop Shadow, changing the Vertical offset to -4 (minus 4), and the Blur to 6.

Deselect and save your work!


STEP 12

Add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "top shelf edge". Select the "Rounded Rectangle" shape from the Preset Shapes tool drop-list, and draw a long narrow rectangle to form the top shelf edge. This rectangle needs to be about 6 or 7 pixels high, and just a bit wider than the shelf back, perhaps by a couple of pixels on each end, as shown in this view of the top left corner:

top shelf edge

Butt this shelf edge rectangle up along the bottom of the shelf back. When you are satisfied with its size and placement, convert to raster and apply shading as before EXCEPT change the Vertical offset back to 0. Deselect, and lighten by choosing Adjust...Brightness and Contrast...Brightness/Contrast, with Brightness of 25, and Contrast of 25.

Merge the two top shelf layers, renaming the merged layer "top shelf".

Save your work!


STEP 13

For the second shelf at the top, we'll cheat a little and duplicate the "top shelf" layer, renaming the duplicate "middle shelf". Move this layer below the "top shelf" layer in the Layer Palette.

Position the middle shelf so that the tops of the shelves are about 40 pixels apart, and the shelves are lined up vertically - use your guides to help you place this shelf.

Save your work!


STEP 14

For the shelf supports, or braces, change the Angle on the Background pattern to 0°. Activate the "middle shelf" layer and add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "top shelf support". Select the "Rectangle" shape again from the Preset Shapes Tool drop-list and draw a small rectangle, about 5 pixels wide and 20 pixels in height. Position this brace just below the top shelf edge, and flush with the inside of the left back support. Convert to raster and apply shading as before EXCEPT change the Blur to 12.

Here's what the first brace looks like:

left top shelf brace

Deselect. Duplicate this layer, and mirror the duplicate. Duplicate the "top shelf support" layer again, and position below the middle shelf. Finally, duplicate this last layer, and mirror. When you have everything the way you want it, merge all layers EXCEPT the white background layer, renaming the merged layer "bench". Now your shelves are braced and ready for action!

Save your work!


STEP 15

All that's left now is the drawer assembly, which hangs below the middle shelf! Activate the bottom white layer and add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "d-assembly-leftside". Draw a small rectangle about 3-pixels wide and 30 pixels in height. I placed this rectangle about 40 pixels from the inside edge of the left back support, moving into place just below the middle shelf:

left side of drawer assembly

Convert to raster and apply shading as before EXCEPT change the Blur to 3. Deselect. Lighten as in STEP 12 (Adjust...Brightness and Contrast...Brightness/Contrast - settings should still be there). Then duplicate this layer twice. Mirror the first of the duplicates. Move the second duplicate about 1/3 of the way between the two outside ends, keeping it the same height as the ends (use your guides...!). Finally, duplicate this last layer, and mirror. Your drawer assembly should resemble this:

drawer assembly uprights

Merge the four drawer assembly layers, renaming the merged layer "d-assembly uprights".

Save your work!


STEP 16

Change the Angle on the background pattern back to 90°. Add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "d-assembly-bottom". Draw a long, narrow, 3-pixel high rectangle from the outside edge of the leftmost drawer assembly upright to the outside edge of the rightmost drawer assembly upright:

drawer assembly bottom

Use the handles on the bounding box to stretch this rectangle to fit precisely. Move into place just covering the bottom of the drawer assembly uprights. Convert to raster, apply shading, deselect, and lighten as above.

At this point, we can merge all layers (EXCEPT, of course, the white background layer), renaming the merged layer "potting bench"! Wow, almost done!

Save your work!


STEP 17

Now let's finish up by adding the drawers. Add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "left drawer". Draw a rectangle that just fits the left opening. You want to make this rectangle just a wee bit smaller than the opening - so your drawer will slide in and out easily! Use the handles on the bounding box to adjust the drawer until it fits perfectly - you should see a narrow white frame around your drawer, like this:

left drawer

Duplicate this layer, renaming the duplicate "center drawer", and move into place in the center opening in the drawer assembly. Use the handles on the bounding box to adjust to fit the opening. When you are happy with these two drawers, convert both layers to raster.

Activate the "left drawer" layer. To make the "finger hole" for the left drawer, use the Selection tool selection tool (S) set to Circle to draw a 6-7 pixel circle near the top of the drawer. Try to get it as centered along the top of the drawer as possible. If you need to move the selection, switch to the Move tool move tool (M), and use the RIGHT mouse button to move the circle. When you have it where you want it, press the DELETE key:

left drawer with finger hole
Note: You can use knobs on your drawers instead of finger holes if you want. If you choose to use knobs, place them on separate layers, merging with each drawer when you are satisfied with their placement!

Create the finger hole for the center drawer in the same manner!

Deselect. Activate the "left drawer" layer. Apply shading as before EXCEPT change the Blur to 12. Deselect. To add additional shadow around the "finger hole", click with the Magic Wand inside the finger hole, then apply the same Drop Shadow. Repeat once or twice, as needed.

Repeat the above paragraph for the center drawer.

Create the right drawer by duplicating the "left drawer" layer, mirroring the duplicate layer, and renaming this layer as "right drawer"!

Save your work!


STEP 18

Only one more thing to do to complete the potting bench, and that's to add a backing to the drawer assembly. Activate the topmost layer in your Layer Palette. Add a new VECTOR layer, naming it "drawers back". Draw a rectangle that just overlaps the drawer assembly outside edges and the middle shelf. Use the handles on the bounding box as needed to ensure this rectangle covers the entire drawer assembly, but does not extend beyond the uprights, nor above the middle shelf. I know, I know - it's in the wrong place in the Layer Palette, but we'll fix that in a sec - for now, we need it where we can see it!

Convert to raster and darken by choosing Adjust...Brightness and Contrast...Brightness/Contrast, with Brightness of -75 (minus 75), and Contrast of -25 (minus 25).

In the Layer Palette, move the "drawers back" layer BELOW the "potting bench" layer! Merge the "potting bench" and the "drawers back" layers, renaming the merged layer "potting bench"!


That's it! We're done! If you want to add decorations to the Cedar Potting Bench, place the layers with the tubes ABOVE the "potting bench" layer, but BELOW the drawers layers.

You can make a drawer look like it's partly extended by moving the drawer slightly down and a little to the right. In this image, the left drawer is "open", and there's a seed packet sticking out!

potting bench - open drawer

If you want to tube your Potting Bench, delete the white background layer, merge all visible layers, and tube!


Here's another potting bench I decorated - I'm so ready for spring!

potting bench

Have fun creating and decorating your Potting Bench!


If you have any problems, comments, or questions, please do not hesitate to Email me.


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All graphics and content 2002-present by SuzShook