How to Make a Tarpaulin in Photoshop

By Filonia LeChat

Updated September 28, 2017

Draw your own tarp in Photoshop.
i painter's supplies image by Tammy Mobley from

For many digital photo enthusiasts, Adobe Photoshop is the go-to choice for editing pictures, but working with photographs isn’t the only thing the program does. Photoshop comes equipped with everything you need to design and draw right in the program, including paint colors, brushes and tools. Instead of tinkering around with photographs, create your own digital doodles for avatars, websites or publications. With a few clicks, you can make your own items such as tarpaulins without having to visit an Army/Navy store for supplies.

Open Photoshop, click “File” and select “New.” Type “Tarp” into the “Name” box. Type your preferred tarpaulin dimensions, such as eight by 10 inches. Click the “Color Mode” menu and select “RGB Color.” Click the “Background Contents” menu and select “Transparent,” which will allow you to place your tarpaulin on any colored background as preferred. Click the “OK” button to open the Photoshop workspace.

Double-click the top-left square of the “Color Picker,” the two overlapping colored boxes at the bottom of the “Tools” palette on the left side of the screen. Select a paint color for the tarp, such as khaki or gray. Click “OK.”

Click the “Rounded Rectangle” shape tool on the “Tools” palette. If you don’t see this icon, right-click the regular rectangle icon, circle icon, line icon or star icon; all of these tools share the same space until you use one and then remain in place until you use another. If you right-clicked one of the other icons, select “Rounded Rectangle Tool.”

Position your cursor over the “Tarp” box and draw a rectangle from the top, left corner to the bottom, right corner; leave a little bit of transparent space framing the rectangle shape. The rounded corner rectangle shape of the tarp fills in with the selected color, but looks flat and 2-D on the screen.

Double-click the Shape 1 layer on the “Layers” palette on the right side of the screen. The “Layer Styles” window opens. If you don’t see the “Layers” palette, click “Window,” then click “Layers.”

Check the “Drop Shadow” box on the “Styles” column and click the words so “Drop Shadow” is highlighted. Move the “Distance” slider bar to 30 px. Click the “OK” button and the tarp now has a shadow and looks more realistic and 3-D.

Click the “Type” tool, which looks like a “T” on the “Tools” palette. Select a font, size and color from the toolbar at the top of the page. Choose a text color that will contrast with the tarp color so the words will be easy to read.

Position your cursor on the “Tarp” box, click and type words for the tarp, such as “Providing Quality Tarps since 2008” or “Try Our Tarps!” Drag the words into place on the middle or bottom of the tarp as preferred.

Click the “File” menu and select “Save As.” Select “GIF” from the “Format” menu and save the tarp file to the computer.