Learn How to Quickly Create Tasty Social Icons using Photoshop


In this tutorial I will show you how to create Tasty social Icons in Photoshop. We will be covering what’s new in the Shape Tools options panel which is the new Stroke. Using this new feature we can now easily make stitches and we can adjust it whatever we want.

This is an excellent tutorial to learn the basics of Photoshop and create something really beautiful out of this learning!

So what we are waiting for? Let’s get started.

Things you will need for this tutorial:

  • Social Icons 32px x 32px

Here is what we will be making:

Step 1: Setting up the Document

For our workspace create a new Document in Photoshop 570px by 470px and set the background color to #333236.

While selecting the background layer go to FilterNoiseAdd Noise.

Now that we have the background, let’s add a light shade at the center. By doing this use the Brush Tool(B) and brush it in the middle.

Change the layer mode to Soft Light and change the opacity to 50%.

Step 2: Working on the Base Shape

Here is the base shape as you can see in the image below. Basically it’s just an 80px by 120px, #3b5997 Rounded Rectangle Shape with a 5px Radius. Then I modified it using the Direct Selection Tool(A) and Pen Tool by making the top straight and adding an anchor point in the bottom middle and then I dragged it downwards using Direct Selection Tool(U). If you followed my previous tutorial you will know how to properly modify the shape: Recreate Google+ Pages Using Adobe Photoshop.

Apply this Blending Option:

  • Stroke: #7796cb, #7b97c6, #324579

  • Gradient Overlay:

Here is the result.

Step 3: Adding Pattern

Create a new Document in Photoshop make it 5px by 5px and make sure the background is Transparent.

Fully zoom our canvas by using the  Zoom Tool(Z) or by just pressing Ctrl + + on the keyboard. Now that it is fully zoomed use the Pencil Tool(B) and make a pattern as shown in the screenshot below.

Save this document as a pattern by pressing EditDefine Pattern. Name it whatever you want. Now that we have the pattern apply it to our base shape

  • Pattern Overlay:

Step 4: Adding Highlights

We need to add some flavor to our shape by adding some highlights. First thing you need to do is create a layer above the shape and Link it to the base shape by pressing the middle line between them.

Using a Soft Brush Tool(B) brush on the bottom part of the shape and set the layer mode to Soft Light and decrease the Opacity to 80%.

Add another layer, select the Gradient Tool(G) Reflected Gradient, #fff and add it near the top of the shape. Set the layer mode to Soft Light and decrease the Opacity to 50%.

Add another layer again. This time we will create a darker shade. Use Reflected Gradient, #000 and add it at the top part of the shape. set the layer mode to Multiply and decrease the Opacity to 50%.

Step 5: Adding Stitches

Adding Stitches (Dash Stroke) in Photoshop CS6 is very easy. They improved how Shape Tools work and they added an additional option panel for strokes and shape. Don’t worry if you don’t have Photoshop CS6 yet, you can still follow this tutorial. But with Photoshop CS6 I will show you how handy it is. Here is the preview of the options panel of the Shape Tools

  • Fill Option Panel

  • Stroke Option Panel

To create the stitches first create a shape, the same process we did on the base shape but this time change the width to 70px.

You need to adjust the stroke by clicking the More Options and set the Dash to 5 and Gap to 6. Change the stroke color to #a4b1cf and when you’re done shut the fill color, so that the only thing will show is the stroke.

For CS5 and below, you can do this manually by using the Line Tool(U) 5px each line and 6px gap.

We need to delete the top part stitches. You need to Rasterize the layer and erase the top part stitches.

  • Drop Shadow:

Step 6: Adding Icon

You probably have the icons provided in the resource. Place the icon in the center of our base shape.

Apply this Blending Option:

  • Stroke:

  • Gradient Overlay: #dddddd, #fff

  • Drop Shadow:

Add the icon name using Text Tool(T).

Duplicate the text layer, change the color to #2b406a and move it up once, using the up arrow key.

Step 7: Adding Shadows

Duplicate the base shape layer and make the fill color to #000000. Place this below the base shape. Now go to FilterBlurGaussian Blur.

Mask the layer and mask the portion that we don’t need. Refer to the screenshot below.

Using Linear Gradient, #000000 add a shadow as shown in the screenshot below.

Add this 1px #515055 line using the Line Tool(U) and place it above the shadow.

Now finish this by masking both ends of the line and the shadow.

And finally we’re done. I hope you learned something from this tutorial. Also, I added 4 more social icons. You can grab the PSD file by clicking the download link below. Until next time. :)

Download PSD source file



  1. Matt

    Sincerely appreciate the tutorial. Quite straight forward and beneficial to learning core fundamentals of iconography design.

  2. Petr Šťavík

    love your tutorials, tried several of them and they were very helpful and they taught me a few new things.
    But in this one i am stucked on step 4 (adding gradient overlays). Thing is, when i use it i use it all over the shape, but as i can see in ur shape, your gradient ends, in about the middle of the shape (in second gradient its just in the top). I think its just some stupid mistake that i am still doing, but i think i tried almost everything.

    If you could reply, i would be very grateful, because i would love to use these icons for my future website.

  3. Asna

    Thankyou! you are really talented.
    Im having problem in creating the ribbon shape…there’s no black line showing nor the direct selection tool working. i created a vector mask but nothing’s happening :( please help. Im getting ready for a contest and practising techniques. Using photoshop CS5 extended.
    Would really appreciate your help! :)

  4. farameo

    hi. i think you have one error in this point:
    “Now that we have the background, let’s add a light shade at the center. By doing this use the Brush Tool(B) and brush it in the middle.”

    Correction would be:
    “Now that we have the background, let’s add a NEW LAYER AND A light shade at the center. By doing this use the Brush Tool(B) and brush it in the middle.”

    The correction is because when you say:
    “Change the layer mode to Soft Light and change the opacity to 50%.”
    this correction is that if you add a layer to the light and choose 50% opacity, the background also changes and is not.

    GOOG TUTORIAL! thanks

  5. Thought this was a great tutorial and one that has showed me some useful techniques. I love articles like this because they show me new tips, tricks and how I can approach areas like social icon design in a different manner. I really like the designs of these icons and they stand out for me because they are different to the look of these icons that you see on a lot of sites at the moment. Thought there was great detail and this is a tutorial I will be a resource for me going forward so I can experiment and see what I can create.

  6. Rakhitha Nimesh

    Nice tutorial Michael. even beginners of photoshop like me can understand the instructions clearly.