What is the easiest way without vector? I would like to generate something very similar to the image below for CSS development, but I'm having a hard time figuring out the easiest way to turn shape lines into pencil or sketched look lines.

pencil lines

I've tried:

  1. Using calligraphy pens, held down the shift key
  2. Hand tracing a straight line but it came up too jagged

I feel like I'm making this unnecessarily hard. Any thoughts are generously and gratefully accepted.

  • Is there a reason for you wanting to create this in Photoshop instead of using tools that were developed for wireframing, like Balsamiq or Pencil project?
    – Yisela
    Jun 30, 2013 at 1:59
  • I'm comfortable in Photoshop regarding basic mockups and designs. I know there's 1000 different choices out there but this one works for me. I'll check out those tools, but I'm trying to mix pencil style with the flat style without these different trends interfering too much.
    – Charles
    Jun 30, 2013 at 2:43
  • Or you could buy Balsamiq, which has been specifically designed to do stuff like this.
    – gcman105
    Jul 14, 2013 at 6:48

1 Answer 1


You could apply a Wave distort to the outline of a shape in order to systematically achieve a similar effect.

Step 1: Prepare your layers

Starting with the straight borders, I'd first convert the rasterized lines to smart objects so that this process can be reversed.

Screenshot of step 1

Step 2: Apply a Wave Distort to one of the layers


You'll have to fiddle with the settings to achieve the desired appearance

Screenshot of Wave Distort menu

Step 3: Repeat as necessary for each layer

You should click Randomize each time so that they don't all follow the same wave distort

Screenshot of step 3

Finished Product:


The Amplitude setting within the Wave dialog box will control how far the wave can be from the center of the original straight line. This will help you make it "pixel perfect".


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