Learn how to create a realistic hourglass with Photoshop only. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create your own hourglass, add realistic shadows and lighting, then complete it with custom sand and wood texture. Throughout the tutorial, you’ll learn techniques that will help you create more realistic artworks in Photoshop.

What you’ll be creating

Hourglasses are common elements in print and web design. You will find them everywhere in various forms. They used as a symbol of time or passing of time. To create this image of an hourglass, we’ll start by creating shapes, then edit them to the hourglass shape. Next, we’ll add shadows and lighting to create the glossy surface of glass and wood. Finally, we’ll finish it up with a custom-made sand with Noise filter and use the Fibers filter to create the wood texture for the base and stands. You’ll need Photoshop CS3 or newer to follow this tutorial.


Step 1

Open a new file (File > New) in Adobe Photoshop with the following settings. Save the file as “Hourglass.psd”. During work remember to frequently use File > Save (Ctrl/Cmd + S) to save and update the file.


Step 2

We need the Info Panel to create the hourglass shape precisely. Go to Window > Info to turn it on. In the Info Panel click on the “+” sign besides the X and Y coordinates and select Pixels as your unit. Then select the Rectangle Tool from the Toolbox and change the Foreground color to #808080. Go to the Option Bar above and select “Path” if it is not already selected. Then drag a 164 x 235 pixel rectangle like the below screen shot. Rename the layer to “Glass upper”.


Step 3

Take the Path Selection Tool and drag a selection around the rectangle to select it. Four selected Anchor Points are now visible like black solid squares. Select Pen Tooland add eight Anchor Points on the selected path of the rectangle by clicking on it. In the image below red dots indicate where you have to click to insert anchor points. Next we will edit the points to change the rectangle shape into the upper portion of the hourglass.

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20 responses to “Create an Hourglass in Photoshop”

  1. Ps freak Avatar
    Ps freak

    Awesome. Thanks for sharing

  2.  Avatar

    This is terrible.

    1. the best Avatar
      the best

      i agree

  3. Mahesh Krishnamurthy Avatar
    Mahesh Krishnamurthy

    Thank You so much for giving such details. I created my hour glass for my upcoming DVD. best wishes to you. I will like to explore more and purchase soon.

  4. Optical Overlays Avatar
    Optical Overlays

    Interesting :p :)

  5. ADEFEM Avatar

    Am unable to download the file.

  6. casa mia Avatar
    casa mia

    I am stuck with step 11.when i make that new layer ”glass upper shadow edge 1” ,i can’t fill it with black,but i don’t know why . Can anybody help me with that?

  7. clippingpatharea Avatar

    wow.. Fantastic steps.. I really like it. keep up :-)

  8. Hector Avatar

    Awesome… Thanks for sharing..

    1.  Avatar

      your welcome Hetor

  9. Alcides Avatar

    Amazing, from scratch. Great work!

  10. Hidayah Packaging Avatar
    Hidayah Packaging


  11. Mohamed Halim Avatar
    Mohamed Halim


  12. Tine Herman Avatar
    Tine Herman

    here the same: link doesnt work

  13. Gavin Heppenstall Avatar
    Gavin Heppenstall

    Problems with website

  14. John Burger Avatar
    John Burger

    Unable to load with this link.

  15. Vinod Prajapati Avatar
    Vinod Prajapati

    yes! there is also same problem in link….

  16. Dawn Smith Avatar
    Dawn Smith

    This link doesnt work for me, anyone else having the same trouble?

    1. David Christian Avatar
      David Christian

      The Link Is Not Working For Me

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