Creating a simple "postage stamp" effect

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You can create a simple, but reasonably effective, postage stamp effect - like that in the attached image - pretty easily using Scribus. (There are quite a few stages but there's nothing difficult or complex to it.)

Here's how...

The Frame

1. Create a rectangular shape of any size.
2. Use the "X,Y,Z" tab of the "Properties" palette to change the size of the shape to width=124 and height=92. (These sizes will be explained later.)
3. Choose menu "Item -> Multiple Duplicate" and press "OK" to accept the defaults. (This should copy a duplicate directly over the original.)
4. Select the shape again and go to the "Line" tab of the "Properties" palette.
5. Select the first dotted line type via "Type of Line" (it's the third on the list).
6. Set the "Line Width" as 4 points.
7. Select a "Round Cap" via "Endings".
8. Choose menu "Item -> Path Tools -> Create Path from Stroke".
9. Drag select the two shapes.
10. Choose menu "Item -> Path Tools -> Path Operations".
11. Select "Subtract" as the "Operation" and press "OK". (You might need to use the "Swap Shapes" check box if the shapes have been selected in the wrong order.)

You should now have a simple postage stamp outline. The size of the frame was specific as both the width and height were multiples of the 4 points measure used in the "Line Width". Different line widths will need different sizes to be effective.

Now we'll put a picture in the stamp...

The Image

1. Select the postage stamp shape and right-click.
2. Choose menu "Convert To -> Image Frame".
3. Go to the "Colours" tab of the "Properties" palette, press the "Fill" icon, and choose "White" as the fill colour. (This is needed for later.)
4. Right-click the frame and choose menu "Get Image...".
5. Pick a good image from your image library.
6. Right-click the frame and choose menu "Adjust Image to Frame".
7. Go to the "Image" tab of the "Properties" palette and use the "Free Scaling" tools to get the image centred in the frame.

You should now have a picture in your postage stamp. So there's just one final thing to do...

The Shadow

1. Select the frame and choose menu "Item -> Multiple Duplicate".
2. Choose "Shift Created Items by", use 3 points as the horizontal and vertical shift, then press "OK".
3. Right-click the top frame and choose menu "Convert To -> Polygon".
4. Go to the "Colours" tab of the "Properties" palette and press the "Fill" icon.
5. Pick "Black" as the fill colour and set a "Shade" of 30%. (You set the fill colour to white earlier to stop this colour showing through the stamp itself.)
6. Press the "Line" icon and set the line colour to "None".
7. Right-click the frame and choose menu "Level -> Lower to Bottom".

And that's it. You should have a nice little postage stamp and you can add whatever text your country uses on its stamps if you need to.

(I know it's not perfect, but if you just want something simple then it's probably good enough for most purposes.)

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Thanks for sharing the link - and there are some good sites listed there - but I think my intentions on posting the tutorial may have been more subtle than I originally meant them to be.

My primary intent was not, specifically, to show people how to draw a postage stamp. As you have shown, there are plenty of good free vector images available. Rather, I posted it to demonstrate some of the lesser-used functions of Scribus, such as: "Create Path from Stroke", "Path Operations", Shading, "Convert to Polygon", etc.

Its purpose was to show users - mainly beginners - how some of the tools within Scribus could be combined to create effects that might not have been obvious. The creation of a postage stamp was simply a well known example that most people would recognise.


Thanks for posting the tutorial! This is a very cool way to learn how to use as you say the lesser known or used functionalities of Scribus