How To Plastic Wrap Your Candy With Photoshop And Illustrator

How To Plastic Wrap Your Candy With Photoshop And Illustrator

In this tutorial, I will touch on the Photoshop filter – Plastic Wrap. The Plastic Wrap filter is one of the most useful special effects tool Photoshop has to offer. Use it to make create beads of sweat on an athlete, to just about anything that dribbles.  Oh, and if you really want to, you can use it to draw shiny dripping paint on the can. In this work through, we’re going to use this technique to create a plastic wrap on a candy.

How To Plastic Wrap Your Candy With Photoshop And Illustrator

Step 1. Create the Candy

You may prepare a solid colour background or the one similar to the bottom.
Create a circle in any colour.


Right click > Layer Properties > Inner Shadow. Adjust to the settings below.

Candy Circle Layer

Add a Gradient Overlay, adjust to the settings like below.

Candy Circle Layer

Click OK, and you will have something similar to this.

Candy Round Circle

Step 2. Create swirl in Illustrator

Open Illustrator, use the Pen tool and draw a rectangle like the one below. We will be using this shape as an Art Brush.

Create Swirl in Illustrator

Now CLICK and DRAG the rectangle into the Brush Panel. You will be prompted by a pop up box. Choose New Art Brush and click OK. Choose the direction of the brush and click OK.

Illustrator Art Brush

Now use the Spiral Tool, create a spiral.

Illustrator Spiral Tool

Select the spiral, and click on the Art Brush which you have just created.

Illustrator Spiral Tool

Step 3. Combining Swirl and Candy in Photoshop

Copy and paste the swirl as a smart object back in Photoshop. Add a mask, so that the swirl fits nicely on top of the candy.

Combining Swirl and Candy in Photoshop

Right click > Layer Properties. Add an Inner Glow and Gradient Overlay to achieve similar to the bottom.

Combining Swirl and Candy in Photoshop Layer

Step 4. Adding Subtle Texture

Add in reflections. Draw 2 circles and 1 cresent. Bring down their opacity. You will get this.

Adding Subtle Texture

We are now going to add in a subtle texture to the lolly. Add a new layer,  Go to Filter > Render > Clouds. Then go to Noise > Add Noise and adjust to the settings below. Change the blending mode to Overlay.

Photoshop Render Clouds

Photoshop Add Noise

Step 5. Adding the Candy stick and Plastic Wrap

Draw a thin rectangle and add a gradient overlay to it.

Adding the Candy stick and Plastic Wrap

Give a slight warp to the candy so that it looks more natural.

Subtle Warp to The Candy

Using the pen tool, draw the wrapper and fill it in grey.

Photoshop Pen Tool

Use the Dodge and Burn Tool and create highlights to the wrapper.

Photoshop Dodge

Go to Filter > Artistic > Plastic Wrap

Photoshop Plastic Wrap

Change the blend mode to Screen and bring down its opacity. Duplicate the layer and change blend mode to Overlay. Play around with the opacity levels to achieve the below.

Photoshop Blend Mode

Step 6. Final Touches and Details

Set the brush tool to a light brownish colour to paint the string. To add in more depth, use a darker brown and paint over the edges.
Add in a Drop shadow so that it looks more realistic.

Photoshop Final Brush Tool

Shadows were added around the edges of the plastic sheet, to make it more three dimensional. Finally, for some final touches, I added in some sparkles. Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!
Candy in Plastic Wrap

Plastic Wrap Hot Tip:

Performing a filter such as Plastic Wrap will change the look of the base layer completely. Thus, always duplicate a copy of that layer before applying the filter to it, so that you can make changes if you need later.

Charlotte’s interest is in web interface and design as well as motion graphics. Her absorption with her work is mostly due to her attention to detail and passion for the world of design. Winding down after work, which consumes much of her time; she enjoys traveling, exploring new places, gastronomy, and fashion.


  1. / Reply

    quite a hard image to make… but really great tutorial…

    • Charlotte,
    • May 22, 2009
    / Reply

    thanks! you have some great stuff on your site as well.

      • Selver,
      • August 24, 2010
      / Reply

      could you please link me to the site address, please! And thank you heaps for sharing the tutorial! I love it!

  2. / Reply

    Thank you! Provide such good mould case

    • chani,
    • February 24, 2010
    / Reply

    I followed your tutorial easily until I got to the plastic wrap step. Photoshop won’t let me access any of the artistic filters and I don’t know why. PS’ help doesn’t offer any clues. I tried rasterizing the wrapper shape, which is a smart object, but it still doesn’t work. I am using PS CS3.

    Can you please help me?

  3. / Reply

    Hi there,

    very interesting tutorial… since I do design from 1992 I haven’t use such thing.. well done Charlotte..

    I am interested to getting to know you better, do you and have you attend HOW design conference ???

    please feel free to email me, I’d like to keep in touch with you.


  4. / Reply

    Hi Mano, thanks for the comment!

    I’ve not attended the HOW conference before unfortunately. Would really love to attend. Have you?

    • Rose,
    • March 2, 2010
    / Reply

    heya. Im having a problem with the spiral and the paintbrush in illustrator.

    I make the paintbrush just like it says, and the spiral, but when I select the spiral and click on the brush i made, it goes wrong!

    instead of the colour with a wide base and narrowing down, and with the spiral “blue line” in the middle, mine has the black INSIDE the spiral, and after the first loop, the rest of the spiral is all black. At the base of the spiral is a small version of the triangle (from the brush) pointing out….

    Please help???

    1. / Reply

      Hey Rose, did you fully close the rectangle points when you create it?

        • Rose,
        • March 2, 2010
        / Reply

        i have no idea, i redid it, and the forth or fifth time it worked… but i dont know what i did!! >_< lol.

        except now when i copy and paste it over its too big, i resize it, but masks dont work?? what kind of mask am i meant to make?

        Thank you loads! :)

    2. / Reply

      Also check that the direction of the brush is towards the right at the Art Brush Options window.

    • Rose,
    • March 2, 2010
    / Reply

    just to add on, i am using CS2, will that cause big differences?

    1. / Reply

      great that it works! Yes it works on CS2 too ;)

    • Chloe,
    • September 21, 2010
    / Reply

    I did not find this helpful at all.
    There were a lot of steps missing.

  5. / Reply

    There were not any missing steps. I was able to make it with no hitches. Thanks for the tutorial, this is a really cool effect. I showed my wife and she didn’t believe me that I created. Thanks for the tut!

  6. / Reply

    Thanks for sharing this cool effect!

  7. / Reply

    Didn’t know you could do this with photoshop. Thanks.

  8. / Reply

    Wow that’s exactly what I was looking for …

  9. / Reply

    Hi Charlotte, the Plastic Wrap filter you describe and used for this tutorial, is it the one from Auto FX DreamSuite 2? Or do Photoshop have its own plastic wrap filter? I do have CS2 but haven’t installed it as I am actually using PaintShopPro Photo X2. I have a lot of filters stored on disks and used 1 of them in PSPX2 which also gives the effect of plastic but have no clue on which disk it’s stored! All I remember it was part of a certain set. Do you know of any other plastic filters as Plastic Wrap? Your answer will be highly appreciated. Kind regards, Laura

    • Joan,
    • July 4, 2011
    / Reply

    I am an arts student & just a newbie with photoshop. This is just what i needed for my final project! thanks for saving me! :)

  10. / Reply

    really nice effect Charlotte! your tut inspired me to create my own lollipop candy tutorial

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