Making a Syringe From Scratch

This tutorial will show you step-by-step how to make a high quality syringe.

Color you background white.

It is easiest for straight lines to make the syringe either completely vertical or completely horizontal. I chose horizontal.

On a new layer, draw a long rectangle with your Rectangular Marquee Tool and fill it with a light grey. We will be adjusting colors layer.

On another new layer, use the Elliptical Marquee Tool and draw out a couple tall skinny ovals to round the ends of the rectangle. Fill with light grey.

When we’re finished with this project, we’re going to have TONS of layers, I’m just letting you know. You need to keep each of these steps as separate as possible, as you’ll be doing lots of little tweaks to all of the layers, both through my tutorial and I am sure on your own as well.

Draw a new end on the left side of the rectangle using the Pen Tool.

*** You want this shape to be symmetrical, so if you’re struggling with it on its side, rotate it to fix it (CTRL+T, hold Shift down as you rotate it). Once you fix it you can rotate it back.

Continue drawing out the end with the Pen Tool.

Draw a long scary needle with the Pen Tool.

On the other end, add a new layer below the rectangle and oval end piece. Draw a tall ellipse, fill with a darker grey.

CTRL+T to transform. Hold CTRL down as you move the anchor points to Skew the shape. We’re adjusting the perspective right now.

Duplicate your newly shaped ellipse. Click on the original ellipse layer you just duplicated. Hold CTRL down and use the arrow keys to nudge it out. We are giving it a little edge. Preserve transparency on your Layers window, and fill with the lighter grey.

There will be a little awkward gap on the top and bottom of the two circles, still making them appear separate. Draw a circle with the Elliptical Marquee Tool and fill in the gap with the light grey.

To round out a corner that already exists, draw a circle with your marquee tool. Invert selection CTRL+SHIFT+I, and use the eraser carefully along the edge. Make sure you have selected the layer that the cover actually exists on to be able to erase it.

Continue doing this wherever you see awkward corners that should be smoothed out.

Use the same method that we used earlier to form the end of the plunger part of the syringe. Draw a shape in there for the plunger if you want, though this is not necessary as we are going to change this later on.

Double-click on the needle’s layer. Add a stroke so you can see where the needle is. Don’t worry about the color.

Draw a circle at the base of the needle. Also draw out tall skinny ones wherever there is an opening leading into another space. Make them all the darker grey color.

Go back to the needle and make the stroke a nice blue color, at 1px.

Then grab your Gradient Tool with a linear gradient, keeping the already selected blue color, and making the other color white (in your color palette).

Play around with it until you get it just so.

Change the background over to black now that we have all of our shapes drawn out and need to start making them transparent.

Go through all of the layers (except the needle), and adjust the transparency between 40% and 90% in the Layers window.

Use a Soft Round Eraser with an Opacity between 20% and 50% and erase the right side of the circle at the base of the needle.

*** Are you keeping things on separate layers still or have you doubled and tripled things up? Be careful! Keep everything on separate layers. We can always merge them together later on.

Go to the plunger end of the syringe. Draw a black oval a little ways in, keeping some space from the top and bottom of the walls of the tube part (that sounded scientific).

Duplicate the layer. Select the original one that we duplicated. Hold CTRL and use the arrow keys to move it closer to the opening on the tube.

Draw a rectangle on that same layer (the one on bottom), and fill it with black so it is one shape. Then you may use the gradient tool again with black and a darker blue color, or a Soft Round paint brush – whatever you are most comfortable with.

Use the pen tool and draw one large shape, just inside the edges of the tube up to the needle, and fill it with a reddish color, or whatever you want to use.

Duplicate the tube’s layer. In the Layers window, drag your newly duplicated layer above the red shape you just made.

Preserve transparency for the layer and fill the tube shape with white. Be sure to uncheck preserve transparency once you do that.

Select the eraser with the Chalk Brush, at 20%.

Now erase most of the middle section to create some shine around the edges.

CTRL+T to Transform. Hold down ALT and ever-so-slightly use the top center anchor point and scale it down. We’re just pulling the shine away from the immediate edges, so about where the red color starts.

Duplicate the tube’s layer once more. Preserve transparency, fill with white, uncheck preserve transparency.

CTRL+T and skew the tube outwards slightly, pulling it away from the edges of the original tube. Hit Enter.

Hold CTRL and click on the original tube to form a selection around that shape. Be sure you’re on the layer you just skewed and hit the Delete key.

Go to the red layer. Select the gradient tool. Choose both a darker and brighter red, and give the fluid a little more interest.

Back towards the needle…

Duplicate the shape the needle fits into and place it over top of the red shape.

Use your eraser and run some lines through it, with 20%, making it lighter as you go. These are some light-lines.

Preserve transparency and fill with white. Uncheck preserve transparency.

Use the eraser and take a little more away, making it slightly lighter around the edges.

Add a new layer over top of everything. Time to make it shine (some more).

Use the paint brush and draw some lines, in various sizes.

Use the Eraser with a Soft Round brush, and work your way around the lines you made and erase them, making them nice smooth reflections.

Up to where the needle is. Add a faint white band a little ways down from the base of the needle.

Don’t forget to make it shine all over the tube.

Duplicate one of the shines or create another one.

Use the Smudge tool and click and hold the shift key while dragging the mouse to smudge the lines out. Do this a couple times until you get the desired effect.

Now for the plunger part!

Move your end disks out away from the tube. Measurement-wise, you want it to be roughly the length of the tube (remember it has to slide all of the way through it to get the liquid out).
Draw a shape that scales down slightly as it gets closer to the disks at the end.

Now you’ll really have to follow the pictures on what I am doing.

We are going to make the plunger into an elongated cross or plus sign. And we’re going to do this at an angle.

Remove your first corner piece.

Make the whole thing transparent – at about 60 to 80% (it’s really about what you like).

Now duplicate this piece. I’m going to explain this using “Top:” for the layer on top and “Bottom:” for the layer on bottom, to get the transparencies right. I recommend using the Polygonal Lasso Tool for this (0px feather).

Top: Remove the bottom space which will define the edge of that corner we created.

Top: Draw a line a little bit up from that edge we created. Copy and Paste immediately. Adjust the Opacity of the new edge as you see fit. We’ve given it some dimension.

Top: Select from the middle of that corner up. Get the Eraser out and use the same opacity of 20 with it. Erase the entire area at a time. Don’t let go of the mouse, you don’t want any variation in transparencies, we’re simply making this part more transparent as there isn’t anything else behind it. Do this a few times. Don’t make it too dramatic.

Bottom: Continue the line from the vertical part of the plus down and over to the right. Delete that part of the shape, we don’t need it.

Bottom: Form the edge of the end piece now. Select in from the edge a little, copy and paste, and adjust opacity. Do the same for the bottom as well.

Bottom: Follow the horizontal part of the plus sign towards the back, up and to the right to delete that extra part of the shape.

Bottom: And now draw a line towards the tube, and delete, creating the plus sign. Form the back edge by drawing the line in from the edge a little, copy, paste, adjust opacity.

Now to those disks at the end! Drag them back towards the plus sign. You’ll likely have to skew them some using the transform feature CTRL+T, holding CTRL while you play with the anchor points. Make it so it fits the plus sign decently and it will look a million times better.

We’re just about finished!

Grab your Lasso Tool and feather it to about 30px. Draw an off shape around the bottom portion of the red color (select the red color’s layer at this time).

Adjust the Hue/Saturation CTRL+U, making it a little more purple/blue. Hit Okay.

Draw some smaller wavy shapes just above the middle and CTRL+U, upping the saturation.

Draw a shape around the very bottom of the color and adjust it back towards the red color with the CTRL+U.

And then the top area, upping the saturation to make it brighter, again with the CTRL+U.

Draw some guides, evenly spaced along the tube.

Create a new layer at the top of all of the layers.

Draw some lines coming in from the edge of the tube, either using a pen tool and stroke path, or using two ellipses, one subtracted from the other to form a line.

Shorten them a little. Then draw form tiny marks between two of the larger marks. You can then duplicate this to fill in the other spaces.

Merge all of the hash marks we just made together. Preserve transparency and change their color to white.

And We’re Done! Yes, a long tutorial, but a nice piece of work when it’s completed!

Just be sure to stick to it. 😉

By Kirin Knapp

Kirin Knapp is a graphic designer for the iEntry Network, publishing company of FlashNewz. A flash animator and illustrator, she is the creator of her home site,

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