Tuesday, 6 September 2016


Hey there! I don't know about you but in my Pinterest feed I am seeing scrapbook pages with paper cut-outs popping up ... all day, every day. And I have to say ... the pages are so unique and full of gorgeous pattern and color. I love the look! Most of the pages are traditional paper scrapbook pages and the layout artist is using some type of cutting machine like a Silhouette or a Cricut. But, that doesn't leave us digital artists out of the fun! We can most definitely join in on the fun of this popular trend using our scrapbooking software!

If you haven't seen these cut out looks around ... I'll share some of the gorgeous inspiration I have seen in my Pinterest feed from many talented paper scrappers:

In this very small sample of pages using cut files, you can see so many different ways the layouts artists have used them on their pages:
backed with pattern papers, painted on, watercolored, and the negative image used with swatches of paint underneath. Each is so diverse and beautiful in its own right.

So let's take a look at how we can approach this digitally. (Note: I am using Photoshop CC 2015.5. So things may look different depending on what version you have, but most things should be do-able for you.)

I found a cute scallop border element in Pink Reptile Design's mini kit for the August Scrap Parade: On This Day.

This shows what our selection ("marching ants") looks like when we first click on our scallop. See how the little white dots have a ring of "marching ants" around them? We don't want that! That means those circles are not part of our selection.
This is what we want:
Now with your selection still active (those marching ants should still be dancing around in that scallop shape!) create a new layer and pick a color for your foreground (I am going to use black). Use your paint bucket tool on that new layer to fill in the scallop shape. You do this by clicking any where inside the marching ants with the paint bucket tool. You can now delete the original scallop element layout from the On This Day mini kit.

Now we are ready to do the "cut-out" look. We are simply going to fill up our page with copies of this shape, stacking them and placing them off kilter as we go until we fill up our page. Press Command D (on a Mac) or Control D (on a PC) to deselect the scallop. You can copy the scallop shape by pressing Command J (on a Mac) or Control J on a PC. Another way is holding down ALT while you drag the scallop shape ... when you do this you must have the Move Tool selected & you will see a white triangle along with the usual black triangle. Another way is to go up to your Menu options and select > Layer > Duplicate Layer. There are other methods ... use whatever is fastest for you!

Arrange each copy the way you want it to look on your page. You can see my example below.

A TIP: Under View, make sure >Extras, >Snap and >Rulers all have check marks next them : this turns lets you see your spacing. See the pink in between my scallops? It might be hard to see, but it is telling me that each scallop snaps and is spaced exactly .25 inches from each other. When set the spacing for the first two scallops, as you drag each of the other copies around your page, you can chose to let go and drop it at any distance, but when you get close to the .25 inches it will snap and let you know when it is there! Of course if you like a messier and uneven look - you can certainly vary your spaces. You can rotate them slightly to and even stack them overlapping each other.

Here is how I arranged my scallops:

Once they are in place, select all of the layers of scallops, and go to >Layers >Merge Layers. This places them all on one layer and will allow you to "cut" this newly merged shape out of a piece of card stock or patterned paper, which we will be doing in just a minute. Before we move onto the "cutting" part, let's get a piece of card stock out and place it on our page under the scallop layer.

Here's what my Layers palette looks like with the Merged scallops in black all on one layer and the Love Bug cardstock below it.

Now select your scallops. Use the Magic Wand method from earlier or another easy way is to Command click (on a Mac) or Control click (on a PC) over the layer thumbnail in your layers palette. Don't click on the grey area, click on the "thumbnail" or "image" next to the grey area. This places those "marching ants" around all of the scallops on your page.

Now we are ready to digitally "cut" this shape from our cardstock. Click on your cardstock layer (or whatever paper you chose) and press delete. Those "marching ants" will digitally "cut" that shape out of the cardstock/paper. To see it, go back to the scallop layer and click on the eye icon in front of the layer thumbnail in the layer palette to turn that layer off. You should see a "hole" cut out of your paper revealing the white background below.

Click Command D (on a Mac) or Control D (on a PC) to deselect the scallop shape and those "marching ants" should go away. Now put your favorite paper drop shadow on your cardstock/paper layer to really see the cut-out better. Here's my cut-out with a patterned paper from Love Bug positioned underneath.

And if you prefer, you can watch a video version of this tutorial!

Pink Reptile Designs: Tutorial | Get a Silhouette Cut Out Look on your Digital Pages from mirjam schurings on Vimeo.

I hope you have fun making your own digital "cut" files. You can add different patterns of paper under each scallop or paint under your cut-out mat to get an endless amount of looks for your pages!

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