Sahlin Studio | Digital Scrapbooking Designs

Tutorial | Creating Shapes and Using Clipping Masks

Have you ever had an “aha” moment (as Oprah calls them) – but in digital scrapbooking? I think we’ve all had a few of these moments as we begin to learn our digi-scrap programs and read and glean from tutorials. Today I want to break from our photo editing tutorials and do something a little different just for a change of pace. I thought I’d start with a digi-scrapping tutorial on: How to Create Shapes in Photoshop, AND Using Clipping Masks to Clip Papers and Photos. For those that are newer to digital scrapbooking, this is a great way to learn a new trick. And for those seasoned scrappers, it might give you some ideas on how to branch out with the skills you already have.

shapes and clipping masks by sahlin studio
For this tutorial, I will be using Photoshop CS5. We will first learn 1) How to Create Shapes, and after that, 2) I’ll give ideas on how to use those shapes as clipping masks. Start by beginning with your page. You can start with a a new 12×12 document or start with your background paper.


Step One:
1. Select the Custom Shape Tool
2. If selecting Custom Shape: Choose the Shape you wish to use
3. If selecting Rounded Rectangle tool: Set the Radius
4. Make sure Shape Layers tab is selected.
Cutting Shapes Tutorial Step One


Step Two:
1. After your shape is selected:
2. Right click on your canvas and Pull Down until you reach the desired size.
**TIP*** If you want your shape to maintain perfect proportion (same width and height),
be sure to hold the shift key down as you drag.

Cutting shapes tutorial step 2


Now you might wonder what exactly can we do with these black shapes that we have just drawn. This is where “clipping” comes in… and the possibilities endless! We can take ANY of these shapes and clip items to them. We can clip papers, photos… there are so many ways you can use a Clipping Mask. By using the Shapes Tool, you can even build your own template to make your layout. This is exactly my scrapbooking process… Let me explain how.

Step Three:
1.Drag a paper or photo layer on top of your shape layer, making sure it completely covers the shape.
2. Right click your paper layer in your layers palette
3. Select Create Clipping Mask
cutting shapes tutorial step 3 image

What to Do After You’ve Clipped:

cutting shapes tutorial additional thoughts

There really are so many things that you can do with the shapes and clipping tools.
And I hope after reading this, many of you have had an “Ah HAH” moment today!