With the surging popularity of die-cutting machines in paper scrapbooking, and of course the huge variety of classic hand-held punches available, I’ve noticed a punchy trend popping up everywhere on paper pages. How cute are those mustaches?!
But why should paper scrappers have all the fun? A few simple steps and you can punch out anything on your digital page, even text! Keep reading to learn two ways to get this look – it’s easier than you might think.
Inner Shadow Style
To begin, I chose my background paper and created a paper block out of a contrasting paper (you can use any papers you want, of course!). In the layers palette, my paper block is directly above the background paper (all papers and elements from The Lilypad’s Summer Bucket List collection unless otherwise stated). Now to get punching!
Step One: Create your shape on top of the paper block, or a journaling card, or whatever you want to “punch” the shape out of. The custom shape tool includes dozens of fun shapes – I used a solid star for my demo, but you can achieve some interesting effects with an outlined shape, too. The shape will automatically fill with the foreground color.
Step Two: Duplicate your background paper without moving it around on the page (this is important), and in the layers palette, drag the copy of the background paper on top of your shape. Now clip the paper to your shape (Ctrl+Alt+G in Photoshop). It should look about like this:
Notice how I already added my regular drop shadow to the paper block (Layer 2)? Now we’re ready to make that star look like it’s actually punched out of the white paper!
Step Three: Apply an inner shadow style to your shape, carefully matching up with the drop shadow settings on your paper block for best results. Double-click on the shape layer in the layers palette, and you’ll find the Inner Shadow style settings right below the Drop Shadow settings. In the photo below you can see the settings I used. Make sure the Angle matches up with the angle of your other drop shadows, and fine-tune the Opacity, Distance and Size as needed.
If you’re not happy with the placement of your shape, no problem – you can move that shape layer (and the paper block) anywhere. The key thing to remember is to not move the clipped paper! If you do, the patterns won’t match up. Trust me, it will look weird.
Another tip – this works great with text, too. Just type out your words with a nice chunky font, clip the paper to the type layer, and add your style (see an example at the beginning of this post).
The eraser tool provides another quick and easy, but less flexible, method. Use this technique when you want to layer other elements to peek out from underneath your punched paper. Although my example uses a full 12×12 sheet of paper, this would work equally well on a strip of paper, journaling card, or anything else you want to punch a shape out of.
First stack your papers with the paper you want to peek through on the bottom, and the paper you’ll be “punching” on the top. Select the Eraser Tool, then choose your brush (I chose to turn the Bold It alpha by Lauren Grier into a brush set, but you can use any .abr brush).
“Erase” your letters/shapes from the top paper (ensure your brush opacity and flow settings are at 100%). Apply your favorite regular drop shadow setting to that top paper. And it will turn out something like this:
You can now move your cutout paper around, but you won’t be able to adjust the letters/shapes at all – you have essentially erased that portion of the top paper, allowing whatever’s underneath to peek through. Try slipping some embellishments under there! In the example below, I moved the paper and stuck a few bits underneath it.
Now it’s all ready for me to scrap away on top! I hope you enjoyed learning a new technique. If you’ve ever created digital cut-outs on a scrapbook page, please link us up in the comments! This technique is so versatile, I would love to see how other scrappers apply it.
If you prefer the ease of clicking a button, a few designers have done the work for you. If you use Photoshop Elements, Anna Forrest made a script so you can join the fun, too!
Have fun, and tell us, have you ever cut out a shape either in real or digital paper?