Movable Cutouts

with 9 Comments

Movable Cutouts
by Nannette Dalton

Cutouts are a fun design element on a scrapbooking page. They can add a little dimension to an otherwise flat looking page.

Maybe you find you are like me. You love the look of a cut out on a page, but you are a Ctrl Z kind of girl. What if, after you cut out that cute star, you decided to move it to a different place on your layout? I totally hear you! We like our options and the ability to change our minds if we want to—without a whole lot of trouble.

If this sounds like you, then I have a tutorial for you. Go ahead and cut away. In the end you can still feel free to change your mind at any time.

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Open the layered scrapbook page (File > Open) with which you wish to work.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the layer that you want to cut out of to activate. In this case, I’ve activated my gray background paper layer.
  • Click on the Create a New Layer icon.
  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black and white.


Step Two: Create a Shape

  • Get Custom Shape tool.
  • In the Tool Options, set the Style to None and click on the Create New Shape Layer icon. (Photoshop: Set the Tool Mode to Shape and the Path Operations to New Layer.) Set the Color Chip to white. Open the Geometry Options and choose Unconstrained. Open the Custom Shape Picker and choose the 5 Point Star. If you do not see the 5 point star, open the fly-out menu and choose Large List. Then, open the drop-down menu and choose All Elements Shapes. (Photoshop: Open the menu, choose All, and click OK.)
  • On the scrapbook page, while holding down the Shift key to maintain proportions, click and drag to create a star shape. Press and hold the Space Bar to reposition while dragging.


Step Three: Add a Style


Photoshop Elements Only:

This tutorial requires the ability to create a style that uses an Inner Shadow and Blend Modes. Because Photoshop Elements does not offer this option, I’ve provided a work around for you.

  • PSE Versions 11 and later—install the ND-movable-cutout.asl style included in the download folder. You can find instruction for how to install the style for your version of Photoshop Elements HERE.
  • PSE Versions 10 and earlier—open the ND-Moveable-Cutout-Layer-Style.psd file included in the download folder. Follow the instructions included in the graphic.
  • With the shape layer as the active layer, open the Effects panel (Window > Effects) and click on the ND-Cutouts style to apply it to the shape.

Adobe Photoshop Only:

  • In the Layers panel, make sure that the star shape layer is still active.
  • In the Menu Bar, Choose Layer > Layer Style > Inner Shadow.
  • In the dialog box, choose Linear Burn for the Blend Mode. Click on the Color Chip, set the Hex# to 2f1708, and click OK. Set the Opacity to 60%, the Angle to 120°, the Distance to 9 px, the Choke to 6%, and the Size to 10 px.
  • Click on the New Style button. Enter Movable Cutout for the Name and click OK.
  • Click OK again to close the Layer Style dialog box.


Step Four: Clip Paper to the Shape

  • Open a patterned paper (File > Open) of your choice.
  • Get the Move tool.
  • On the document, holding down the Shift key, click and drag the paper onto the scrapbook page. The paper should be above the star shape in the Layers panel.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask.
  • In the Layers panel, hold down the Shift key and click on the shape layer. Now both the paper layer and the shape layer should be active.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Merge Layers.


Step Five: Move the Shape

Here is the layout using my cute cut out stars… but wait, changed my mind. I want to move one of the stars.

  • In the Layers panel, click on the shape layer to activate it.
  • Get the Move tool.
  • On the document, click on the shape and drag it into a new position.


I love that I can do that!

Here’s what my page looks like after I’ve repositioned the star.


Page & Photo: Nannette Dalton
Kit: Duty Honor Country by Danyale Lewis
Font: Allura
Software: Photoshop CC, Photoshop Elements 14

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9 Responses

  1. Ann
    | Reply

    This is so great – and so easy to do! I appreciate moving it around! Thanks!

  2. Terri
    | Reply

    You always come up with such interesting fun ideas. Thanks once again for sharing your talent. Terri

    • Nann Dalton
      | Reply

      Thanks Terri, I am glad you like them!

  3. Renee
    | Reply

    This is awesome! Love that they can be moved around. Thank you for sharing – going to try it tonight!

  4. April
    | Reply

    Ahh, sis what a wonderful page you did on dad. I loved seeing his face when I opened up my email this morning. Your idea of punching out a shape was new to me. I always added things on top of the page, never thought to go the other direction. I will be doing this on my next Layout.

    • Nann Dalton
      | Reply

      Hi April, So fun to have you pop in! I hope you do give the tutorial a try and thanks for the sweet words!

  5. Su Hall
    | Reply

    Excellent! I did something like this the other day. The way I did it was with a mask. I ‘punched’ out a hole(star), added a drop shadow, un-linked the chain between the mask and the thumbnail, then, moved the mask around. I like positioning my punch-out over a cool part of the paper beneath it. But, your way is easier!

    Thank you!


    • Nann Dalton
      | Reply

      Thanks for sharing your way of doing this. I hadn’t thought of using a mask. There really are many different ways of accomplishing the same tasks.

      • Su Hall
        | Reply

        The only difference that I can see is, your way, the star becomes an element, whereas, with the mask, where ever you move it, you see the background beneath it that is static.

        There are soooo many ways to do everything! LOL

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