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Making a Cut-Out Template

By Wendy Williams  ·  July 31st, 2006

This tutorial shows you how to make a template for displaying a photograph. It uses a cut-out technique to add interest to the page. The cut-out can be anything from a simple shape to a complex one either will work well. I downloaded some custom shapes from the Adobe Studio Exchange and used one of them for my corner cut-out. If you want to use the same one I did then the set is Francisco’s Corners.

Step 1
First let’s create a large-sized file by clicking File>New Blank File>2480 pixels x 2480 pixels, and choosing a resolution of 300, RBG color and a white background.

Step 2
Next, lets fill our background with a colour (I used 216751) Edit>Fill”

Step 3
Create a new layer above the Background layer, call it “Parchment,” and use the Rectangular Marquee to make a selection something like this.

Step 4
Set the foreground color to EFE6CA and the background color to E6DBB6 then select Filter>Render>Clouds. This will fill your section with a texture that looks a little like parchment.

Step 5
Change your Foreground color to white. Then select your Custom Shape (I used the Peacock from Fransisco’s Corners) and drag it across your page. Try to make it the right size for your image, but don’t worry if it’s not in the right place-you can move it later using the Move tool. Here’s how mine looks at this stage.

Step 6
Go to your Layers palette, Control-click (Mac: Command-click) on the Shape Layer thumbnail and your marching ants will appear. Toggle off the Eyeball on the Shape layer and click on the Parchment layer. Select Edit>Delete. You should now have a cut-out in your Parchment layer.

Step 7
Now we need to add a bevel to this layer. Try Simple Inner from the Bevel menu of the Layer Styles palette. Double click on the little (f) against the Parchment layer in the Layers palette and change the bevel size to 9. I have marked the place to Double-click here.

Step 8
We need to make a cut-out for our image-I used an oval but you can use any shape you like. If you wish to use and oval then select the Elliptical Marquee tool to make a shape something like this.

Step 9
Then go to the Layers palette, click on the Parchment layer and do Edit>Delete.

Step 10
Our image is looking okay but I think it would look better if we had a shadow behind it. So lets create a new layer, call it Shadow, then go the layers palette and drag the Shadow layer below the Parchment layer. Control click on the Parchment layer in the Layers palette and select Edit>Fill Selection; use black. You won’t see a shadow yet, but we are going to fix that. Select Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Try a blur of around 30 pixels and your image should now look something like this.

Step 11
That gives you the basic template and you will be able to drag your photograph into the file and place it below the Parchment layer. To finish mine off, I added a 30-pixel stroke to the edge of the oval and gave that layer a slight bevel and added some embossed text.

There are lots of ways that you can vary this basic technique-for example, try changing the colors. Here is one I did for a Baby’s first steps.

It’s very versatile and quite easy to do so experiment and enjoy.

3 Replies to Making a Cut-Out Template:

  1. Karen

    July 3, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Thank You-Thank You-Thank You!!!!
    This is sooooo cool. I have been trying to figure out how to do something like this on my own but just to NEW at Photoshop Elements I just didnt know how. I love this, thank you!

  2. Wynn

    September 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Thanks for this, it’s wonderful

    I have been looking for this effect for ages, now I can try it out, hopefully it works for me. I am just learning Elements but love what it allows me to do

  3. Alfred

    November 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Hi, I think these explanations are things of mystery unil explained the way Wendy does so well. wonderful, thank you i shall have to ty this for my great grand-daughters 3rd birthday coming shortly…”Ben”

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