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Making Shapes out of Paper in Photoshop Elements

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In this tutorial, I will show you ways to use the tools in Photoshop Elements and unique ways to use more of the papers in a digital scrapbooking page kit. For this example, I am using Dare to Dream page kit by LDrag Designs.

Preview of Dare to Dream page kit by LDrag Designs

Step 1: Make a Frame

You don’t have to be restricted to the frames you receive in a kit. When you are looking for a particular shape or style, you can always make your own. Have you looked at all of the custom shape options in Photoshop Elements? With these shapes, you can make anything out of paper. I chose a thick square frame, clicked and dragged it on my paper to get the size I wanted. I could have chosen a plain color frame, but I wanted something more ornate.

Custom Shapes in PSE

Step 2: Group Paper to your Frame

Once you have the frame you like, pull in a paper and place it in the layer above the frame. Now all you need is one, simple command. While the paper layer is selected, use the shortcut, CTRL + G  on a PC or CMD + G on a Macintosh. This will group the paper to your frame. The layer will be indented above the frame shape. Make sure that you add the shadow to the frame shape, not the paper.

Paper grouped to frame in PSE

Step 3: Add More Embellishments

You can group anything you wish to the frame. I love the look of lace and doilies wrapped on a frame, so I chose to put lace on my frame as well. Just position your elements where you want them and click CTRL + G. I wanted to show you what happens if you put the lace in the wrong order on your page. I accidentally added the lace underneath the paper. If this happens, simply change your layer order and regroup the paper.

Adding lace to frame in PSE

Here I have changed the layer order and have positioned the lace where I want it over the frame.

Adding lace to a frame in PSE

Next, group the lace to the frame. I added a slight shadow to the lace to get the look I wanted.

Adding shadow to lace

Step 4: Link the Layers Together

Grouping layers does not link them together. Link the lace to the frame shape so that if you move the frame, they will all move together. To do this, select the layers you want linked and then click on the chain icon.

Linking layers together in PSE

Step 5: Group Paper to Elements

You can do more than make frames with this technique. You can get creative with the kit elements too.  I wanted a stamped feel in the background of my layout. To get this look, place the element where you want it and group the paper to the element. For a stamp, don’t add a shadow to the element. I also lowered the opacity of the element (not the paper) to get a softer look.

Grouping paper to elements

Step 6: Change the Opacity of the Paper

You can also lower the opacity of the paper to let some of your element shine through. In this case, I used the “dream” title included in the page kit, but grouped a paper to it for the color I wanted. If I left the opacity of the paper at 100%, the title would have been flat and boring. Instead, I lowered the opacity to let the shininess through.

Grouping paper to a title

Here is my finished layout. I hope this example will be a springboard to more ideas for your own pages.  If you have questions about this tutorial or would like to request a tutorial, please visit and post to the Tutorial Help & Requests Forum.

Finished layout

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