Cut-outs add fabulous dimension to any scrapbooking layout. Paper or digital. But how exactly can you add a cut-out to a digital layout? It’s easier than you think… and no cutting needed!

Cut-outs allow you to see the layer underneath a paper. Right? Wrong! Not when we were are working digitally. Digitally we have the option to manipulate our image so what appears to be a cut-out, a glimpse underneath the surface, is actually above our original paper.

How do we do it? With a very simple inner shadow. That’s it. That simple. For my example today I wanted the effect of circular cut-outs peeking at papers underneath my main paper. In reality, my main paper is my bottom layer and my cut-out’s are circles with inner shadow styles.

Let’s take a look, before I totally confuse you.

Template – Before Applying Inner Shadow

I created a simple faux cut-out template (available free at the end of this tutorial) before I started my layout. Here is a close-up of the template before adding the Inner Shadow style to the circles:

Close-up of shadow-free template

 How to Add an Inner Shadow

To add an Inner Shadow that will give you the Faux Cut-Out look we want:

  1. In the layers palette click on the circle you want to add an Inner Shadow
  2. Click on the fx icon at the bottom of the layers palette
  3. Click Inner Shadow; this pops up the Layer Style box

Setting Layer Style

  1. Set Blend Mode to Linear Burn; I set the color to the darkest color in the Snowed IN palette to match my layout = Hex #4f4a36
  2. Set Opacity to 35% (turn this up if using lots of dark papers; down if using light/white papers)
  3. I kept my Angle at the standard 120°; I find that makes it easier to get my shadows uniform
  4. I set the Distance at 10 px
  5. I kept Choke at o px
  6. I set the Size to 14 px
  7. Click OK
  8. Add this same Inner Shadow to all your faux cut-out circles!

Feel free to play with these settings to make it uniquely yours!

Adding the Background Papers

I simply dragged in a paper to replace the Background placeholder. Then I dragged in a 2nd paper above the Paper Strip layer, and created a clipping mask (see How to Create a Clipping Mask)

My template with the background paper and the paper strip in place

Creating the Faux Cut-Outs
Now it’s time to create your Faux Cut-Outs by clipping paper to all the circles with the Inner Shadow Style. Simply drag in a paper above each circle, right-click & create clipping mask. Done!

Repeat for each circle using the same, or different papers.
Note: I resized each of my papers by 75% to better show their individual patterns.

adding a paper to my first circle, using a clipping mask

Mix it up & Add in photo’s

You don’t have to faux cut-out only papers. You can also drag in a photo, create a clipping mask, and instant photo frame!

I used one of my faux cut-out circles as a photo frame

Finishing the Layout

There are a million ways to finish a layout. I chose to go fairly minimalistic to show off my faux cut-outs the best. I added some elements from the Snowed IN Mega and called it a day. I love how it turned out!

  The Free Simple Faux Cut-Out Template

And, as promised, the free simple Faux Cut-Out Template. Just click to download & enjoy!

There is still time to join our fabulous winter Snowed IN Event! There is a new challenge every day. And every day those prizes snowball in size! That means every day the prizes get bigger. Join. It’s free & fun!