Thursday, April 18, 2013

Digital 'Die Cuts'

I love die cuts! I own 1 manual and 3 electronic die cut machines and hundreds of dies & cartridges for those machines! But the truth is that lately, I do more digital crafting than paper crafting. So, I got to thinking, can you mimic the look of die cuts in Photoshop?

Duh! Of course you can! And it’s easy! (no really, it IS easy!)

Lemme show you…

1. Start with a digital stamp image. Bold images tend to work better, but don’t be afraid to experiment - you may be pleasantly surprised with the results. I’m using the ‘Viewmaster’ stamp from the Club Scrap Digital™ 'Get the Picture' Collection.

2. Grab a digital background - this will become your ‘paper’ for the die cut.
3. Place the stamp in a layer above the background.
4. Click on the stamp layer’s thumbnail in the Layers Palette. You’l see ‘marching ants’ around the stamp image.

5. Hide the stamp layer by clicking on that layer’s ‘eye’ icon in the Layers Palette.
6. Click on the background layer to make it active.
7. Choose ‘Inverse’ from the Select menu.
8. Press the ‘Delete’ key. you’re left with a ‘cut out’ of the image.

But, it’s a little flat looking. Let’s apply a bit of digi magic to make it look like a die cut.

1. Choose ‘Deselect’ from the Select menu (Ctrl-D on a PC, Command-D on a Mac); this will get rid of the ‘marching ants.’
2. Click on the ‘Layer Style’ button at the bottom of the Layers Palette (the button has ‘fx’ on it).
3. Choose Inner Shadow from the Style pop-up.
4. Apply these settings:

5. Click on the Bevel & Emboss Style and apple these settings:

6. Click OK.

You’ve now given the cut out an ever so slight ‘thickness’ so that it looks like a piece of die cut card stock. See, that wasn’t hard at all!

You can also add a bit of a drop shadow if you’d like, but not too much, since your ‘die cut’ will probably be sitting rather close to the background.

Here are 2 more examples:
From the Bright Lights, Big City Kit

It works with sentiment stamps, too!

So there you have it - an easy way to mimic die-cuts in your digital crafting! Now off you go - give it a try and create something wonderful with your digital ‘die cut.’

Thanks for stopping by.



  1. You are a true digi wizard. Do you know where I can find that sentiment stamp in rubber??

    1. Donna Lee, it's from the Get the Picture collection!

    2. Ah, that's why I don't have it!! It is scheduled to arrive with my May kit!

  2. Ron that is awesome! Love that tutorial! Going to give it a try for sure!

  3. So what does the viewmaster look like after you apply the stuff? Inquiring minds want a picture! :)

    1. I added a photo - sorry I missed that last night, Pam!The difference is subtle, but when added to a layout it's really noticable!

  4. Cute and easy fun - thanks Ron!!

  5. Isn't it great that we can do all that stuff! Love these Ron

  6. Another great tutorial, Ron. I can't wait to give this a try!

  7. Oh, and that stamp should say, "DO try this at home"!!! ;)

  8. Ron, you actually made me believe I can do this one!!!! WooHoo!

  9. You are so the digi master Ron! So cool...the project...and you!

  10. I hate to sound like a digi dumbkopf but I don't see a difference between those two shapes on my screen. What am I missing?

  11. Jennifer, You're not a digi-dumbkopf! the difference is subtle but very evident when printing it out; unfortunately, screen resolution is lower than print resolution (72ppi vs 300ppi) and so it's difficult to see on these small samples.


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