This tutorial will help to explain how to create clipping masks in Photoshop ELEMENTS :o)  The CLIPPING MASK feature allows you to 'clip' papers (or photos, etc.) to shapes and text.  When comparing to 'real world' applications - think of cutting out a piece of patterned paper to mod podge to a heart made of chipboard :o)  Best of all - this is sooooo easy to do DIGITALLY!  So, follow along below...and have fun customizing all kinds of shapes and text...and whatever else you can think of!

Open up the file/shape that you want to work with (or, create the text that you wish to 'cover')!  In this example...we are working with our EASY AS PIE template shared for free at the Shoppe's BLOG!  Also, open your paper (or photo, etc.) and place it on the shape file.  You will want to be sure that the paper (or photo) layer is ABOVE the shape layer.

Above is a close-up of how your layer palette should appear.  Again, you want your paper or photo layer ABOVE the shape layer that you are trying to 'clip' to.  For this example, we will be 'clipping' the PLAID paper to the TOP PAPER STRIP.

To create a clipping mask, you simply press ALT and G (or COMMAND and G on a Mac) on your keyboard (while on the PAPER layer).  This will 'clip' the paper to the shape on the layer directly below it.

Above is what your layer palette will look like once the paper has been clipped to the layer below it.

If you wish to MERGE your clipped paper layer with the shape below it, highlight or select BOTH layers and simply press ALT (or COMMAND on a Mac) and E.  You'll see that the two layers have now become one new layer. Keep in mind that if you had a drop shadow on either layer...when you merge them together - you will no longer be able to edit that drop shadow.  So, we advise that IF you are going to merge your layers...wait and apply the drop shadow after the merge.

Above, you can see that now the two layers are now merged in your layer palette.

If you wish to LINK your clipped paper layer with the shape layer below it, highlight or select BOTH layers and simply click the LOCK icon in the layer palette (palette bin) - OR - you can RIGHT CLICK and select LINK LAYERS.  You'll see that the two layers are now linked.  This way - you can move either of the layers...and they will stay together.

Above you can see the link icons on the layers :o)

THAT'S IT :o)  I hope you have fun working with this super useful and fun technique!  I cannot tell you how often I work with clipping masks in both my designing and scrapping!



--thanks to Nicole for the PS elements screen shots--