Scrapbook Ideas

Tips & Tricks. Ideas & Inspiration. Resources for Scrapbookers.

Tips and Techniques for Shape Templates

In case you haven’t seen this tutorial I posted over at the The Meadow, I decided to share it here at Scrapbook Ideas too! PLUS I wanted to show you some new goodies I just finished for Weeds and Wildflowers :).

I love to make and use shape templates for my pages because they’re a great way to add lots of photos and papers to a layout while also creating a fun paper-pieced look. I’m focusing on shape templates in this post, but the ideas can be applied to page templates as well.

Here’s where I sneak in a shameless plug for my new shape template pack coming to Weeds and Wildflowers Design! All four of these Autumn inspired shape templates are included in the pack. Is the animated preview too much? I just want you to get an idea of what you can do with these (p.s. I was pretty excited that I learned how to make an animated image – look for a future tutorial on that too). 

Leaf Background

Leafy Heart Preview

Mosaic Leaf

Pumpkin Preview

Tutorial for using shape Templates

The shape template I will be using for the following tutorial can be found here, in the Weeds and Wildflowers Shoppe. The papers are from Heidi’s Seeing Stars collection, and can be found here and here. Oh, and I should point out that my tips are based in Photoshop CS, since that is the program I’m familiar with.

Shape Template Basics

When you open the shape template in Photoshop, it will be on a transparent background, and if you look in the layers pallet, you’ll see that the shape is divided into several layers.


It’s really simple to add papers to the template! First, drag the paper you want to add onto your template, and position it directly above the layer you want to add it to.


Next use ctrl+g to create a clipping mask – the paper instantly takes the shape of the layer below! You can now move the paper around, even re-size and rotate it, until things look just right.


Repeat these steps for each layer of the template…see, I told you it was easy :)!

Getting Creative with Shape Templates

You can also modify shape templates by changing things here and there to create your own configurations. Try this: Merge several of the layers together to create new layers. First link the layers you want to merge together by clicking inside the boxes to the left of the thumbnails in the layers palette (an icon that looks like links in a chain will appear next to the linked layers).


Next use ctrl+e to merge the linked layers into one new layer. Repeat theses steps until all your new layers are complete.


Now just add papers as usual. For the example below, I decided to just leave the outer border black instead of covering it with paper. 


Another idea would be to use the eyedropper tool to choose a color from the page, then use the paintbucket tool to fill a section of the template with the matching color. Experiment with different looks – try moving, rotating, resizing, cropping or ‘hiding’ layers too. There are lots of possibilities!


What do you think? If you have any questions, tips or thoughts, please leave a comment (link above), or even link us up to a page you’ve made using shape templates :)! Thanks for stopping by!

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6 responses to “Tips and Techniques for Shape Templates

  1. Melissa October 27, 2007 at 6:22 am

    This is great! I love the way these looked. I think I’m missing where I find this in my Photoshop though. I only see to use the “cookie cutter” tool. And those shapes don’t have multiple layers. Is there someplace else that has the shape templates?

  2. Jess October 27, 2007 at 7:05 am

    Hi Melissa! Thanks – I’m so happy you like the tutorial :)!

    You are right, Photoshop comes with shapes that are not layered. The layered shapes I’m talking about in my tutorial are ones I’ve made – if you like them, you can purchase them at the Weeds and Wildflowers Shoppe :)!

    Here’s the link:

  3. cropandscrapdesigner November 10, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Hi, Jess. I downloaded the pumpkin freebie and love it! I am new to photoshop and can’t seem to get my selected paper to fill my layers. I tried dragging my selected paper above the layer I desired, pressed ctrl plus g and all that appears is a square shape of my selected paper. Can’t get it to take the shape of the layer. Please help if you can. Thanks so much!

  4. Jess November 10, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks so much!!! I’m so glad you like the template :)!

    What version of Photoshop do you use? I use Photoshop CS and ctrl+g works, BUT if you use Photoshop CS2 or higher, the keyboard shortcut is ctrl+alt+g, I think. I’m not sure about earlier versions of Photoshop. A quick way to check the keyboard shortcut for your version is by looking up the command in the pull-down menu (under Layer>Create Clipping Mask in my version) the keyboard shortcut is often written to the right of the name of the command.

    I hope this helps! If not, let me know and I will do some more sleuthing :)!

  5. amor aka LOVE November 26, 2007 at 1:21 am

    I saw this one in WW and I didn’t know that the Jess in PCLayers I’m seeing is the same Jess who designed this :) I haven’t use it but I really like the design.. So I might create LO with this for PClayers contest ;)

  6. Jess November 26, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    That would be wonderful LOVE! I am really enjoying the pages you have been making for the PCLayers contest, and I’d love to see you make one with one of these templates too!

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