You are here: Home » Blog » Tutorials » Designer Tools & Tips » Clipping Masks in Photoshop

Clipping Masks in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns on 5 April 2014
in Designer Tools & Tips,Elements (PSE),Photoshop CS+,Tutorials Pin this scrappy stuff!

Many of you have requested a tutorial on Clipping Masks, so let’s take a look at how useful these can be.

I am using Photoshop CS6 for this tutorial, but the same instructions apply in Photoshop Elements as well.

In the image below, I have clipped my text to the brown paper on this Monkey Business border.  Let’s see how I did that.


This particular border is a PSD file.  The white, torn paper is the bottom layer, and the brown paper is the top layer.  I want to clip my text to the top layer, keeping it off of the torn layer,  to create a realistic look.

I’ve turned the white-torn-paper layer off for better visibility.  I created a new blank layer above the brown-paper layer, and typed my text.


Before going any further, I used the Check Spelling feature in Photoshop to make sure I hadn’t made any spelling errors.  (Check Spelling is not available in Photoshop Elements.)  To find this tool in Photoshop:  Edit > Check Spelling. (For more on this feature, read Check Spelling in Photoshop, a previous Studio Blog post.)

Once I was satisfied with my text, I clicked and held down the ALT key, then hovered my cursor in between the text layer and the brown-paper layer. A down-pointing arrow and little square box appeared, indicating that I was about to clip my text to the layer below (brown paper). (In Photoshop Elements, you will see 2 intersecting circles instead of the square box.)


That is exactly what I wanted to do, so I clicked my mouse, and the text was clipped to the brown paper.  Notice that there is a down-pointing arrow on the Text layer now, and the thumbnail is indented to the right.  These are indicators that the Text layer is clipped to the layer below.

In the image below, you will see that the text is now constrained to the brown paper.  I’ve turned the visibility of the white-torn-paper back onto check how the border looks.  It looks great to me.  Now I will just need to turn the Knit layer off, trim the border, save it as a PNG, and it’s ready to be used on my scrapbook pages.


I used this layered border file because I think it easily demonstrates the clipping technique.  However, you do not have to be working with PSD files to utilize clipping masks.

In the image below, you will see that I created a circle using a shape, placed a Monkey Business Knit over the shape, and clipped the Knit to the circle. (I added a slight bevel and drop shadow to the shape – not the knit –  just for effect.)


That’s how easy it is to work with clipping masks!

Credits:  Monkey Business is a brand new collaboration between LouCee Creations and SnickerdoodleDesigns.  You will find Monkey Business in both designer’s stores.  Enjoy Introductory Sale Pricing of 30% off through April 20th, or chose the  entire Collection at a 48% savings – which is your best value!

 And here is a beautiful cluster to help you get started with your own Monkey Business layouts!

monkey cluster_Revised copy 2

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Janie 5 April 2014 at 8:49 am

Thank you! I never thought of clipping text. I learned something today.


2 Carol 5 April 2014 at 10:48 am

Thanks so much. I am another who has never thought of clipping text. Now I’m looking forward to trying this. Thanks for the wonderful cluster.


3 SnickerdoodleDesigns 5 April 2014 at 12:05 pm

Great, Janie and Carol! Thanks for your feedback!


4 Jo 5 April 2014 at 5:15 pm

Clipping masks can be so intimidating. Thanks so much for another handy use and demo.


5 Marilyn 6 April 2014 at 9:26 pm

Great tut and thanks for the freebie.


6 Su Hall 7 April 2014 at 9:09 pm

Clipping masks used to terrify me, but, now, I use them for everything. When you do an extraction, use a mask. If you mess up, you can change it simple by ‘painting’ back over the boo-boo with the opposite color (black-conceals/white-reveals).

I sometimes turn pretty papers into patterns (Edit>Define Pattern) and use them to ‘fill’ a layer, then, clip that layer (masking) to a paint splotch or stroke and get some cool effects!

Thank you for this tut! I saw you on CL! I don’t know why, but, my first thought was that you looked taller than I imagined. LOL



7 SnickerdoodleDesigns 7 April 2014 at 9:12 pm

Thanks for the feedback, ladies! I love it when you “talk” to us here!
Great uses for clipping masks, Su! (I’m 5’5″ – Thanks for watching creativeLIVE!)


8 Donna 15 April 2014 at 5:50 pm

I love the Monkey Business kit. Thanks for the coordinating freebie.


9 Bet 2 July 2014 at 5:09 pm

Thank you for the tut and the wonderful cluster frame. Love your designs!


Leave a Comment


{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: