The Magic Wand Tool – Create Cut-out Paper in a Snip!

with 48 Comments

Don’t you just love the look of intricately designed cut-out papers? They can add such interest to a scrapbook page.

In this tutorial, we’ll use the Magic Wand tool to turn a patterned paper into a beautiful digital cut-out. It will be ready to use on your scrapbook page in just a few simple steps.

Not only will this add extra interest to your pages, but it will also help make your digital papers more versatile!

Tutorial:

PLEASE NOTE: This works best with papers that have well-defined patterns, good contrast, and little or no texture. I’m using the Orange Paper from Carefree by Amanda Heimann, originally included in the August 2012 Digital Scrapper Premier Issue.

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Create a new document (File > New > Blank File) that is 12in by 12in at 300ppi with a white background. (Photoshop: Choose File > New.)
  • Open a background paper (File > Open). REMEMBER — Choose one that has a well-defined pattern.
  • Get the Move tool.
  • Holding down the Shift key, click on the paper and drag it onto your document.

Step Two: Select the Area to Cut

  • Get the Magic Wand tool.
  • In the Tool Options, click on the Add To Selection icon, set the Tolerance to around 35, uncheck Sample All Layers and Contiguous, and check Anti-alias.
    
  • On the paper, click on the area you want to cut out. Marching ants will appear around your selection. If the selection includes too much, simply undo, adjust the Tolerance, and try again. You may need to zoom in to check for stray pixels that you want to add to or subtract from your selection.
    
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Select > Modify > Smooth.
  • In the dialog box, enter 2 or 3 pixels and click OK. This will create a smoother selection outline.
    

Step Three: Make the Cut

  • When you are happy with your selection, press the Backspace key (Mac: Delete key) to Delete the selection.
  • Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to Deselect.
    

Optional Extra Step: Use the cut-out paper as is, or turn it into a clipping mask to use again and again. To do this:

  • Press Ctrl U (Mac: Cmd U) to bring up the Hue/Saturation dialog box. Move the Lightness slider all the way to the left and click OK.
    

Step Four: Save As a PNG File

  • In the Layers panel, drag the Background layer to the Trash.
  • Save the cut-out paper or mask (File > Save As) as a PNG file. Give it a name such as “cutout-pp-orange-carefree-aheimann” (be sure to include the paper designer’s name). When the PNG dialog box pops up, choose None for Interlace and click OK.

Step Five: Use It on a Scrapbook Page

  • You now have a cut-out paper (or mask) to use on your scrapbook pages. Be as creative as you like with it. Change the color, fill it with a gradient, add a texture or style, or even clip papers to it. Finally, add a shadow to suit the paper and give your scrapbook page that extra special lift.

Use the paper whole as a fancy background or cut it up to make interesting paper strips, mats and frames. Whatever you do with it, have fun! Then post your creations in the Digi Scrap Tutorial of the Week Gallery… I can’t wait to see how they turn out.

Happy creating!

🙂 Hx

Credits:
Digi Scrap Tutorial: Cut-Out Paper in a Snip! by Helen Ash (aka SimplyHx).
Layout: Most Wonderful Time by SimplyHx.
Cut-out paper mask made using Orange Paper from Carefree by Amanda Heimann
 (originally included in the August 2012 Premier issue).
Papers and embellishments: Our Holiday by Shabby Miss Jenn
 (originally included in the December 2012 Premier issue).
Clock Stamp and Flourish: Family Yearbook by Julie Mead.
Fonts: Myriad Pro, CK Ali’s Hand.

Download this Digi Scrap Tutorial

48 Responses

  1. Sloginny
    | Reply

    This is so cool. Not only is it an interesting technique, but it touches on so many aspects of the magic wand tool. Can’t wait to try it!

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Thank you so much, I’m glad it excites you! I can’t wait to see your take on this!
      🙂 Hx

  2. Laura (MaggieMayLove)
    | Reply

    Welcome Helen and what a fun tutorial. It’s a great way to add dimension and fun to a scrapbook page. Thanks!

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Thank you for the welcome and I’m so glad you like the tutorial! 🙂 Hx

  3. Tora
    | Reply

    YEHHHH you´r here 🙂 love this and am so going to try it out.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      😀 Thanks Tora, you are so sweet! I hope you have fun trying out the tutorial! 🙂 Hx

  4. Jazzyjudy
    | Reply

    Awesome! I love your page too. Can’t wait to try it.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Thank you very much, that’s very kind of you! Have fun! 🙂 Hx

  5. Janet Hays
    | Reply

    Hi, Hx – and welcome!
    This is a fabulous tutorial – now can you make a chain of cut-out kids like we did in grade school?? Just kidding! I really like this idea and will be using it on my pages. Also, it is so nice to see so many of the Queen’s ladies (from Australia,Canada and Great Britain) as instructors on staff for you all do add so much to this truly great site.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Hi Janet! Well, for my next trick… haha! 😉 Thanks for the fun welcome, and I’m glad you like the tutorial. I agree, this is a really fabulous site! 🙂 Hx

  6. Barb
    | Reply

    Great tutorial, Helen! And your cut-out paper looks amazing on your page!

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      I’m so glad you like it, Barb, that means such a lot to me! Thank you! 🙂 Hx

  7. Jessie
    | Reply

    Tried it and it worked GREAT! Thanks for the tutorial….looking forward to more.

    Welcome aboard!

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      You’re very welcome, Jessie, I’m so glad it worked out well for you! Thank you. 🙂 Hx

  8. Sharron Lamb
    | Reply

    Welcome Welcome Welcome! I know you will be a wonderful addition to the great team at Digital Scrapper. What a fun first tutorial.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Aww, Shar… thank you, thank you, thank you! 😀 I’m so glad you like the tut! 🙂 Hx

  9. C.J. Sturtevant
    | Reply

    Welcome to Digital Scrapper, and thanks for the great tutorial! So many tricks to learn in Photoshop—I truly appreciate your sharing your insider knowledge.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      You’re so right, there is always something new to learn in PS and PSE! Thanks for the welcome and I’m so glad you like the tutorial. 🙂 Hx

  10. Cheryl Raun
    | Reply

    Glad to have you join the Team! I gave the tutorial a try as it looks like a deliciously different element for my stash. I found that the paper you choose is important. The first two I tried had too much mottled color to get a crisp selection. I found one that was more suited to the project, and it worked just fine. I saved it as a clipping mask to be used in the near future. You have inspired me to even try making my own pattern to use as a cutout grid!

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Thanks Cheryl! Oh yes, you definitely have to pick the right kind of paper for this to work well. I’m glad you got there in the end and I’m so impressed that you feel inspired to try something extra too! 🙂 Hx

  11. Nann
    | Reply

    A BIG welcome from me too! Love this tutorial, great for adding demention to a page and so many ways of using it. Great job!

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Aww, thanks Nann! I’m glad you like it too, that means a lot to me! 🙂 Hx

  12. lsattgast
    | Reply

    Great tutorial, Hx! It’s given me some good ideas…

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear that, Linda, thank you so much! 🙂 Hx

  13. Barbara Schladitz
    | Reply

    Glad you’re on board to offer us more insights. I’ve admired your scrapping pages and it’s good to see another regular scrapper step up and offer us different techniques.

    This little trick is a real “keeper”.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      That’s so kind of you to say, Barbara, thank you! I’m really pleased you like the tutorial, it is a neat little trick for reinventing an old paper or two! 🙂 Hx

  14. Beverly
    | Reply

    This is a neat trick! Thanks.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Thank you, Beverly! And thanks for already giving it a go, your cut-out paper turned out fabulous! I’m glad you’re enjoying using the technique. 🙂 Hx

  15. marielouise
    | Reply

    Thank you for the great tutorial. I have seen this before but am always reading for a refresher course on the magic wand tool.
    Welcome to the DS Team..I look forward to seeing more tutorials from you.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Thank you and you’re very welcome! I’m glad you’ve found this tutorial a useful refresher, the Magic Wand is such a handy tool! 🙂 Hx

  16. Jeanne Pahl
    | Reply

    20 minutes ago I was going to quick check e-mail, have my first cup of coffee & then start working on basketball pics I took on Saturday. Instead I found Jen #2 tip to “get off the island”, since my hometown has island in the name it seemed like good advice. Instead of looking at the new tut, thinking “cool” & filing it my collection I decided to try it now. It is WAAY cool, your directions are very clear, & it reminded me of the net on a basketball hoop so I have an idea of where I’m going to use it! Welcome! I LOVE this place!

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Haha, I know that feeling so well, Jeanne! I’m glad that you enjoyed the tutorial and I’m very happy that it worked out so well for you. Thanks for letting me know! Oh, and I love this place too! 🙂 Hx

  17. char
    | Reply

    This was so much fun that I risk going through my whole stash looking for good papers to use – and never getting another page finished! Just kidding, LOL – but it really IS cool. Welcome to The Best Group of DigiScrap Tutorial Instructors EVER.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Haha, I’m glad to hear that, Char! It gets quite addictive, maybe I should add a health warning on here! 😀 Thanks for the warm welcome! 🙂 Hx

  18. Cindy Allison
    | Reply

    Welcome to the Digital Scrapper team. This looks like a really fun technique. I love how clear and organized the instruction is on this site. It looks like you will make a valuable addition.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Thank you, Cindy! It’s good to know that the instructions are easy to follow, we like to make sure that everyone feels they can have a go! 🙂 Hx

  19. Annette
    | Reply

    Congratulations I have always been impressed with your layouts. Looking forward to seeing your tutorials.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      That’s very kind of you to say so, Annette! Thank you for the encouragement. 🙂 Hx

  20. Renee
    | Reply

    Thanks Helen – this sounds like a lot of fun and I love the end results…immediate cut-out and a cliping mask for later!
    I’m going to try this right away…now to find the perfect paper…ohhhh….so many papers so little time 🙂
    Welcome and I look forward to more of your tutorials.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Yes, finding the right paper can take a bit of time at first… so, for myself, I’m going to be checking each new kit I get for suitable papers, and then I’ll pop a copy of them into a folder for alteration at some stage! It’s great to hear that you enjoyed the tutorial, Renee, and thanks for the welcome. 🙂 Hx

  21. Sharron
    | Reply

    Thank you, I can tell it will be great having you here. I use the Magic Wand a lot, but hadn’t thought of doing this – great idea!

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      That’s so nice of you to say, Sharron, thank you. I’m so glad you found the tutorial useful! 🙂 Hx

  22. doris edgar
    | Reply

    Hi I’m looking forward to when I have time to try this. It sounds like something I might be able to accomplish. I want to thank you for the nice
    things you said about the pgs I posted. I’m new to using the many kits I
    have and not sure of myself. But I have decided that I need to try some of the
    many items I have collected sice 2009.

    I want to welcome you to the the digi teachers at digital scrapper. The best
    site I have found the teachers are all fabulous (sp)? I don’t know too much
    about the computer but am learning.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      You’re very welcome, Doris. And, believe me, you are not alone… there’s always something new for each of us to learn when it comes to the computer and Photoshop! Don’t forget to ask in the forums if you need help with anything. Thanks for your lovely welcome! 🙂 Hx

  23. dorisedgar
    | Reply

    Where is the forum. Everyone keeps refering to it I don’t know I may have happened upon it sometime but now I don’t know where it is.

    • Helen Ash
      | Reply

      Hi Doris, at the top of this page is an orange bar with the words ‘learn, create, shop, community and my stuff’. This will help you navigate around the Digital Scrapper website. If you hover over the word ‘community’ you’ll see a drop down menu appear. From there you can click on where you’d like to go. The 3rd one down is ‘forum’ (and gallery just below that). Hope that helps 🙂 Hx

  24. Cassandra Lawrence
    | Reply

    This is exactly what I need to do! Where can I find this tutorial? The effect is shown, but the instructions on how to do it is not? Or am I missing something?

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