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how to add shadow to flat transparent elements


It’s a new week! And it’s time for another fun tutorial for you all. Today, I’m going to talk about transparencies. If you have noticed, I’ve been enjoying adding transparent elements in my digital kits as of late. Well, not only because they are cute but they are so fun to add in a layout and it gives my layouts some pretty but simple accents.

Let’s take a look at these gorgeous layouts from CT Diane and Jhari



Can you see that huge ampersand in their layouts? It’s a transparent element from my Felicity collection. I love it – it’s simple yet it gives a very distinctive definition in a layout. Curious how they did the shadows on that transparent element? Now, that is what I am going to discuss today.

As digital scrapbookers, we know that drop shadows are very essential in our digital layout composition. It gives life to our layouts. So if we don’t give attention to it, our layouts could end up flat and lifeless. Each and every paper and embellishments in a layout has specific shadow in order to bring out a more realistic look to them.

Today’s topic is about a new trend that has penetrated the digital scrapbooking world too – the transparencies! While they are fun to have in a layout, one might find it difficult to shadow. But, after today’s tutorial, I’ll make sure you’re going to have fun adding these beauties to your creations, so worry not.

Let’s start by opening a blank canvass and adding our transparent ampersand from Felicity


By just looking at it, you cannot identify if it is a transparent element or not. To assist us in this tutorial, I pulled my very own Me and Mye Shadow styles. If you don’t have it yet, it’s a wonderful shadow style you can use in creating layouts. With just one click of the mouse, you can apply different styles to your elements.


I opened my shadow styles and used my fabric shadow style on the ampersand element


The ampersand after the fabric shadow style. It has shadows but the element has darkened a bit too. Don’t worry, we are getting there. You have already added the shadow, all you need  is a little fine tuning to it.


To gain better control on the shadow, we need to separate it from the element layer. So from your layers palette, right click on the layer style (fx) and select Create Layer.


Now, you can see the transparency element layer and under it is the shadow layer.


Ctrl-click (PC) or Command-click (MAC) on the element layer until you see the marching ants. Then, select the drop shadow layer and hit delete.


Now, you can already see the shadows outside the element only. This, itself is already good to use in a layout. However, you can still play around with your blending depending on the transparency level of the element or depending on the look you want to achieve. Check this comparison.


I played around with the opacity in the blending options for the first 2 images while the 3rd image is the one we did above. You can achieve different looks on your element just by playing around with them so don’t be afraid to try.

I hope you find this tutorial helpful. Below are some links to other helpful articles related to this post.

Related articles:

comments +

  1. Jhari says:

    Thank you for featuring my page Mye 🙂 It’s an honor to always work with your kits.xoxo

  2. Sheila says:

    Thank you for this tutorial on shadowing a transparency. I found it very informative and easy to understand.

  3. susan dingess says:

    Great tut! Thank you. I bought the kit, elements and smears; love them!

  4. Every scrapper needs this!!! You are invited to share it in the tutorials forum at DigiScrapAddicts (it’s free!!)

  5. Jan says:

    These are my go to shadow styles. Love them and this is a great tutorial.

  6. […] if you haven’t learned how to shadow properly yet, you may want to check how you can shadow flat elements, acrylic and dimensional […]

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I'm Mye De Leon

I'm a mom with a desire to give the best for her family and turned a lettering hobby into a multi6-figure business. These days, I eat strategy for breakfast and turn other businesses into successful empires.

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est 2009

I'm Mye


My business is to help your business generate more revenue so you can be who you want to be.

I'm Mye


My business is to help your business generate more revenue so you can be who you want to be.