This is a guest post from Melissa Shanhun of

Help with Photoshop Elements Layers walker 500

Big Walker, created with A New Chapter mini kit by Sugarplum Paperie included in Digi Scrap from Scratch

Layers, image courtesy of Adobe

Layers. This one word stops many would-be digi scrappers in their tracks.

But, I’d argue that layers are almost the best part of digital scrapbooking (SPOILER ALERT: the best part is the Undo button!)

But what are layers?

First, the classic Adobe definition…

Layers are like stacked, transparent sheets of glass on which you can paint images. You can see through the transparent areas of a layer to the layers below. You can work on each layer independently, experimenting to create the effect you want.

So, a layer is simply one image that can be stacked on top of another one.

Let’s think about a paper scrapbook page.

There’s the background paper at the bottom, then the photos, embellishments and other items are stacked on top. Before you glue them down, you can move these around and rearrange the order of the layers.

Image that instead of items on your work table, each item is one layer in Photoshop Elements layers panel.

That is it! The concept of layers is that simple.

In our example, you’d see the paper at the bottom, then the photo, then, say, a ribbon or flowers. Each layer stacks on top of the previous one.

How do layers work in Photoshop Elements?

In Photoshop Elements, you can click and drag your layers around, resize them and even add other special effects. Photoshop Elements’ layers panel is a powerful tool that allows you to get creative with your supplies and photos.

Watch this video, as I explain the practical aspects of working with layers, for scrapbookers. I also show you how to:

Move your layers in the layer stack so that you can see them. Just like you can’t see a button that has slipped underneath a photo in real life, you need to be sure to stack your layers carefully in the layers panel.

Make your layer icons big enough to be useful. Do you want to be able to tell which photo is which in the layers panel? Here’s how to stop squinting and see what’s what on your page.


About the Author
Melissa_Shanhun_2013Melissa Shanhun is a 30-something who lives in Perth, Western Australia with her husband and three little ones. Melissa’s been teaching Photoshop Elements skills to hundreds of women over the past four years, through countless articles, and dozens of online classes and in-person workshops. She is known for making the tech stuff simple, so everyone can use it to make their scrapbooking productive. Melissa loves using technology to document her life and has several hundred layouts to show for it. Melissa is happiest creating, whether with watercolour, paper and ink, software or scrapbook supplies.

You can learn with Melissa at