Using Shape Cutouts to Frame Your Photos

Using Shape Cutouts to Frame Your Photos

Back in the day, when our ancestors used to bring their film (a strip of cellulose nitrate coated with emulsion) into a drugstore (kind of like Amazon’s health and beauty section, but in real life), their photos would be spit out of a machine in neat rectangles and promptly inserted into albums (a book-like object with clear plastic sheets).

Nowadays, with digital photography, photos don’t need to be confined within a quadrangle. They can be shaped as a circle, star, heart, hexagon, and more. That’s what our Shape Cutouts frames are all about. Just select a shape from eight options, size it as you want, choose a transparent or colored background, and you’re on your way to a shapely photo that’ll stand out from the crowd. So go ahead, think outside the box!

Put a ring around it

The PicMonkey circle shape cutout puts a spotlight on your subjects.

Using a circle shape puts a spotlight on your photo, ensuring it gets all the attention it deserves. You can use the circle cutout to make extraneous background noise disappear and place added focus on the part of your photo you want to emphasize. Circles can give your photo or design a retro feel (think opening credits of a 70s TV show—“The Love Boat” anyone?) or they can give you the sense that you’re looking through a peephole (or a porthole, as the case may be).

A star is born

Give your photo some star power with PicMonkey's star-shaped cutout.

You don’t have to go all the way to Hollywood to become a star. Just choose the star cutout in the Frames tab and instantly transform yourself or your subject into a luminary. Did your child get a featured role in the school play? Use the star shape to frame a photo of them on stage. Are you creating an ad for a party or event with different performers? Frame their pictures with the star shape and produce an old school flier or poster.

Tip: To make a poster, save your photo cutouts and check the Transparent background boxes. Then create a colored canvas with the Design tool. Add the shape cutout images on top of it by clicking the Your Own button at the top of the menu in the Overlays tab.

Burst of information

PicMonkey's burst cutout is perfect for highlighting products, sales, and special offers in your online store or marketing materials.

If you have an online store, the burst cutout is perfect for highlighting products, promoting sales and offers, or letting customers know when a particular item is out of stock. Just create a blank canvas in Design, change it to a bright color, and then add the Shape Cutouts frame (make sure “Transparent background” is checked). Add text such as “Special” or “Sale” and save it as a PNG to preserve its transparency. You can add your image as an overlay via the Your Own button so you can use it again and again as needed.

Hearts on fire

PicMonkey's heart-shaped cutout is perfect for adding a little love to your designs and photos.

What would shape cutouts be without the good ol’ heart shape? It might seem cheesy, but if you want to show your affection for someone, frame their photo with a heart and you’re guaranteed to produce loads of lovin’ feelings. You can use the heart shape in a multitude of ways: for your parents’ anniversary, your child’s birthday, your sister’s wedding announcement. It’s love without limits!

Circular collages

It's easy to make a circle collage with PicMonkey's collage tool.

If you really want to break out of the grids that bind you, try making a collage out of your circle cutouts. Photo collages are traditionally made up of square and rectangular images, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t shake things up with circles if you want to lend a more fluid, organic feel to your collage. You can easily create circular images right in the Collage tool. Click on the paint pallet icon on the left to go to Background. Move the Corner rounding slider all the way to 100% to create circular images.


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This article was written by PicMonkey Staff, a multicellular organism of hive-minded sub-parts who just wanna get you the ideas and information you crave, so you can make good pictures and take over the world.
  • Sharvette

    OMG! I love this new feature. Thank you.

  • Sweetdrk1

    go head and do it, do it, do it til ya satisfied!! I love it!

  • LOVE LOVE Love! Thank you for the hexagon!!


  • Sweetdrk1

    hey I need help, I am having issues attempting to use more than one shape. How does one accomplish that?

  • nataly castro

    Como lo puedo obtener quien me pude decir gracias

  • Daniela Massenz

    Hi PicMonkey, you guys rock. Thanks so much for your great app. Will you ever do deep-etch? We’d really love that, and if it’s as simple as the rest of your tools, very happy to pay for the service. also positioning multiple pics in one frame would be fantastic. Here’s hoping!

  • Debbie

    we took pics and I really love most of one but one of the parties is looking the wrong way, so I want to take his head from another shot and put it in this one. Is that possible with PicMonkey?

  • JaxHistory

    can you add more than one photo/image to a creation?

  • Christina Dodge-Dineley

    I am not understanding at all how to use this feature. How do you use say – the round frame with a transparent background? I know how to add a circle to my image, and how to change the color and size- but how do you make it clear to see the image you are laying it over, and how do you make all the rest of the image not covered by the circle- transparent. Thanks for the help!

  • Gina

    I can’t find the Shape Cutouts feature? Does it require a subscription?

  • Jacky

    I would like to do a line drawing of a photo of my house for a Bed & Breakfast logo, can you help me on this one.
    Many thanks.

  • Liam

    This is clever copy but not clear for instructional purposes. Is there somewhere else I can get help with attempting to do this?

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