Good news for Element users.
As you know you can’t directly create and use layer masks in elements – but now you can..
I just discovered this from a website
They also create a one click function which does the following automatically but its very similar
Here’s how you do it:
If the layer you want to mask is the background, first convert it to a regular layer, by double-clicking the background layer in the layers palette. Type a name for the layer and click OK, this unlocks it. Or simply duplicate the layer . keeping the background as spare until you’ve done what you want.
Add a solid color adjustment layer using any color as the fill.
Drag the color fill layer below the layer you want to mask. in the layer’s palette, select the layer above that you want to mask, and press Ctrl-G to group it with the color fill layer.
Now the color fill layer will act as a mask on the layer above.
Paint or fill with black on the mask to erase on the layer mask, white to reveal or any shade of gray to reveal just some of the layer.