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How to Apply Textures to Text in Adobe Photoshop

How to Apply Textures to Text in Adobe Photoshop main article image
Posted on April 4, 2021 by Katrina Frieze

If you’ve ever wondered how to make beautiful gold, metal, or watercolor look on your text you’re in the right place!

In this tutorial, I will show you exactly how simple it is to add texture to text using Photoshop with the clipping mask technique. You will need Photoshop and your choice of texture image (watercolor, gold, rose gold foil, marble background) to get started.

For my sample project, I created my text with a watercolor texture.

Step 1

Open your Photoshop and create a new document. Choose the size you want it to be and decide if you want it to have a transparent background or not. In my sample project, I picked 3000 x 3000 pixels for my size and opt for a transparent background.

Step 2 

Type out your text using the Text tool. When you have completed typing your text, select all of your text layers in the layers panel, right-click and choose “convert to smart object”. Click here to check out the cute font I used in my sample.

Step 3

Add the texture you want. The fastest way to add it to your Photoshop file is to drag and drop it. You can enlarge the texture using the handles at the corner of the image to change its size.

Step 4

Create a clipping mask using the texture you chose. To do this simply right-click the texture/image layer and select Create Clipping Mask. Make sure that the texture layer is placed right above the text before creating the clipping mask.

Step 5 

Move the image around behind the text to get the position you want. Select the texture layer and click the corner of the bounding box(also explained in Step 3). This will allow you to drag the texture to the position you want and resize it to cover all your text. The same procedure can be applied to the text if you want to move your text. The text and texture layers are fully editable. You can go back in and edit the text without needing to remove or add the texture again.

Step 6

Depending on what you are going for, you can add more elements to your project. For my sample project, I added a gorgeous watercolor floral wreath. As soon as you are happy with your image you may save or export your image. Save it as a JPEG to save a flattened copy of the image with a white background. Or save it with a transparent background as a PNG file. To do this, remove or hide the white background layer, then save the image as a PNG file. Click here to check out the floral element I used in my project. 

And there you go! Now you know how to add texture to your text using the clipping mask technique in Photoshop. This simple Photoshop technique allows you to make textured texts that have a wide variety of uses such as wall art, invitations, logo designs, sublimation (t-shirts, mugs, tote bags), sticker designs, and many more!

I’m pretty sure that you have tons of ideas now with this technique for your future projects, but I’d like to share more simple tricks you can do with your text after you have done the clipping mask.

Option 1: Soften or Cut Away Text Edges

To do this, select the text layer and click the vector mask. Choose the brush tool and select the size and hardness of the brush that fits the style you want. Set the color to black, make sure you’ve selected the vector mask, and paint over the edges of the text. Switch the color to white to restore any parts you’ve removed by mistake.

Option 2: Add More Texture Beyond the Edges of Text

To do this, select the text layer, then choose the brush tool and double-click on the canvas. You’ll be prompted to convert the text to a raster layer. Create a duplicate of the text for backup before you click okay to continue.

Select the brush size that fits your need and set the paint color to white. Start painting around the edges of the text and you’ll start seeing more of your texture appearing. Select the undo tool to remove any mistakes.

That’s it for this tutorial! Have fun and get creative with fonts and different textures applying the brush and clipping mask techniques you’ve learned from this tutorial. Leave me a comment below if you have any questions.

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