How to add color and texture to your type with Photoshop

Do you wish you could add more texture to your text for your blog or branding? You can, easily! And the possibilities are endless.

When working in Photoshop, it's easy to quickly add texture or color to your typography. You can make almost any effect desired, such as adding some sparkle with a glitter effect, adding realistic textures like leather or wood, or you can create your own painterly textures for an even more personal feel.

In this example, I'm going to show you how to add a metallic look, a sketched look, and a watercolor look to your hand lettering and typography.

Learn How to Add Color and Texture to Your Type and Hand Lettering
Learn How to Add Color and Texture to Your Type and Hand Lettering

Quick shout-out to Emily for requesting this tutorial. Thanks, Emily!

Step 1: Choose a Font or Lettering Style

For this type of project, I recommend a thicker block font so your text will show through. If you're working with hand lettering like I am for this example, I've used blockier letter styles.

Go ahead and type out your word in Photoshop. Size and position the text as desired. Then, right-click on your text layer and select Rasterize Type.

(Side note, in this example I'm using letterforms for a new font that I'm working on.)

Adding color and texture to your type - step 1 - type out your word in Photoshop
Adding color and texture to your type - step 1 - type out your word in Photoshop

Step 2: Select Your Textures

This is the fun part! First, you need a texture that is large enough for your artwork so you won't have to repeat it. I recommend checking out Medialoot's textures - they have a lot of cool, high-res ones and a lot of them are free. I chose a metal texture.

Adding textures to your typography - select your texture options - metallic gold texture
Adding textures to your typography - select your texture options - metallic gold texture

Step 3: Colorize Your Text!

This is where the magic happens.

Drop your textures into Photoshop on top of your text. Resize the textures by using the Transform Tool (CMD+T or CTRL+T) and hold down SHIFT so your textures don't get stretched out. You want your textures to fit over your text, with an interesting part of the texture over your letters.

Next, right-click on the text layer thumbnail and select Select Pixels. Your text should now have marching ants around it.

Right click on your rasterized text layer and click Select Pixels
Right click on your rasterized text layer and click Select Pixels

Then, select your texture layer in the Layer Panel and click the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layer Panel.

Click on your texture layer and then click on Add Layer Mask
Click on your texture layer and then click on Add Layer Mask

Voila! Your texture is now clipped to the bounds of your letters. (I recommend hiding the text layer underneath before you use the image, or else you can get weird jagged edges.)

Metallic text texture - tutorial complete
Metallic text texture - tutorial complete

You can also play around with the colors and position of the texture until you get the results you want. Just right-click on the layer mask and click Delete Layer Mask to start over.

I like where I ended up with this warmer, penny-colored text.

Play around with color and positioning of your texture over your text until you get the look you desire
Play around with color and positioning of your texture over your text until you get the look you desire

Bonus Step: Create Your Own Textures

What's also fun is you can create your own textures digitally and play around with them.

I also created two backgrounds in Paper and exported them as PNG's (I LOVE the Paper app for digital artwork - read more here).

Adding textures to your typography - select your texture options - scribbled pencil texture
Adding textures to your typography - select your texture options - scribbled pencil texture
Adding textures to your typography - select your texture options - colorful watercolor texture
Adding textures to your typography - select your texture options - colorful watercolor texture

The possibilities are endless!

Sketched texture added to hand lettering in Photoshop - follow this tutorial to learn how
Sketched texture added to hand lettering in Photoshop - follow this tutorial to learn how
Watercolor texture added to hand lettering in Photoshop - follow this tutorial to learn how
Watercolor texture added to hand lettering in Photoshop - follow this tutorial to learn how

Here are some more just for fun. You can see how this Photoshop trick is just a start into what you can accomplish with it.

How to use the layer mask tool to create personalized text and hand lettering in Photoshop
How to use the layer mask tool to create personalized text and hand lettering in Photoshop
How to use the layer mask tool to create personalized text and hand lettering in Photoshop
How to use the layer mask tool to create personalized text and hand lettering in Photoshop

There you have it! If you have any tutorial requests, comment below.

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