DigiScrap Talk
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Behind the Scenes: How to Create Custom Shaped Text Paths

If you’ve seen my recent posts, you’ve probably stumbled across my December Daily pages. If you took the time to look at one or two, you might have noticed how the journaling wraps neatly around all the embellishments without really interfering with them. Today, I’m going to show you how to create such a text path that is customized to wrap around your elements and clusters. (This is useful not only for December Daily projects, but for any layout that requires a custom shaped text field.)


In this tutorial you will learn how to …

…  make a customized selection (based on your element and text layers);
… contract your selection; and
… turn your selection into a text path.


Here’s How It Works …


STEP 1 | Duplicate and Merge Layers
Assuming that you’ve already put together your layout, including all the embellishments and element clusters you have wanted to add, go with your cursor to the layers panel, and select all the layers that you want your text to wrap around. Right click on any one of the selected layers and choose “Duplicate” from the pop-up menu. For ease of reference, place all your duplicated layers on top of everything else. Then – while they are still selected – merge all these layers by pressing windows key + E. Now you should have one flat layer of all your elements on top of all the other individual layers.

Duplicate layers


STEP 2 | Make a Selection
Press W to bring up the Magic Wand tool. With the one duplicated layer selected, click anywhere on an empty spot of your layout (anywhere outside the elements that make up your duplicated layer). This will select everything but your merged elements (marching ants).

Make a selection


STEP 3 | Contract Your Selection
Go to Select > Modify > Contract to open a pop-up window which asks you to enter a value for how much of your selection will be contracted.

Modify selection

The value you type in depends on the size of your layout and your personal preferences. I contracted my selection by 25 pixels.

Contract selection


STEP 4 | Manually Reduce Your Selection (Subtract)
Now that you’ve already contracted your selection, you want to further reduce the size of your selection to whatever size you need for your journaling. In my example layout, you can see that I wanted to have my journaling within the parameters of the green field I’d intended for the journaling part. Press M to bring up the “Marquee Tool,” make sure the “Rectangular Marquee Tool” is selected, and that its mode is set on “Subtract from selection” (check in the top right corner of your Photoshop window).

Subtract from selection

Then click and move your cursor over any part you want to deselect.

Contracted selection

In the image above, I removed parts of the selection from all four sides.


STEP 5 | Create a Text Path
While the Marque Tool is still selected, return to the default mode “New Selection” (top right corner again).

New selection mode

Then go with your cursor anywhere within the parameters of your selection (marching ants), and right click to open a pop-up menu. From the menu choose “Make Work Path.” Now the “marching ants” should have turned into a solid outline.

Make Work Path


STEP 6 | Write Your Text
Press T to open up your Text Tool. Make sure to adjust font, font size and color if necessary, then go with your cursor anywhere inside the work path. The cursor turns into the type tool surrounded by brackets. Click inside your selection, and start typing.

Text layer


STEP 7 | Delete Duplication Layer
After you completed typing your text, the last thing you need to do is delete the layer you created when you duplicated and merged all those duplicated layers. Place your text layer as close above your background layer as possible (to make sure it doesn’t sit above any elements it might still overlap with – that would look quite unrealistic!).

That’s it. Easy peasy, and you don’t have to worry about text layers that are illegible because they are covered by other layers any more.

Here’s a look at my finished page:

I hope you found this helpful, and stay tuned, because next time, I’ll show you how to easily change the color on a brushed overlay (like the ones used for my December Daily project which include the date fields in the right corner).

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for another GREAT tutorial. I’ll practise this one tomorrow. I’ve learned so much from your blog. Loving the December Daily, the clustering is so pretty…

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