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Behind the Scenes: Turning Text Into An Outline

Did you ever wonder how to turn text into an outline? Well, I have the answer for you, in this new quick and easy tutorial.

The Background Story

(you can skip this part, if you’re only interested in the tutorial)

I’ve started working on my December Daily project for this year, and I decided to go with the inspiration by Ali Edwards. She created a set of 6×8 overlays to use as foundation pages.

I really like that style for my own album this year. The only problem: The size. Living outside the US, we just don’t have letter sized paper, and for printing purposes it would be really impractical for me to use her set of overlays. So I decided to create my own overlays – quite similar to hers (I only added a month field to the date corner, because my project already starts in November).

Looking at Ali’s set, I really love how the letters overlap, and simply rasterizing the type doesn’t do the trick to retain that overlapping. So I had to use a different approach – and I found a very simple way …

Here’s How It Works …

In this tutorial you will learn how to …

– create a work path from your text, and
– stroke that path with a brush.


STEP 1 | Create Your Text Layer
Assuming you know how to open a new canvas and use your text tool, simply write your desired text that you wish to outline. If you want your text to overlap, you need to make sure to reduce the tracking by choosing a value below zero.

Change Tracking


STEP 2 | Create a Work Path From Your Text
In the layers panel, right click on the text layer to open the pop-up menu. From the options choose “Create Work Path.”

Create Work Path


STEP 3 | Choose Brush Settings
Before stroking your new work path, you need to make sure you have the right brush settings. Determining your brush settings will depend on your preferences, and the layout you are working with. I chose I simple round brush, with the size of 6.

Brush Settings

Picking the right color before applying the brush will save you time later on.


STEP 4 | Add New Layer
Now, before you stroke your work path, make sure to add a new layer to the layers panel, by simply using the shortcut Windows Key + Shift + N.

New Layer


STEP 5 | Stroke Path
You’ve completed your preparations. Now all you need to do is stroke the path you created: With the new layer selected, press P to select the pen tool. Anywhere within the parameters of the work path, right click to bring up the pop-up menu. Choose “Stroke Path.” This will create a line all along the guidelines of the work path.

Stroke Path


STEP 6 | Delete Work Path
The last thing left to do is to delete the work path after you added the stroke. Simply click on the “Path” tab (on the right to the “Layers” tab), it will show the layer of your work path. Select that layer by clicking on it, and then simply hit delete on your keyboard. That will remove the path.

Remove Work Path

There you have it. Now you’ve just created the outline of your text. Simply delete the text layer in the layers panel, and now you can fully admire your newly created outline!

Outlined Text

This technique also works with shapes and whatever else you can create a work path from.

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