This tutorial will show you how to apply a stamp effect to text or image using Photoshop. In this case we are simulating a rubber stamp, but this effect can also be used to create a grungy or distressed text or graphic effect.
The screenshots you see below may not be exactly what you see these steps in your version of Photoshop, as we’re using Photoshop CC 2015, but the tutorial should be compatible with other versions of Photoshop — and even Paint.NET — and the steps adapt if not identical.
To start, create a new document with a white background of the desired size and resolution.
Go to menu item File † New and select the new desired document size and then click Okay to create it.
Press key t on your keyboard to open the Text tool. Add text with a bold font. We use Bodoni 72 Oldstyle Vet †
Make it quite large (100 points in this image) and type it in capital letters. You can keep the color black.
If you don’t like tight letter spacing with your specific font, you can easily correct it via the character panel. It can be accessed through the menu item Windown † Symbol or click the icon in the options bar for the text tool.
Click between the letters you want to change the spacing between, and in the Character panel, set the kerning to a higher or lower number to increase or decrease the spacing between characters.
You can also highlight letters and adjust the tracking value.
Move the text. If you want the text to be slightly longer or shorter without changing the width, use the keyboard shortcut ctrl+t or Command+T to place a text box around the text. Click and drag the small box at the top of the border line to stretch the text to the size you want.
Click Enter to confirm the setting.
This time can also be used to change the position of text on the canvas, which can be done with the Move tool (shortcut V †
Add a rounded rectangle. The stamp looks best with a round border around it, so use the key you to select a shape tool. With it selected, right-click the tool from the Tools menu and select Round corner tool in this small menu.
Use these settings for the tool properties at the top of Photoshop:
- Ray: 30 (specify document size)
- To fill † No (grey frame with red line)
- Heart attack: the black
Draw a rectangle slightly larger than your text so that it has a small space around it on all sides.
If it’s not perfect, switch to the Move tool ( V ) with the rectangular layer selected and drag it to the desired place. You can even adjust the distance between rectangles and stamp letters with ctrl+t or Command+T †
Add a stroke to the rectangle. Move the layer with the rectangle on it so that it is below the text layer by dragging it from the Layers palette.
With the rectangular layer selected, right click on it and select Overlay options… and then use these settings under Heart attack †
- Mate † 12
- Position Outside
- Fill type: color
- Fill color: white
Align layers and convert to a smart object. Select the shape and text layer in the Layers palette, activate the Move tool ( V ) and click the buttons to align the vertical centers and horizontal centers (these options appear at the top of Photoshop after you activate the Move tool).
With both layers selected, right click on one of them in the layers palette and select Convert to Smart Object † This will merge the layers, but keep them editable in case you want to change the text later.
Select a drawing from the Artist Surfaces set.
In the layers palette, click the button Create a new fill or adjustment layer † It’s the one that looks like a circle at the very bottom of the layers palette.
Select Sample … from this menu.
In the image fill dialog box, click the thumbnail on the left to open the palette. In this menu, click on the small icon at the top right and select Artist Surfaces to open this template set.
Select Washed watercolor paper for the fill pattern. You can hover over any of them until you find the right one.
Click now Okay in the Pattern Fill dialog box.
When asked if Photoshop should replace the current template from the Artist’s Surfaces set, click Okay or To add †
Add a posterization setting. In the Adjustments panel ( Windown † Modifications ) add setting posterize †
Set the levels to about 6. This reduces the number of unique colors in the image to 6, giving the image a grainier appearance.
Make a selection of the magic wand and add a layer mask. With the Magic Wand tool ( W ) click on the most dominant gray color in this layer.
If you’re missing the highlighted gray, deselect it and change the Sample Size value at the top of Photoshop. For this example we used the Point Sample.
After making a selection, go to the Layers Palette and hide the Image Fill layer and the Posterization Adjustment layer. We just had to make that choice.
After hiding these layers, make your graphic stamp layer active by selecting it. Press the button Apply a layer of mask (rectangle with a circle in it) at the bottom of the layers palette.
As long as the selection was made when you pressed this button, the images should look disappointing and look a lot more like a postage stamp.
Apply the Color Overlay style. Your stamping stamp is starting to get a grungy look, but we still need to change the color and apply some more of it. This is done with layer styles.
Right-click an empty area on the stamp layer in the layers palette, as shown to the right of its name. Go to Overlay options… and then select on this screen color overlay and apply the following settings:
- Overlay Mode: clear light
- Color † Select the color box next to Blend Mode and use the following RGB values to create a faded red: R255 G60 B60
- coverage: hundred%
Add an inner glow. If the edges of your stamp are too sharp for a nice rubber stamp, you can apply an Inner Glow to make it softer. reopen Overlay options… on the low if you’re not there yet.
These are the settings we used, just make sure the glow color matches what ends up being your background color (white in our example):
- Overlay Mode: screen
- coverage: fifty%.
- Noise : fifty%
- Technology: softer
- A source: side
- Throttle: 0%
- Mate : 3px.
In the quality section you can leave the default values
If you check the box for Inner Glow, you can see how subtle this addition is, but it’s certainly effective for the overall print look.
Click Okay in the Layer Style window to close the dialog box.
Add a background and tilt the stamp. Now we just need to apply some quick finishing touches.
Add a pattern fill layer just below the stamp image. We used the gold parchment template from the standard set of colored paper. Set the Stamp layer’s blending mode to Vivid Light so it blends in better with the new background. Finally, switch to the Move tool and move the cursor outside one of the corner handles and rotate the layer a bit. Stamp effects are rarely applied perfectly aligned.
If you choose a different background, you may need to adjust the color of the inner glow effect. Instead of white, try to choose a dominant color on your background.
One thing that we noticed after completing the rubber stamp, and you can see it here in the image, is that there is a great repeating grunge mask pattern that we used. This is because we used a texture repeating pattern to create the mask. The next step describes a quick way to get rid of a repeating pattern if you see it in your printout and want to remove it.
Rotate the layer mask. We can rotate the layer mask to mask the repeating pattern in the effect.
In the Layers palette, click the chain between the stamp thumbnail and the layer mask to release the mask from the layer.
Click on the layer mask thumbnail.
Click ctrl+t or Command+T to enter Free Transform mode.
Rotate and/or enlarge the mask until the repeating pattern is less noticeable.
You are done. You’ve used layer masks and learned how to use the rubber stamp text effect.
The great thing about layer masks is that they allow us to make changes later in our projects without having to undo the steps we’ve already taken or somehow know a few steps back that we’re creating this effect. will see the end.