Shaping it Up

Shaping it up … today we are going to explore using text for shapes in regards to our digital scrapping cards and pages.  Shapes can be anything you want them to be.  In addition to the “custom” shapes that come in Photoshop CC, you can also use a font to make your own shape for your project.  Using a few tools, we can make a shape, and then make a path to journal inside it.  Are you ready? Let’s begin!

Anything can be a shape.  Let’s use a letter and journal inside it. I am go to use the Bebas font… a large sturdy font.

Using Photoshop CC, open up a new workspace.  I am using a canvas space of 600 x 600 pixels. Font is “Bebas” [set as size 500; Vertical scale at 100%; and Horizontal scale at 161%; using a dark color of your choice].


In the layers palette, select the text layer and rasterize the text by right clicking with your mouse and select rasterize layer.

Hold down the Ctrl key on a PC (or Cmd key on a Mac) and with your mouse click on the thumbnail of the letter in the layers palette. This will select the letter by placing “marching ants” around the letter (or shape).


Now we are going to put the text in a path. In the layers palette there should be a tab that says Paths.



Select the Paths Tab.

When the Paths tab opens, select the button at the bottom 4th from the left. If you hover over it, it will reflect make a work path from the selection.



The path will be selected. Click on the layer tab to flip back to the Layers Palette and choose font (sample is Arial Narrow) to add a text layer. Put your cursor in the shape and type your text. (Example is filled with the Happy Birthday lyrics.) It will be the outer shape of the B where the text fills the shape.



Add a white fill layer under the “Alpha Shape” layer. Turn off the visibility of the alpha shape,  and you see the text in the shape. Decorate page as you wish.


I used Kate Hadfield’s “Bring on the Cake” (found at The Lilypad) to make a simple Birthday card/message page.

In the layers palette, select the rasterized B layer. Leaving the layer set at blend mode NORMAL, set the opacity to 50% and the fill to 0%. This will make a transparent letter B.

We want to add a stroke and a drop shadow style to the layer, so it will be a “transparent “ 3D letter B.

With the “B” layer still selected in the layers palette, click on the “fx” at the bottom of the layers palette. Now choose Stroke =  size 1, Position = Outside color = Black 000000. Now choose Drop Shadow with settings of:  Blend Mode = Linear Burn; Opacity = 75%; Angle = 90 (uncheck global light) Distance = 5 Spread =0, and size = 8;  Everything else leave as default.


To the text layer we are going to add a layer mask so the inserts of the B are masked.  Press Ctrl key PC (Cmd key – Mac) & the thumbnail of the B in the layers palette at the same time to get the marching ants. Select the text layer in the layers palette. Add a layer mask by clicking on the 3rd button from left at the bottom of the layers palette (rectangle with circle)



Now we want to duplicate the Text and mask layer.  Use Ctrl + J on a PC; Cmd + J on a Mac . That will add another text layer with the mask. Click on the mask on the duplicate and we want to select inverse to get back the text from the center of the B… Use Ctrl + I on a PC or Cmd + I on a Mac. Reduce opacity on the duplicate text mask layer to 30%.




Now, decorate with elements. Adding a text layer and using the free font “Riverside” I centered “irthday Wishes” to the center of the large B, and then embellished with the cake, banner and border along with adding a textured paper to the background for my completed Birthday page/card message.




Hope you found this to be fun – making an alpha into a shape.  See you next time!


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One comment

  • Kate August 8, 2017   Reply →

    What a great technique Christa, so simple but so effective! Thanks for sharing!

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