Chalk Text Effect

This tutorial explains how to modify a simple chalk brush then use it to create a nice colorful chalk text effect.

The Final Result

Tutorial Details

  • Software Used : Photoshop
  • Version : CS6 Extended
  • Time : 0:30 – 0:45


Step 1

Open the Blank Vintage Chalkboard image, then use the Crop Tool to get rid of the corners and the black background.

Chalk Text Effect step 1

Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels, then change the Shadows value to 20, and the Gamma value to 0.88. This will darken the image.

Chalk Text Effect step 1

Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, and change the Saturation value to 10. This will make the colors a bit more vivid.

Chalk Text Effect step 1

Step 2

Create the text in white using the font Blokletters Potlood, and the font Size 270 pt.

Chalk Text Effect step 2

The text in this tutorial is created in two separate layers to demonstrate using more than one color, but you can go ahead and write your text in one layer.

Chalk Text Effect step 2

Step 3

Open the Brush panel (Window > Brush), then modify the Settings as shown below:

Brush Tip Shape
Choose the Chalk 44 pixels brush.

Chalk Text Effect step 3

Shape Dynamics

Chalk Text Effect step 3

Dual Brush
Choose the Spatter 14 pixels brush.

Chalk Text Effect step 3

Step 4

Make the text layer(s) invisible by clicking the eye icon(s) next to them.

Chalk Text Effect step 4

Right click the text layer and choose Create Work Path.

Chalk Text Effect step 4

Pick the Direct Selection Tool, set the Foreground color to White, and create a new layer on top of all layers then call it Chalk.

Chalk Text Effect step 4

Right click the work path and choose Stroke Path.

Chalk Text Effect step 4

Choose the Brush option from the Tool drop down menu, and make sure that the Simulate Pressure box is un-checked.

Chalk Text Effect step 4

This will stroke the path with the chalk brush. Hit Enter to get rid of the work path. Keep in mind that different font sizes might need different brush sizes.

Chalk Text Effect step 4

Step 5

To stroke each letter with a different color, you need to create the work path first, then, click and drag using the Direct Selection Tool to select the letter’s anchor points.

Chalk Text Effect step 5

Set the Foreground color to whatever color you like, lighter tones will look better. Then, stroke the path as you did previously. Don’t hit Enter/Enter until you’re done stroking all the letters.

Chalk Text Effect step 5

The colors used here are:

  • S – #f5989d
  • c – #fff799
  • h – #bd8cbf
  • o – #fdbd89
  • o – #79bcde
  • l – #82ca89
Chalk Text Effect step 5

Step 6

The last thing we’re going to do is add a simple adjustment layer to enhance the coloring a little bit. To do so, click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon down the Layers panel, and choose Gradient Map.

Chalk Text Effect step 6

Make sure that the adjustment layer is on top of all layers, then change its Blend Mode to Multiply and its Opacity to 40%.

Chalk Text Effect step 6

The gradient uses two color, #c3ae99 to the left, and #ffffff to the right.

Chalk Text Effect step 6

And you have your chalk text ready! Old school stuff, but timeless indeed :)

This is a Facebook cover version (Right click > Save Image / as…).
Have a great school year ;)

  • Bitte

    Fantastic – i love the chalk text.
    Thank you so much for your great work . Thank you for sharing with us.

    • textuts

      Glad you do :)
      Thank you very much for your kind words.

  • andrei

    Thank You! :D

    • textuts

      You’re welcome :)
      Thanks for the comment.

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  • Nicolas Raymond

    Wonderful tutorial, I never thought of applying brush effects using your method, but I think it opens the door to a lot of other possibilities beyond a chalk board.

    Thanks also for crediting and linking back to my chalk board image on deviantart (it’s me somadjinn :-) Do you think it would be too much to ask if you could change the link to point to the same image on my free stock photo website?

    At the same time, you might find other practical images to use in your tutorials.


    Nicolas Raymond

    • textuts

      Glad you liked it. There are definitely many ways to use the brushes with all the settings available.

      Sure can change the link :) Thanks for the sharing your stock and for the kind comment as well.


      • Nicolas Raymond

        Welcome :-) I bought and scanned that blackboard with the intention of super-imposing type and graphics, and I’m glad you found good use for it too. I’d been thinking of doing the chalk texture part in Illustrator then importing to Photoshop and blending it in, but with this method it’s one less step for me to do in Illustrator.

        Thanks for changing the link to by the way. It’s a relatively new website, so I appreciate every bit of extra exposure.



        • textuts

          It’s always great to find such stock for free, so thanks for that :)
          Glad you found the tutorial helpful as well.

          Good luck with your website, and thanks once again.


  • PSDDude

    Great effect!!!!

    • textuts


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  • Diddubi

    Grandiosa idea , me encanta :D (y)

    Great idea, I love it :D (y)

    • textuts

      Glad you do :)
      Muchas gracias for the comment ;)

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  • Furrer

    Hi, thanks for sharing! I’m working with cs4 and it seams that it only strokes the path and not the filling. Even though I increase the brushsize. Can you help? What am I doing wrong :)

    • textuts

      Are you using a different font or font size? Does the stroke thicken when you increase the brush size? You can either increase the brush size a bit more until the whole text is filled, or stroke the edges then fill the remaining parts manually.

      Hope this helps. If the problem still exists please feel free to add a reply.

  • Shana

    I work on cs6,after applying ur settings of brush i dint get the same look as of ur brush looks in the preview,also after applying the stroke path the effect is applied to the borders(i.e the two separate path of fonts)it doesn’t fill the work path.

    I used a different font but i don’t think it would affect in any case.don’t know whats the problem:(

    Can you help?

    • textuts

      Actually, both the font and font size affect the result. When the work path is stroked, only the edges are affected, and the text is not supposed to be filled, but the brush size used here made it look so.

      Please check my previous reply and it’ll hopefully clarify the matter a bit more.

      Please feel free to add a reply if you have any other queries :)

      • Deborah W Halasz

        I couldn’t get my font to 270 because of the size of the chalkboard. I did download the image instead of right click, but it was still too small for the size 270 font. Instead I have it at 70. I’ve already stroked each of the letters, and the font shows through – almost glowing. I tried clicking the eye on the text layers, but the chalk is too blurry when I do that. You mention that I can change the size of the brush. Can I do that after I have already done the stroke? Or do I need to go back to the beginning?


        • textuts

          As for the image size, you might want to check the Resolution of the document you’re working with (Image -> Image Size). If it is not 72 (300 for example), you’ll need to create a new document and set it to 72, then recreate the effect.

          And as for the brush size, this can be a bit confusing. If you can take a screenshot of the issue that’d help a lot. But I’m guessing this might have to do either with the resolution as mentioned above, or with the Opacity of the brush or the layer.

          So when the Brush Tool is selected, make sure that both the Opacity and Flow values in the Options bar are set to 100%, and that the layer’s Opacity and Fill values are set to 100% as well.

          Hope any of those tips help solve the problem. If not, please feel free to link to a screenshot please.


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  • Robin

    I’m stuck at “Right click the work path and choose Stroke Path.” Should I be on the text layer when I do this? When I right click, I don’t get the menu, I get a box that only says “Background” or “Select Similar Layers.”

    What is the chalk layer for?

    • textuts

      You don’t exactly need to be on a layer, but the “Chalk” layer should be the active (selected) layer.

      To get the “Stroke Path” option, you need to right click inside the document, not right click the layer itself.

      Now the work path is basically created based upon the text itself, so that’s why you need to be on the text layer when you create the work path. The “Chalk” layer, however, is for adding the brush stroke, because the brush can’t be applied to the text layer itself unless it’s rasterized. And that will make both the original text and the brush stroke merged in one layer, which we don’t want. That’s why a separate layer is created for the brush.

      Hope this helps. Please feel free to add a reply if you still have any questions.


    • Robin

      I figured it out. I needed to click on the pen tool in order to get the right click menu to show me the “Stroke Path” item.

      Thanks so much for this tutorial!

      • textuts

        Glad you did :)
        Thanks a lot for the comment.

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  • Sandro

    The result looks great. Thanks for the instructions.

    • textuts

      Thank you for the nice comment.

  • mark erickson

    Thank you…I must admit am kind of a “dev” guy–you know, php/javascript/databases and that sort. But(!), your easy-to-understand tutorials that give GREAT results are inspiring the creative “designer” in me. Good work–keep it coming!

    • textuts

      That’s so cool!
      Glad you’re enjoying the tutorials.

      Thank you very much for your kind words, I really appreciate them.


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  • 7roof

    great thanks for this tut

    • textuts

      You’re welcome.
      Thanks for the comment.

  • Sanggameboy

    This is awesome :D
    I will use it for my school facebook :)
    Thank you very much ^^

    • textuts

      That’s great!
      Thanks a lot for the kind comment :)

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  • uday

    i need the link of the brushes u used in this tutorial

    • textuts

      They are Photoshop default brushes, so there is no download link. Can you find them in the Brush panel? Are you using CS6 or another version?

      • Darrine

        Hello, I love your tutorial so much, it looks so great.
        But my question is, I find the chalk brushes, and follow your instruction, but it did not appear the same as you show on the step 3, help please? I use CS5. Thanks.

        • textuts

          Can you please give more details? Like for example, how did yours turn out? What is the difference between the result you got and the one here?

          You might need to check that the Brush Tool Opacity and Flow values are set to 100% in the Options bar. And also please make sure to use the exact same settings shown in the tutorial.

          Please feel free to leave a reply with more details, and a screenshot of the problem if possible.

  • renata

    I only have a word. A 3 letter word actually. WOW.

    • textuts

      Thank you, thank you very much!
      Glad you like it :)

  • UesugiChezt

    thanks for tutorial
    this tutorial help me for my project for school
    keep make a great tutorial

    • textuts

      That’s great to know!
      Thank you very much for the kind comment and for the support.

  • Tanja Rigby

    why when i stroke path is it just giving me the outline and not filling it in solid. I am new to Cs6 and the steps have me a bit turned around. Please help.

    • textuts

      This might be because you are using a different font or font size. Please check this reply for more details.

  • Sydnee

    This looks fabulous! This is the exact look that I am after, but I can make it work on my program. I have Photoshop Elements 8, and by going through your tutorial, the version you are using has a LOT more options available for the brushes. I guess that’s why I’m struggling, I don’t have that many options or even a menu for the brushes. Do you know anything about Photoshop Elements 8? Is there a way I can achieve your look with it?

    • textuts

      The brush used is a Photoshop CS6 default brush, but I do believe you can find it in Photoshop Elements as well. Did you try resetting the brush preset you have to get the default brushes?

      If you can’t find the used brush, you can use this one instead, and you’ll get a very similar result.

      hope this helps.

      Thank you so much for the comment.

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  • Tyson

    So awesome. Thank you so much for this. What an excellent tutorial. A++

    • textuts

      Very glad you like it.
      Thank you very much for the kind comment and the A++, means a lot :)

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  • a

    have a file psd ??

    • textuts

      Unfortunately, we do not provide PSD source files for free download.
      But please feel free to add any queries you have and we’ll make sure to answer them.

  • http://N/A Chris


    This tutorial looks great, and I have it almost looking the same, but the font size you’re using is way to big for the blackboard image I downloaded, am I missing something?

    • textuts

      Did you make sure to download the blackboard image by clicking the download button below it and not right click then save?

      Thanks a lot for the comment :)

  • LovelyBlueOrchid

    This is awesome, thank you so much. I used your tutorial to create a chalk effect on a vintage frame brush. I’m using CS2 but it worked perfectly.

    • textuts

      That’s great!
      Thanks a lot for the comment.

  • Habibur Rahman Khan

    After making this…
    i’m remembering the School Days…
    we make drawing with color chalk…
    Now i’ll use photoshop for Chalk Drawing

    Thank you so much for this tuts…

    • textuts

      Yeah! Good ol’ school days!
      I actually still prefer chalk to whiteboard!

      Have fun with it.
      Thank you very much for the nice comment.

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  • Sherlyn Chin

    IT’S EASY!

    • Rose

      Amazing outcome!
      Thanks a lot for the comment and for sharing your work :)

  • Javad Abbasi

    i create action for this effect ! but when write “hi teacher” and start action ,but write “back to school” !! … how to solve this problem! plz hlp me

    • Rose

      Not really sure how you recorded the action, but this might be because you recorded creating the text, while you should start recording after that.

      Hope this helps :)

  • Aini Raihan

    why i cant be like you ? the brush is just follow the work path line , help me !
    but , somehow , it’s good ! thanks (^_^)/

    • Rose

      Are you using a different font size? That might be the issue.
      You can manually fill the empty spaces though :)