Artsy Word Boxes

with 9 Comments

Artsy Word Boxes
by Syndee Rogers-Nuckles

Add an art journaling look to your pages and projects by highlighting type using the Pencil and Blur Tools.

Step One: Open a Scrapbook Page

  • Open a layered scrapbook page (File > Open) to which you would like to add artsy word boxes.
    Or, create a new 12 x 12 inch document (File > New > Blank File) at 300 ppi with a white background. (PS: Choose File > New.)
  • In the Layers panel, activate the top layer.
  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black and white.

Step Two: Create the Text

  • Get the Horizontal Type tool.
  • In the Tool Options, choose a Font and Size. I’m using 1942 Report at 20 pt.
  • On the document, click to place the cursor and type a phrase, sentence or quote.
  • Click the checkmark to commit the type.
  • Make sure the Type tool is still the active tool.
  • To reposition the phrase, press the Ctrl key (Mac: Cmd key) and click and drag directly on the sentence. In my example, I’m placing my phrase in the bottom right corner of my scrapbook page.
  • Add additional lines of type using the previous instructions.

For Additional Lines of Type:

  • In order to avoid editing previous type layers, you may need to press and hold the Shift key while placing your cursor.
  • Make sure to leave enough room to draw your artsy boxes around each sentence.
  • Reference the screenshot below.


Step Three: Add the Messy Lines

  • In the Layers panel, click on the Create a New Layer icon.
  • Get the Pencil tool.
  • In the Tool Options, set the Size to 4 px, the Mode to Normal, and the Opacity to 100%. Leave Auto Erase unchecked.
  • On the document, click and drag to draw lines around your type.

Line Drawing Suggestions:

  • Vary the length of each line.
  • Draw more than one line on each side of the type to give it a sketched look.
  • Reference the screenshot below.


Step Four: Blur the Messy Lines

  • In the Layers panel, make sure the lines layer is active layer.
  • Get the Blur tool.
  • In the Tool Options, open the Brush Picker and choose a Hard Round brush. If you don’t see a Hard Round Brush, open the drop-down menu and choose Default Brushes. (Photoshop: Open the fly-out menu, choose Reset Brushes, and click OK.)
  • Set the Size to 24 px, the Mode to Normal, and the Strength to 50%.
  • On the document, click and brush over your artsy lines to blur them. This will give them a smooth and smudged look. Leave some lines unblured to add realism.


Here is my finished page using this technique. Notice that I also created some squiggly lines using the same technique to accent the photo and suggest movement in the puddles of water. I’d love to see what masterpieces you come up with in the Digi Scrap Tutorial Gallery.


Page & Photo: Syndee Rogers-Nuckles, Dasha Petrenko
Font: 1942 Report
Kit: ScrapSimple Paper Templates: Art Mix Borders by Syndee Rogers-Nuckles
Software: Photoshop Elements 14, Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.5

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Syndee Rogers-NucklesAuthor: Syndee Rogers-Nuckles | Contact Us
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9 Responses

  1. Donna
    | Reply

    I love this style, Syndee. I can’t wait to try this!!!

  2. Jo
    | Reply

    Great tutorial! Thanks so much. And yes, Jenn is not the only one interested in that photo effect.

  3. Coralie2
    | Reply

    Thank you…I love your tutorial…sure I Will try it when I come back home….We are on holiday in Paris….

  4. Nannette Dalton
    | Reply

    What an awesome tutorial Syndee… Love it and can’t wait to try it!

  5. Su Hall
    | Reply

    You are so clever! Thank you!

    • Syndee Rogers-Nuckles
      | Reply

      Thank you so much!

  6. Jenn Colquhoun
    | Reply

    Syndee, I would love to learn how you treated the rubber boots photo. I haven’t seen anything like that before.

    • Syndee Rogers-Nuckles
      | Reply

      Hi Jenn,
      Unfortunately, I created that photo effect a couple years ago and can’t remember exactly how I did it! LOL If I happen to figure it out I will let you know!

      • Jenn Colquhoun
        | Reply

        That’d be great, Syndee. I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one interested in this photo treatment.Good luck.

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