Outlined Letters

with 18 Comments


With a few simple steps, take your title from boring to outstanding when you create outlined letters!

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Create a new 7 x 5 inch document (File > New > Blank File) at 300 ppi with a white background. (PS: Choose File > New.)
  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black over white.


Step Two: Add Type

  • Get the Horizontal Type tool.
  • In the Tool Options, open the Font Picker and choose a font. I’m using Helvetica Neue Condensed Black. Set the Size to 250 pts and set the Alignment to Center.

NOTE: Using a bold, sans serif font in all caps will give you the best result. To add additional bulk to your letters, use the Bold feature found in the Tool Options of the Type Tool. (PS: Use the Bold feature found in the Character panel.)

  • On the document, click once to place the cursor.
  • Type a word using all caps. I’m using the word YOU.
  • Click the checkmark to commit the type.



Step Three: Clip Paper

  • Open a background paper (File > Open).

NOTE: Small patterned or solid papers work best.

  • Get the Move tool.
  • Holding down the Shift key, click and drag the paper onto the new document.

NOTE: Holding down the Shift key while adding something to a document ensures that the item will land in the center of the document.

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask.



Step Four: Create Stroke

  • In the Layers panel, click on the Create a New Layer icon.
  • In the Layers panel, Ctrl click (Mac: Cmd click) on the thumbnail of the type layer to get a selection outline.
  • Press the letter X to switch the Color Chips.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Edit > Stroke (Outline) Selection. (PS: Choose Edit > Stroke.)
  • In the dialog box, set the Width to 25 px, the Color should be White, and set the Location to Inside. Set the Blending Mode to Normal and the Opacity to 100%. Uncheck Preserve Transparency. Click OK.
  • Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect.



Step Five: Add Drop Shadow

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Layer Style > Style Settings. (PS: choose Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow.)
  • In the dialog box, click to check Drop Shadow. Set the Lighting Angle to 120˚, the Size to 5, the Distance to 5, and the Opacity to 50%. (PS: Set the Blend Mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 50%. Set the Angle to 120˚. Set the Distance to 5, the Spread to 0, and the Size to 5. Click OK.)

NOTE: Also considering using a custom shadow for the outline layer.



Step Six: Use in a Project (optional)

  • In the Layers panel, click on the top most layer to activate it.
  • In the Layers panel, Shift click on the bottom type layer so that all the layers, except the background layer, are active.
  • In the Layers panel, Right click (Mac: Ctrl click) on one of the active layers and choose Duplicate Layers.
  • In the dialog box, set the Destination to your project document and click OK.


Step Seven: Save the Document

  • To retain the layers, save the document (File > Save) as a PSD file with a unique name.
  • To save the outlined letters as a PNG element, hide the background layer and save the document (File > Save As) as a PNG file with a unique name. Then, close the working document without saving.


For my finished project, I ended up needing a different colored paper. So, I swapped the paper out and here is the end result:



Page: Jenifer Juris
Photo: Jesica Johannes (sister)
Kit: Simple Joys by Anita Designs
Extras: Masks from Real Life by Calista’s Stuff
Fonts: Helvetica Neue, Veteran Typewriter



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Jenifer JurisAuthor: Jenifer Juris | Contact Us
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18 Responses

  1. Karla
    | Reply

    I’ve seen these type of words in templates for sale. Now I can make my own. Very cool and limitless! I’m fairly new to PSE (coming from another program) so this is perfect to expand my horizon.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed this tutorial! 🙂

  2. Nell Covington
    | Reply

    So Cute! Thanks, Jenifer.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      You’re so welcome! 🙂

  3. Judy DeWitt
    | Reply

    You guys never disappoint with your tutorials. Even though I probably could have done this on my own with time, experimentation, trial and error and probably a lot of frustration, now I don’t have to! You always provide easy to follow instructions that allow even the most inexperienced scrappers to create beautiful results. Thank you.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Thank you so much, Judy! We appreciate your words of encouragement and we’re thrilled you enjoy these tutorials! 🙂

  4. Kay M
    | Reply

    Neat tutorial. I miss the great monthly tutorials from Digital Scrappers.

  5. abbynormal
    | Reply

    Interesting and cute. I’m gonna try this. Thank you.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      You’re welcome!

  6. Sharron
    | Reply

    Wonderful…thank you for the tutorial and the pdf!!

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      You’re welcome!

  7. Barbara
    | Reply

    Thanks for another fun tut Jenifer.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      You’re so welcome!

  8. Ruth Everson
    | Reply

    Great idea. Easy but nothing I would have thought to do.

  9. Cynthia
    | Reply

    Awesome tutorial, I will definitely try this asap. P.S. I could not find the pdf of this lesson.
    Thank you

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Cynthia, the PDF is now available. Thank you for your patience 😀

  10. Beverly Thiels
    | Reply

    Neat! Why didn’t I think of that?? Thanks, Jenifer.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      You’re welcome! 🙂

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