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How to Create a 3D Paper Cut-Out Text Effect in Adobe InDesign

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Read Time: 5 min
This post is part of a series called Text Effects in Adobe InDesign.
How to Create an Ice Text Effect in Adobe InDesign
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What You'll Be Creating

In this quick and simple tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a paper cut-out effect which you can apply to any text in Adobe InDesign. This type trend would make a fantastic addition to magazine layouts or posters.

If you want to make your design unique, you can easily switch up the font to create a very different look. Head over to GraphicRiver or Envato Elements to source fab fonts for your next project. 

Prefer to learn via video format? Why not check out this video tutorial over on the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

What You’ll Need to Create Your Text Effect

As well as having access to Adobe InDesign, you’ll also need to download the following images and font files to create your effect:

* If you’d like to use a different font for your text effect, go for it!

1. How to Create a Punchy Backdrop for Your Text

Step 1

Open up InDesign and go to File > New > Document. You can create the type effect at any size you wish, but here I’m going to set up an A3 landscape page with the Intent set to Print.

Once you’ve set up the specs for your document, go ahead and click OK

new documentnew documentnew document

Step 2

Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and double-click on the Layer 1 name. In the Options window, change the name to Background and click OK.

Click on the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the panel and rename the new layer Pink Text (or just ‘Text’). Finally, create a third layer and name it Text Texture. 

layer optionslayer optionslayer options

Lock both the Text Texture and Pink Text layers, and click on the Background layer to activate it.

background layerbackground layerbackground layer

Step 3

Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches), and select New Color Swatch from the panel’s drop-down menu (accessible in the top-right corner).

Name the swatch Rose, set the Type to Process and Mode to CMYK. Set the levels below to C=5 M=6 Y=100 K=0, before clicking Add and then OK

Repeat the process, creating three more new swatches with the following names and CMYK percentages:

  • Khaki: C=19 M=29 Y=93 K=38
  • Maroon: C=32 M=98 Y=77 K=45
  • Lemon: C=5 M=6 Y=100 K=0
lemon swatchlemon swatchlemon swatch

Step 4

From the Tools panel (docked to the left side of the workspace), select the Rectangle Tool (M) and drag across the whole page. 

From the Swatches panel, set the Fill of the shape to Lemon

lemon filllemon filllemon fill

Step 5

Switch to the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) and drag across the whole page again. 

Go to File > Place, navigate to the paper texture image you downloaded earlier, and click Open. Allow the paper to fill the image frame completely. 

paper texturepaper texturepaper texture

With the paper image frame selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency. Set the Mode to Multiply to bring through the color below, and click OK


2. How to Create Your Text Effect

Step 1

Lock the Background layer and unlock the layer above, Pink Text.

Take the Type Tool (T) and create a text frame across the center of the page. 

Type in the word you want to apply the effect to, and from either the top Controls panel or the Character panel (Window > Type & Tables > Character), set the Font to Giza Stencil Regular. Make the Font Size nice and generous (here, 270 pt). 

From the Swatches panel, set the Font Color to Rose

character panelcharacter panelcharacter panel

Step 2

With the text frame selected, head up to Object > Effects > Inner Shadow. 

Click on the colored square next to the Mode menu to adjust the Effect Color to Maroon

Set the Distance to about 0.18 in, Angle to 120, Size to 0.25 in, and Choke to 30%. Add about 10% Noise too, to add a bit of texture to the shadow. 

maroon effect colormaroon effect colormaroon effect color

Step 3

Click on Outer Glow in the Effect window’s left-hand menu. 

Switch the Effect Color to Lemon and increase the Opacity to 100%. Set the Size to 0.375 in, Noise to 14%, and Spread to 5%. 

Then click OK

lemon effect colorlemon effect colorlemon effect color

Step 4

Your effect is looking great! All it needs now is an extra bit of papery texture to give the finishing touch. 

text effecttext effecttext effect

Head back to the Layers panel and click on the arrow symbol to the left of the Pink Text name, to expand the layer. 

Drag the text element (which will be the only element on this layer) down onto the New Layer button at the bottom of the panel, to duplicate the element.

layer expandedlayer expandedlayer expanded

Unlock the Text Texture layer, and then drag the duplicate text element upwards and drop this into the Text Texture layer. Then you can lock the Pink Text layer. 

layers expandedlayers expandedlayers expanded

Step 5

Select the text frame now sitting on the Text Texture layer, and go to Type > Create Outlines to vectorise the text. With the vector selected, go to File > Place. Choose the paper texture image we used earlier, and click Open, allowing it to fill the vectorised word. 

With the vector selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency. Set the Mode to Multiply, before unchecking the boxes next to Inner Shadow and Outer Glow, to remove these two effects. 


Conclusion: Your Finished Paper Text Effect

And you’re done! Your type effect’s looking awesome—great work. You can now incorporate it into another layout or simply enjoy it as it is. 

You can find more awesome fonts for creating type effects over on GraphicRiver and Envato Elements.

final text effectfinal text effectfinal text effect
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