1. Design & Illustration
  2. Text Effects

How to Create a Coffee-Stained Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Envato Elements is a creative subscription for digital assets that will offer a library of high-quality, curated content from talented creators and make it available to customers via ongoing monthly or yearly subscription plans.

In anticipation of its launch in 2016, it is offering six free files that you can get by entering your email address on the Elements homepage.

This tutorial will show you a quick way of creating a stain text effect, using some of the free files you get, and some other textures, brushes, and layer styles. Let's get started!

This text effect was inspired by the many Layer Styles available on Envato Market.

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.

1. Create the Brushes

Step 1

Pick the Brush Tool and open the Brush panel (Window > Brush).

Choose the Spatter 24 pixels tip, and change its settings as shown below:

Brush Tip Shape

Brush Tip Shape

Shape Dynamics

Shape Dynamics

Dual Brush

(Use the Oil Medium Wet Flow tip)

Dual Brush

Step 2

Click the Create new brush icon at the bottom right corner of the Brush panel, and then type Stroke Brush for the Name.

Add the Stroke Brush

Step 3

Now choose a soft round tip and modify its settings as shown below:

Brush Tip Shape

Brush Tip Shape

Shape Dynamics

Shape Dynamics





Step 4

Add the new brush and name it Smudge Brush.

Add the Smudge Brush

2. Add the Background and the Text

Step 1

Create a new 1024 x 683px document, add the Canvas oil 01 texture on top of the Background layer, and rename its layer to BG Texture.

Go to Edit > Transform > Rotate 90° Counter Clockwise, and then resize and position the texture as you like within the document.

Add the Background Texture

Step 2

Create the text in All Caps using the font Tallow TC Regular, and set the Size to 250 pt and the Tracking value to 200.

Create the Text

3. Add the Watercolor Brush

Step 1

Open the Watercolor Brushes and Textures file in Illustrator, select the big yellow brush shape, and go to Edit > Copy.

Copy the Brush Shape

Step 2

Go back to the Photoshop document, then to Edit > Paste, and choose to paste as a Smart Object.

Paste as a Smart Object

Step 3

Resize the watercolor brush to stretch it outside the text, and hit the Return key to accept the changes.

Resize the Brush Shape

Step 4

Command-click the text layer's thumbnail to create a selection.

Create a Selection

Step 5

Click the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and make the text layer invisible.

Add a Layer Mask

4. Stroke and Smudge the Text

Step 1

Right-click the text layer and choose Create Work Path.

Set the Foreground Color to White, and make sure to select the watercolor brush layer mask's thumbnail.

Create a Work Path

Step 2

Pick the Brush Tool and choose the Stroke Brush you created earlier, and hit the Return key to stroke the path with the brush tip.

Stroke Brush

Step 3

Now pick the Smudge Tool, and choose the Smudge Brush tip.

In the Options bar, set the Mode to Normal and the Strength to 50%.

Hit the Return key to smudge the stroke.

Smudge Brush

Step 4

Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A) and hit Return to get rid of the work path.

You can then pick the Smudge Tool again, and click and drag slightly around some areas to smudge the text some more manually.

Make sure to make all the adjustments on the mask and not the layer itself.

Smudge Some More

5. Color and Style the Text

Step 1

Click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Hue/Saturation.

HueSaturation Adjustment Layer

Step 2

Click the Clip to layer icon, and then change the Hue to -10, the Saturation to -43, and the Lightness to -3.

HueSaturation Settings

Step 3

Change the watercolor brush layer's Blend Mode to Multiply.

Change Blend Mode

Step 4

Double-click the watercolor brush layer to apply an Inner Shadow effect with these settings:

  • Blend Mode: Color Burn
  • Opacity: 88%
  • Distance: 0
  • Size: 9
Inner Shadow

This will style the edges.

Styled Egdes

6. Make Some Adjustments

Step 1

Duplicate the watercolor brush layer with its Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, and then select the watercolor brush layer's mask and fill it with Black.

With the Foreground Color still set to White, use the Brush Tool to add some of the Splatter Brushes to the text.

You can pick the Eraser Tool and erase any unwanted areas.

Then, pick the Smudge Tool, and use the Smudge Brush to smudge parts of the splatter you added.

Add the Splatter

Step 2

Add a Levels adjustment layer on top of the BG Texture layer, clip it to it, and change the Highlights value to 245.

This will brighten the canvas texture a bit.

Brighten the Canvas Texture

7. Sharpen the Outcome

Step 1

Create a new layer on top of all layers, call it High Pass, and press the Option-Command-Shift-E keys to create a stamp.

Right-click the High Pass layer and choose Convert to Smart Object.

Convert to Smart Object

Step 2

Go to Filter > Other > High Pass, and change the Radius to 2.

High Pass Filter

Step 3

Change the High Pass layer's Blend Mode to Soft Light.

This will sharpen the outcome.

High Pass Layer Blend Mode

8. Add a Vignette

Step 1

Add a Gradient adjustment layer on top of all layers.

Use a Transparent to Fill Color gradient fill, using the colors #f3f2ef to the left and #444444 to the right.

Change the Style to Radial, check the Dither box, and change the Scale to 265.

Gradient Adjustments Layer

Step 2

Change the Gradient layer's Blend Mode to Color Burn.

Change Blend Mode

Congratulations! You're Done

In this tutorial, we modified the settings of stroke and smudge brush tips, and added them to our preset.

Then we added a background canvas texture, created the text, and added a vector watercolor brush as a smart object.

After that, we applied the watercolor brush to the text, stroked and smudged the edges, and changed the coloring of the watercolor brush.

Finally, we styled the brush, added some splatter, sharpened the result, and added a vignette to finish everything off.

Please feel free to leave your comments, suggestions, and outcomes below.

Final Outcome

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