How to make text with texture in Gimp

21 Mar

Recently I am learning some basic use of picture editing software. My main goal is to serve for my game prototypes. Photoshop is undoubtedly famous, while it’s very costly. So I choose gimp, another very powerful image editing tool. Plus, I find that gimp has some features designed for software developers. For example, it provides some in-built templates to quickly design buttons, logos and so on. You can download gimp here, it’s an open source software on Windows, Linux and Mac.

OK, let’s get down to the business. How to make text with texture? I conclude two effects you may want to make. Please refer to the below two images.

wood_texture_text            wood_texture_text_finish

Now let’s build these two effects step by step.

First one

Step 1: Open the texture file. If you want to practice along with my steps, you can download the below texture file.


Step 2: Add a text layer by using text tool in gimp, and enter anything you want. Adjust the color, font, size and position. For example, see the effect below.


Step 3: Make sure that you select the texture layer in the layer panel. Then select the “Select by Color Tool”, and click the texture. You can adjust “Threshold” and “Feather edges” parameters to get different selection effect. In my case, my configuration is followed below.


Step 4: Select the text layer in the layer panel, right click it and add a layer mask from the selection.


Step 5: Press “Select –> None”  and enjoy the miracle.



Second one

Step 1: Open your texture and type the text like the above step 2.


Step 2: Select the text layer in the layer panel, right click it and select “Text to Selection”. You will get the effect like below.


Step 3: Click the eye symbol on the left of the text layer to hide the text layer. Select the texture layer in the layer panel. Then click “Selection –> Invert” to invert your selection. This step is to select the whole non-text area.

Step 4:  Press “Delete” or click “Edit –> Clear”. Enjoy the miracle.



Gimp is a very powerful and easy-using tool, and this is my first time to use gimp (actually also my first time to learn image editor software). In general, gimp is a good and inexpensive substitution of Photoshop. Hope this small tutorial can help you with gimp and inspire you to come up with more effects. I am sure that there are many other more terrific ways of achieving texture effects on texts. Please free feel to share with us. Sharing is a virtue. Smile


Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Art


Tags: , , , ,

6 responses to “How to make text with texture in Gimp

  1. Maisun

    March 22, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Thank you very much. you are a life saver.

  2. Brad Ramey

    April 12, 2016 at 3:21 am

    What if I dont have the “text to selection” option available?

    • Liv

      June 12, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      You use “Alpha To Selection” they have changed it. 🙂

  3. ykylie

    March 21, 2017 at 8:31 am

    YAY! Thank you. I have come back to this several times. Really appreciate the easy tutorial.

  4. E. C. “Chuck” Stout

    December 11, 2018 at 7:46 am

    All of this is useless since Gimp has updated the program now – how about explaining for the newest version? because neither solution you describes work! All I want is some textured text to place on a photo of a leather book thats not the same frigging color of the book!


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