Photoshop: Candy Cane Text

To continue with this month’s holiday themed tutorials, we’re going to create candy cane text! Perfect for your digital holiday decorations or cards!


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The first thing we’re going to do is create the texture. Create a new document with the dimensions 100px by 100px with a transparent background. To ensure that our pattern tiles properly, go ahead and make sure that “Snap” is turned on under the View menu. You’ll see why in a moment. I’m also going to drag out a Guide from the left to find the center of my document. (Don’t see your rulers? Enable them with Command/CTRL + R)

Selecting your Rectangle Tool from the Tools Bar on the left, set the color of this shape to a medium red. I used b60000. Once the color is set, drag out a rectangle in the middle of your document. As long as Snap is turned on, your rectangle should snap to the middle guide when you go to position it.

Now that this rectangle is in place, we need two more. Holding down your Alt/Option key, drag this rectangle to the edge of your document. If we were to place this shape right on the edge, we’d have pretty ugly results when we apply the pattern, so we need to place this rectangle halfway off our document. Dragging it off the edge, as long as Snap is turned on, you should see the middle of the rectangle snap to the edge. That’s exactly what we’re looking for.

When it’s in place, I’m going to change the color of this rectangle to be a touch more vibrant. It’ll give us some variation to our pattern. I choose to use e50000 for the outer rectangles. After that’s complete, duplicate this new rectangle over to the opposite side of your document, making sure it snaps into place.

Good. Our pattern is complete. It may look quite boring now, but once we pop some Layer Styles on it, I’ll spice it up! To save this as a pattern, head up to the Edit menu, then down to Define Pattern, then give a name to your pattern.


Good! We’re ready to create our text. The size of your document is completely up to you. I’m working with a 700x500 pixel document. With the Type Tool selected, pick out your font of choice. I found that choosing a font with nice rounded edges works well for this design. “Pooplatter looks like a good choice. Perfectly fitting for the holiday season. 😉

As for the font’s color, I’m going to use a mostly white font, with a slight touch of red. I went with ffefef. Now, type your word in the center of your document. The size of the font is up to you (I used 230 pt), but remember, you’ll definitely need to tweak the Layer Styles in order to get the result you’re looking for.

Now that the text is ready to go, let’s add our pattern. On your Tools Bar, grab the Paint Bucket Tool, then at the top, change the source from Foreground to Pattern. You should see a dropdown appear to the right. This will give us access to the pattern we created a moment ago, which should be at the bottom of the list.

When you have the pattern selected, create a new layer, and fill it with our new pattern by clicking anywhere inside the document.

Now there are two ways of placing our pattern inside our text. Layer Masks and Clipping. Because we’re going to be rotating the pattern and possibly moving it, let’s go the Clipping route. In your Layer’s Panel, right click on our newly created layer, then choose Create Clipping Mask. This will place our pattern inside our text layer.

What’s nice about Clipping Masks, is we can rotate or move our pattern even after it’s been clipped. Entering Free Transform mode, with my Command/CTRL + T shortcut, you can rotate my pattern until you’re happy with the result. I prefer to stray away from a vertical look.

Now some may be completely happy with this result, and you’re free to stop here if you are, but I’m going to go further with this design. Let’s add a few Layer Styles.

Layer Styles

Let’s start the Layer Styles on our pattern layer. On this layer, let’s first add a Stroke to soften up the harsh edges of our pattern. Basically, I’m going to use a light red (fd8c8c) which will go around the edges of our pattern. If we leave the edges too sharp, the pattern can be quite distracting. Setting the size at 2px should do the trick.

The last Style we’re going to add is a Drop Shadow. We’re not trying to give our pattern depth, we’re actually introducing a third color to the mix. I chose to add a green line to my pattern (008800).

Pefect. Our pattern is complete.

Again, you’re free to stop here if you’re happy, but I’m going to add two more Layer Styles to my text layer, starting with Bevel and Emboss.

This should leave you with a nice shiny looking effect. Now remember, like I mentioned earlier, if you’re working with a larger or smaller font, you’ll probably have to tweak the settings to get a nice result. And finally, to pull our text away from the background, add a Drop Shadow.

And that should do it! You can, hopefully, have text that looks like a candy cane!