So for my little logo for this site I have:
I made this myself using free resources I found online. The gold letters I made using GIMP. It’s really, really easy to do, and not only is it a way to get comfortable using GIMP so you can up your skills for creating, blogging, etc. but it can really be a great way to make graphics pop.
GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program and it’s totally free and open source. It’s a good alternative to programs like PhotoShop, which I know for some can be prohibitively expensive, especially if you’re a really casual user. I’ve used both, and while I like the interface and options for PhotoShop, for my needs GIMP works really, really well. If you don’t already have it, you can download it here, and the site also has more tutorials and tips and hints if you need them.
So now you need to decide what you want your text to look like! Do you want a gold foil look? Maybe silver? Pretty much any picture you can find you can convert to a pattern. It’s very important to remember, however, that some images are copyrighted. How are you going to be using your text? Is it just for a personal project, or is it for a commercial use? Make sure that you have permission to use whatever image you use! There are lots and lots of free images you can use online, though, so it shouldn’t be hard to find something you like. And don’t forget – you can always take a photo yourself! For this tutorial, I found an image on Pixabay, which has a lot of free stock photos you can use. I used this gold texture, which is free for commercial use with no attribution required.
This is where you’ll actually need to fire up GIMP! If you’ve never used it before, it can seem a little intimidating. I personally don’t care for the interface, and if you’ve never used a graphics program it might be a bit overwhelming at first. Don’t be afraid to play around! You can figure out how to do a lot just by trial and error. To put the gold texture onto your text, you’ll need to make it into a pattern. First, open the photo of your gold foil/whichever texture you’ve chosen. Then go to Select > All. Then Edit > Copy. Then, all you need to do is go to Edit > Paste as… > New Pattern. Name your pattern something descriptive like “gold” and then save! You’re done! It’s really that easy. And you can do this for pretty much any image.
*NOTE: for big projects, you want a repeating pattern. This method I’ve shown here is good for small projects where it doesn’t matter if the edges line up or not. If you’re going to be filling a large canvas with a pattern, you want it to be seamless.
Write Your Word!
Now, decide what you’d like to make gold! For this tutorial, I did the word “hello.” And as you can see in the post banner, I did “easy” as well! So in GIMP, start a new project by going to File > New. You can make the canvas whatever size you want. 800×600 is a nice, large workspace. IMPORTANT: click on Advanced Options and use the dropdown menu to set Fill With: Transparency. It’s very, very important to have a transparent background.
Select the Text Tool (large black “A”) and choose the font you want. Just like different textures, there are a ton of really beautiful fonts available online. Again, make sure that whichever you choose, you have permission to use it! Many fonts are available for personal use, but not all are free for commercial use, so just double check. If you’d like a tutorial on how to install and use new fonts, leave a comment and I’ll try to make one! For this, however, I used one of the pre-installed fonts called “Amarillo.”
Once you’ve got your font selected, click anywhere on your canvas, and then type the word you’d like to make gold. I used the word “hello.” If you’re using a big canvas – like 800×600 like I did – you may want to increase the size, as well. I set mine to 160.
Go to Select > By color and click anywhere on your word. That will select only the word. Go to the patterns dialog (also Shift+Ctrl+P) and select the pattern you just made. Then go to Edit > Fill with Pattern. And now your text is gold!
Save and Use!
Click Select > None to de-select your text. Now you can save it! I recommend cropping your canvas so that you don’t have all that empty space. Click the Crop Tool, which looks like a little x-acto knife or scalpel, then draw a box around your word. Hit “Enter.”
To save, go to File > Export As. Name the file whatever you’d like, but make sure that the file extension is .png. Save as a PNG! This keeps the transparent background. You want it to be transparent so that when you insert your new pretty word into a project, it’s only the word and not a white background.
And there you go! Ready to use! Just insert the picture file into whatever project you’re working on. You can use this same technique with pretty much any pattern, as well.
If you have any questions or if something was unclear, leave a comment and I’ll try to clarify for you! I’m not an expert by any means, I just know how to do a few little things like this, and for other creative parent-types out there, I thought it might to fun to share! And if you make something, feel free to share a pic or a link so I can check it out!