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Grunge Text Effect Tutorial

The Grunge/scratchy effect has grown more and more popular for t-shirt designs and I thought I would share one way of how I’ve recreated this design in Adobe Illustrator CS. Our Goal is to go from this plain looking piece of text to a stylish grunge design.

1. Start out with one or two distress patterns. These will be used to create the grunge scratchy effect overlay on your text. These particular patterns I used can be found free at U.S. Screen Print and Inkjet Technology, thanks to Scott Fresener.

Step 01- tutorial 01

2. Write out some text. For this tutorial, I’ll be using the word Ireland but can you write whatever you so please. Outline Text. Type> Create Outlines

Step 02- tutorial 01

3. Apply a stroke weight to your text. I used 2 point and chose an artsy charcoal brush. I also used the same color as my future background for the stroke.
Step 03- tutorial 01
4. Object>Expand Appearance


5. Stroke>Fill Color> Round Edges, and increase stroke to two or three

Step 05- tutorial 01

6. Object>Path> Outline Stroke

Step 06- tutorial 01
7. Rotate your text, if you prefer. It makes for a cooler look!

Step 07- tutorial 01
8. Select one of your distress patterns and place it on top of text. Object> Arrange>Bring to Front and color if you like. I used a grey color.

Step 08- tutorial 01

9. Now Select your text edit>copy click off and paste> in front
Step 09- tutorial 01

10. Object> Compound Path> Make ( with the top layer of text) . Select Pattern while leaving the text selected ( use ALT). Object> Make Clipping Mask. Looking nice, huh?

Step 10- tutorial 01

11. Bring second pattern over on top of text. Make pattern same color as the background ( choose white like I did if you are designing for a t-shirt or some other type of merchandise… and save as a a transparent image) Tweak if necessary to any color of your liking.

Step 11- tutorial 01

12. Admire a job well done and begin to make wonderfully great art with this simple but stylish look.

Step 12- tutorial 01

If you have any questions or comments, leave a message below or contact me using my contact form located on my site.

Here are a few products that I created with this style:

In association with Zazzle.comIn association with Zazzle.comIn association with Zazzle.comIn association with

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Comments (13)

  • rachel


    How neat! What a great tutorial!! Thanks for that.

  • Michael


    Amazing tutorial. When you put it all down like that it seems so easy, but I have trouble even envisioning what steps it would take to get from the beginning to the end. Can you really just look at something and know what it would take to get to that finished product? Amazing.

  • Cinco tutoriales Illustrator : Canal Apple


    […] te muestra cómo mejorar las gráficas de Exel por ejemplo. Otro de los efectos interesantes es el Texto Grunge de ConnectedtoChrist. Si los tutoriales en inglés te abruman, IllustrationClass tiene una cantidad […]

  • Amefehemsheax


    This is the official homepage of the Farise site portal.
    Official site has lyrics, sounds, articles, tour dates, discography, pictures, FAQ, and message board.

  • Siobhan Gunning


    Great tutorial, thanks. I use Illustrator a lot for type and initial images and then usually bring it into Photoshop for effects, but the more I can do directly in Illustrator the greater the overall flexibility it gives me. I’m self taught and it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you that I know as much as I do in terms of designs programs. So, thanks again. I’ll be stopping by frequently.

  • sandrar


    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  • TheUglyVector


    Found this on accident but im glad I did!
    Off to Illustrator.

    Cheers All!


  • Free


    p.s. You have a very good theme . Where did you see it?

  • PEKE


    Hi i have so manu time lloking for ” These particular patterns I used can be found free at U.S. Screen Print and Inkjet Technology” i what to know if you can share that patters whit me? becouse i can not find them, pleas if you know a way to find this paterns i`ll be so thank whit you sorry about my english.

  • Headboard Light ·


    adboe illustrator is feature packed and i love all of its great features ‘

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