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.

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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

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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.
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4. Object>Expand Appearance


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

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6. Object>Path> Outline Stroke

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7. Rotate your text, if you prefer. It makes for a cooler look!

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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.

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9. Now Select your text edit>copy click off and paste> in front
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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?

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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.

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

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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:

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