How to: Gold-Foil and Watercolor Text Art Without Photoshop (+ Freebies!)

Not only have I spent an excess of time lately designing my blog, I have also been playing with graphic design a little more. Much like my blog layout, I felt as if my Monday in Wonderlands have been lacking a little in love and care, and so I resolved to right that horrendous wrong! Oh, and I have more free things for you because I love you! (If that’s all you want, it’s near the bottom of the post!)

I found this watercolor text art tutorial on one of my favorite blogs, We Lived Happily Ever After, but it uses Photoshop, which I am currently saving up for/comparison shopping with Elements! So instead, I wondered if I could throw something together with similar masking techniques using things already had on my computer and/or free internet tools, And ended up with the images you see above! Wanna know how I did it?

I used Microsoft Word 2013, Paint, PicMonkey and this Free Online Photo Editor, which I found in a Google search. I know that sounds a little sketchy, but for my purposes it worked amazingly! You also should be able to use an earlier version of Word, I just can’t direct you to exactly where all the buttons will be, but they shouldn’t be too hard to find!

Ready to make somethin’ pretty?

Step 1
Do a quick google search find a gold gradient and texture that you like (this was my source). It doesn’t even have to be your ideal color, because you can always adjust the cast, saturation, and even tint. Save this image in a name and place where you will be able to find it, and make any edits you want to in the editing program of your choice.

You will also need to pick a background image! I suggest something relatively light and not too busy for this. You can download some free painted backgrounds I made for ya, or make your own with craft supplies, creativity, and a cell phone camera! (#collegestudentprobs #dreamingofDSLR)

Step 2
The next step is to find a font for your art. You can use one you already have, or use a free online service such as Font Squirrel to download something you love. (Again, I have never had issues with this site downloading or installing anything I didn’t want, but I can't speak for any other sites.) To use a font from online, download it, open the folder, and double click on the file that has the font name, which should open up a new window. Click install in the upper left corner, and you’re in business!

I actually used almost all Font Squirrel fonts, including Edo, Porcelain, Windsong, and Amatic!

Step 3
Open and new word document and select insert > word art (top right). I would suggest picking the third icon if you are in Office ‘13, because it doesn’t have any shadowing. Type your desired text in the font of your choosing and make it as large as it will fit on one page. Change the fill and outline colors to black under “Drawing Tools>Format.”

Step 4
Right-click on the edge of the box around your text and select copy from the drop down menu. Then open Paint and select paste in the upper right hand corner.

Step 5
The white background in Paint will likely be bigger than the text you pasted in. You can either click "crop" right after pasting, so that your text will fill up the page, or create white space around the text. To do this, click on the small box in the lower right hand corner of the white background, and drag it out to create a larger white space. Then press select in the toolbar, click and drag create a box around your text, and click within that box to slide the text around and center it. When you like the centering of your text, save the image.

If you choose to incorporate multiple fonts, you can either copy and paste each Word Art box separately into Paint, or you can arrange it within word, make it as big as possible (including collapsing the tool bars and everything!), and screenshot your computer screen. You then paste that into Paint and crop from there.

Step 6
Go to PicMonkey, and pick the edit function. Open the image with black text that you just saved in Paint. From the icons in the far left, select texture (second from the bottom). Click “your own” at the top of the list, then “open my texture.” Select your gold image that you saved earlier, and change the “blend mode” to “screen.” I usually adjust the “fade” slider to 0% at this stage, but I wouldn’t suggest changing the saturation just yet! You can adjust the coloring of the whole image in just a second!

Step 7
Still within textures, click “your own” and “open my texture” once again. This time, import your background image, and leave the blend mode on “multiply.” You will see your pretty background with that gorgeous gold text sitting right on top! At this point, I typically move the “fade” slider up a little bit (to around 35%), and then click “apply.” After this, I would go back to the “basic edits” menu, and do a few more tweaks with exposure and colors, since the texture feature dulls the background image a little.

Step 8
Save that gorgeous masterpiece you made! And show it off to your friends who spent all that money on Photoshop! (Honestly, I’m just jealously bitter, don’t mind me.)

Now remember that other site I linked at the beginning of this post? That one is really useful if you want to get rid of the little bit of background color that shows through the letters with the “texture” function on PicMonkey, because this free editor allows you to add transparency! (Ooooooh… Ahhhhh.) The downside of this is that you will probably need to use a font with solid lines rather than a paintbrush style for it to work really well. You will also notice a a very very slight border around the edge of your letters, which for my purposes was a-okay! (Free is free after all!)

To use it, repeat steps 1-6, then upload your file with the gold text to this other editor. From there, you can select the “wizard” tab, and select the “transparency” function. Click anywhere there is white in the image, including the centers of letters, and that area will become transparent. Then save in the upper left corner. I use the “save local” option, and it downloads right to my computer.

Open your textured image in PicMonkey, and add it on top of your background with “Overlay > Your Own” in PicMonkey. It basically works as a sticker that you can move around and change the size of, which is super fun.

These fun methods of overlay are super customizable, and you can switch up textures, fonts, and fills however it suits you, like I did in the watercolor ones you see above! You can even use it on quotes you drew up yourself, and maybe for a blog header or something?! Just a thought…

Okay so what about the free stuff, right?:
Well, you can download the textures I used as backgrounds here including a couple bonus ones, to make your own art! (Which you should definitely show me should you choose to make it!!!)

You can also get all the text art you see in the first collage image by signing up for my email list! (I mean, I know I basically just told you how to make it, but then again I’m really lazy so this bribery makes sense to me.) I promise not to be that clingy girl that won’t stop talking to you (did I mention that I’m lazy?) AND I’ll send you special goodies every once in a while, just for being the babe that you are ;)

Shameless self-promotion aside, what’s your favorite way to add a little spice to your photos?

Stay lovely,

Other painted textures and all designs created by me!


  1. Do you know what?? Steps 3, 4 and 5 can all be a lot easier if you set the image size and create the text in pic monkey and then select the "combine" icon which is up there on the panel; with undo and redo. That fabulous option turns everything in the studio into a flat image so the text will then be affected by the overlaying of a texture.

    1. Whoops, that is way easier! I totally forgot that you can use "your fonts" in PicMonkey too!
      Also, I just saw your rendition on Instagram and it is GORGEOUS!


  2. All very exciting. Be on the look out for mine on instagram ;) Thank you very much - this is gorgeous.

  3. Awesome tutorial and what lovely little freebies!

    Rae | Love from Berlin

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by Rae!

  4. Thank you!! I knew it how to do the golden letters, I just didn't do it how to add in a cool background!