{ Back to the drawing board }

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Hi again, it’s your friendly neighborhood Photoshop addict.

It’s that time of year when it’s acceptable to sit inside all day and watch Star Wars marathons to prepare for the new one coming out. In other words, I’m in Chicago for Thanksgiving week and it’s already snowed enough to a. Make a snowman, and b.) Refuse to set foot outside ever again after making a snowman and watch movies all day.

Snow days are a fantastic excuse to relax and do nothing. Except me being me, I can’t sit and do nothing, so it was a good day for tackling some design tutorials.

Thanksgiving Chalkboard

And, of course, using it for my sorority stuff. Gotta have some excuse for learning all this nonsense.

The chalkboard look, thanks to Pinterest weddings and hipster Instagrams, is really in right now. I’ve always loved vintage-looking things, probably because my mom actually uses chalkboards for parties and decor (and she did that way before Pinterest, or social media, or the Internet in general, was even a thing). And now that the vintage look is this artsy hipster Pinterest thing all of a sudden, why not use it in my designs?

So I spent the past day watching Star Wars starting from Episode IV (obviously) and learning how to make realistic chalk type in Photoshop.

The key to getting a realistic look is this: Chalk isn’t perfect, so your chalk type shouldn’t be, either. After going through millions of tutorials, this is how I managed to boil it down into steps:


  1. Start with a chalkboard image for a background.
  2. Create the words you want in a chalky-looking font. The ones I like best are ones I found for free on dafont.com, “Peach Sundress” and “Bergamot Ornaments.” Just search chalk, and look around for ones that fit your style.
  3. Make sure the color is white.
  4. Go to Layer > Layer Style > Pattern Overlay. Select one of the parchment-looking patterns, then play around with the opacity until you get a nice inconsistency that resembles chalk.
  5. To keep getting that chalk look, select Filter > Noise > Add Noise, again playing around with it until you get it closer to the look you want.
  6. If you really want to be realistic here, get erasing. Select an eraser, probably one of the speckled dot ones, and swipe it over your type to get it looking more like someone hand drew the letters.
  7. Finally, find a brush, color it white, get the opacity down to around 20%, and carefully brush around to add streaks that look like eraser marks. I found that this looked the most realistic when it was over the more erased-looking part of the chalkboard background image I used. Play around with it.

Thanksgiving Chalkboard2

P.S., my posts are obviously not all that helpful if you actually need in-depth tutorials, which is probably the majority of you, so if you want to try this step-by-step for yourself with more detailed instructions, this tutorial is the one I used!


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