How to Make Wood-Burned Letters in Photoshop

Written by steve heap
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How to Make Wood-Burned Letters in Photoshop
Burning or branding letters into wood creates a rustic effect. (Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Adobe Photoshop is a comprehensive software package used extensively by graphic artists and photographers to create and enhance their art. Illustrations created for advertising or displays often require a rustic look, and the effect of burning letters or symbols into a photograph of a wooden surface creates the necessary impact. This branding effect uses the standard tools and filters provided with Photoshop. It only requires a photograph of a wooden sign.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Open an image of your wooden sign or panel in Photoshop. Press "T" to select the "Horizontal Text" tool and choose a solid font, such as "Rockwell Extra Bold" and a font size of around 60 pixels. Click the colour swatch in the text option bar and enter "aa6635" in the box named "#" in the "Color Picker" popup to select a brown colour. Click "OK" to close the colour window. Type your words in this new font onto the wooden sign.

  2. 2

    Select the text layer in the Layers panel and change its blending mode from "Normal" to "Multiply." Reduce the "Fill" to 80 per cent to allow some of the wood texture to show through the letters. Double-click the text layer in the blue area to open up the "Layer Style" option box.

  3. 3

    Select "Inner Shadow" and change the colour swatch by "Blend Mode" to "#7b5013." Set "Opacity" to 50 per cent. Select "Inner Glow" and change the "Blend Mode" to "Multiply" and "Opacity" to 50 per cent. Click in the colour swatch and change the colour to "#a17322." Select "Bevel and Emboss" and change "Style" to "Pillow Emboss" and "Technique" to "Chisel Hard." Click in the "Direction: Down" marker. Reduce the "Opacity" under "Highlight Mode" in the "Shading" section to 50 per cent. Check the box next to "Contour" in the main Style list. Click "OK" to apply all the layer styles.

Tips and warnings

  • Double-click the "T" in the text layer to change the text of your sign. The layer styles will automatically be applied to the new message.
  • Make sure you have the permission of the original artist to reuse an image from the Internet, if you did not take the picture yourself.

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