Crumpled paper text tutorial 
by Susannah Wollman
Joyfully Yours, Susannah

This easy tutorial will give you a nicely crumpled text that can be used for text or embellishments. I think you'll like the finished product and encourage you to play with the settings to get your own special result.

Start out by opening a new document. My default size for scrapbook elements is 1800 x 1800 pixels at 300ppi. Set the background to white and the color mode to RGB 8 bit. This will give you all the quality you need to print the text, to offer it in a kit you design, or to spice up a layout.

Step 2. Fill the background layer with a dark color. There are two ways to do this: make the background layer active and press option+backspace on a Mac or alt+backspace on a PC; or choose color overlay from the layer style menu. I've used blue, but any dark color will do. We're looking for good contrast here, between the background and the finished text.

Step 3. Create a new layer and fill it with a grunge pattern. Either: fill the layer with white (or any color, for that matter) and double click on the layer to open the layer style box, choose your pattern, and then merge (Cmd+e or Control+e) that layer with an empty layer you create above it; or go to Layer Style>Color Overlay and choose your pattern when the pattern menu opens; or go to Edit>Fill and choose Pattern from the drop down menu.



Next, set the overlay to opacity at 50%.

Step 4. Now we turn to our text. You'll need a bold, sans serif font in a large size. I've used Gill Sans Ultra Bold (a free font) at 324pts. Using the horizontal text tool, type your first letter. Since I'm spelling my name, my first letter will be an S. I want it to look like I've pasted the letters down, so I'm going to rotate it just a little. Command (control)+ T activates the Transform tool. You may want your letters to be straight, but I think rotating it slightly makes it a bit more realistic.

Step 5. Open the Layer Style window by double-clicking on the layer icon. Click on Color Overlay, then on the block of color beside Blend Mode, and enter e9e6e6. 

Step 6. Click on Drop Shadow and apply the following values:

Go to Layer>Layer Styles>Create Layers. Now the shadow is on its own layer, and the color overlay is on its own layer, too.

Step 7. Now let's make merge the color overlay layer with the text layer by selecting both layers and pressing ctrl+e.

Step 8. With the pen tool in path mode, draw a path similar to the one shown below and make the path active my pressing ctrl+enter.

Step 9. Let's put the selection on its own layer by pressing shift+ctrl+J. This puts the slice of the letter onto a layer above the letter layer.

Step 10. Now let's remove the shape we removed in the last step, from the letter itself. Do this: Select the letter layer, then ctrl+click on the layer above it (with the shape in it). Now you have the marquis (marching ants) in the shape of the object above . Simultaneously, press alt and the "add layer mask" button at the bottom of the layer. We have now created a mask in the shape of the piece of letter that we removed in step 9. Press command+d to deselect the shape.

Step 11. Select the layer with the small shape on it and go to Edit>Transform>Distort, and drag an edge out slightly away from the letter. Use the Dodge tool if you want to make the fold appear "up" and the Burn tool if you want it to appear folded back. Select several more areas (corners are easier) and repeat the process.

Step 12. Now let's deal with the shadow. Select the layer with the shadow on it and go to Edit>Transform>Distort. Drag a point out away from the letter to give the shadow a more realistic shape. The shadow is very dark, so let's lighten it up a bit. While the layer is still selected, double click to bring up the style palette and change the blend mode to overlay, and lower the opacity to 50%.

Step 13. Finally, let's give the surface a little more realism by  adding a crumpled texture. First we want to merge all the layers from the letter up to the top. Do that by selecting all of them and then pressing command+e. Choose a crumpled texture and copy and paste it over the top of the topmost layer (the one with the letter on it). While keeping that layer active, click on the letter icon to select the shape, and then press shift+command+i to deselect the letter shape and select instead all the area around it. Hit delete. Now you have a crumpled texture over your letter. Make it semi-transparent by selecting Linear Burn from the blending mode drop down menu. 

[After layering the crumpled texture, I decided I wanted the shadows a bit darker. This I accomplished with an overlay layer where I used my Dodge and Burn tool to a greater extent. I like using an overlay, because you can change the depth of the highlights and shadows easily without actually compromising the image itself.  For a tutorial on using an overlay layer, see "Using layers to achieve more realistic shadows."]

Voila! The final letter, which looks very realistic.

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