How To Create Text Out of a {Guitar} Shape With Photoshop

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Note: the (above) video tutorial was created with Photoshop beginners in mind. 

The following step-by-step instructions are for more experienced users.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Create a New Document

create new document

For this design, set your dimensions as follows; 1920 x 1080 @300ppi. The color doesn’t matter since we’ll create a gradient in the next step.

Step 2: Add a Color Gradient To the Background

add gradient background

The style of our gradient will be Linear. So, make sure this option is activated in the tool options once your Gradient Tool (G) is selected.

To set your colors, click on the long rectangle color box, also in the tool options. This will reveal the Gradient Editor for selecting a preset and adjusting the colors.

Here are the colors I’m using for this gradient;

Now, you can apply your gradient to your background layer. Make sure to hold down your Shift key as you do. This way, the gradient tool will be locked in at a 90-degree angle.

Pro Tip:

The shorter the line you extend out for the gradient, the less of the first color will be used. This results in a quicker transition from one color to another, and the color change is more noticeable.

For a smoother transition of colors, make the line longer. For this project, I started at the top of the canvas and extended the line to the bottom.

Step 3: Add the Provided Image For This Text Effect

add image and rotate

We’re going to use an image of a guitar to guide our text’s warping into that shape. Download this image and add it to your document.

Once downloaded, click on the file from your operating system folder and drag over the Photoshop interface. Once you release your mouse button, it will be added as a new layer!

I’d also like to rotate the image at a ninety-degree angle. Conveniently, the Free Transform Tool is auto-activated. Now, click on the outside of the outline to begin rotating.

If you hold down your Shift key as you drag your mouse down, this will rotate the layer in 15-degree increments. Continue turning until it’s at 90-degrees.

Next, let’s resize from the center by holding down your Alt or Option key. For this to work, make sure you release your Shift key! Increase the size to fill your canvas.

Step 4: Add Some Text

add your text

You’re going to need some text to work with! With your Text Tool (T), set your font type to Oswald and the style to Bold. For the size, let’s put it to 60 and then white for the color.

In all caps, type out the word GUITAR. Hit your Escape to deactivate the text tool, and then grab your Move Tool (V). Reposition the text to align to the left, inside of the guitar.

Then, let’s make the text a little larger with our Free Transform Tool: Command or Ctrl + T. Click on the side of the tool’s outline and drag it to align with the inside/right of the guitar’s body.

Finally, hit Enter or Return to commit to that new size.

Prepare the Text For Warping

Duplicate the text layer, rename it Guitar, and rename the original layer, well, Original. The initial layer is no longer needed at this time. So, make the layer invisible.

Right-click on the guitar layer and select “Convert to Smart Object.”

Pro Tip:

Duplicating layers is one way to work non-destructively. Using adjustment layers is another, although we’re not using them in this project.

Working non-destructively allows you to go back to the original state or edit if the results aren’t satisfactory.

Step 5: Transform Your Text Into a Shape

warp your text

Now that your text layer is ready to be warped, we’re going to use the Free Transform Tool again. The key to using this tool to bending your text is converting it into a “warp” tool.

Right-click on the inside of the Free Transform tool outline and select: “Warp.” That converts the outline into a working path.

Each corner represents an anchor point. Then, on each side, you’ll see two circles. Those represent the handles for the anchor, which are used to warp your text!

Let’s try it. Click on a circle and drag it around. Notice how your text is being warped? Undo that with Command or Ctrl + Z.

For this design, I’ll start with the first circle at the top. Drag up the handle until the first 3-4 letters touch the body’s top edge.

Pinpoint the Warp

It’s pretty easy to wrap your text this way. But, the hard part is getting your text to match a specific shape, like our guitar. It’s not enough to adjust the handle on the opposite side.

Instead, you’ll need to create additional anchor points (with handles) to pinpoint a smaller area for warping.

For example, the letter “T” is too high, and the only way to bring it down is with another anchor and handles. To add an anchor, hold down your Alt or Option key and click to the right of the letter “T.”

Click on that anchor point again to activate the handles. Adjust the handles to warp the letter to the body. Or, you can click on the inside and drag it down to bend the text that way.

Continue adding anchors and adjusting as needed until the word forms the shape of the guitar’s body.

Step 6: Text In the Neck

add your text to neck

Now it’s time to fill out our guitar shape by adding text to the neck and head. First, duplicate the original layer with Command or Ctrl + J, and make the duplicate visible.

Move the new text layer near the neck and make it smaller with your Free Transform tool. Try to make the height match the neck.

Then, convert to a smart object, and duplicate again. Move this new text layer to the right and resize it to fit.

Transform Text to Shape, Again

This time, we are not going to warp the text. Instead, we’re going to use the Free Transform tool to match the angle of the neck.

With the tool activated, click a corner and hold down your Command or Ctrl key. Drag that corner up or down to the neck’s edge. Do the same for the other three corners.

Also, make sure the free transform tool’s left and right sides stay at a 90-degree angle. Otherwise, you’ll change the shape of the letters unnecessarily.

Repeat for the third text layer.


Body, Head, & Neck are names of the different parts of a guitar. I didn’t know this until working on this Photoshop tutorial! Oh, and we’ll be creating shapes for the tuning keys too.

Step 7: Text In the Head

add your text to head

Our final step is to create text for the head and the tuning keys. The steps are similar to the last one. Duplicate the original layer 7 times! One for each key and one for the head.

Reposition each new text layer accordingly and make the text for the keys smaller. Warp the text in the head with your Free Transform tool. Don’t forget to convert it to the warp tool first.

For the keys, it’s not necessary to reshape them. What I did for these was slightly rotate them to match the angle of the tuning keys.

Next, turn off the visibility of your guitar image.

Step 8: Style Your Guitar Shape

style your text

To finish off our design, we will add a stroke to the text and add a color gradient. To start, double-click on the guitar layer from the body.

This will reveal the Layer Style panel. Select “Stroke” from the left panel and set it up with the following settings;

Next, let’s add a Gradient Overlay with these settings;

Now that you have your first layer styled, you can copy and paste the settings onto all the other layers at one time. Here’s how;

Now What?

Now it’s time to practice what you learned with this Photoshop tutorial! It’s the best way to master this Photoshop text effect and anything else, for that matter.

When you’re happy with your text shape, I’d love to see your finished artwork.

If you’d like to share it, get feedback, or ask questions, I invite you to join our private Facebook group. It’s a great place to learn more about Photoshop, ask questions, and get feedback on your designs.

Looking for more Photoshop text tutorials? Check out this playlist that includes over 20 text effects you can master today!

Like this article? If so, please share!

A 30-year photography pro with a desire to help you achieve your creative vision! Facebook | Youtube

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