How to Create a Text Mask in Canva

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Written by Casey Botticello

March 30, 2021

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. For more information, read our full affiliate disclosure statement here.

Product TipCanva is a graphic design tool allowing anyone (regardless of their experience) to create amazing designs using drag and drop tools!

If you don’t already have Canva, try it for free! Canva makes it ridiculously simple to create blog banners, edit photos, and create social media marketing images. It is one of the few blogging tools that I use daily.

Text masking (also known as “knockout text”) is a technique allowing designers to display images, gradients, patterns, and even videos inside the shape of a piece of text. This Canva tutorial will teach you how to create a text mask in Canva, in just a few, simple steps!

Below are several examples of images being put inside text:

For the purposes of this Canva tutorial, we will be recreating the images seen below, although any image can be put into any text shape.

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Steps to Create a Text Mask in Canva

1. Search for The Letters for Your Text Mask

The first step in creating a text mask in Canva is finding and choosing the letters for your text mask.

But how do you find these letters?

First, click on the Elements tab, and search for the term: “letter frame

You may need to scroll down a bit to reach the style of letter frames featured in this article.

Alternatively, you can search for the phrase “letter X frame” (substituting your desired letter for the X). For example, if you search for “letter b frame” you will see the style of letter B frames that will be used in this article:

2. Select and Position Your Letters

Next, select the letters needed to spell your word. For this example, select the three letters that spell the word WIN (W, I, N).

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3. Drag Images Into Letter Frames

Next, you will need to drag the desired images over the letter frames. There are a few things to note during this step:

  1.  When dragging an image from the “photos” tab on your Canva sidebar, make sure that you drag the image directly over the letter before releasing your left click on your mouse. Otherwise the photo may be set as the page background.
  2. You can use one photo for each letter or you can select 3 unique images (one for each letter).
  3. Make sure you successfully drag and drop your photo into the letter frame before attempting to resize the image.

For this example, search under photos for the phrase “background gradient“:

Next, select the pink/purple gradient image as seen below:

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Below is a GIF showing how to drag the photo over each letter properly:

text mask sample gif

4. Align The Image Over Each Letter

Next, align the image over each letter, to create the gradient effect across each letter:

Example #1

You can align the photo however you want. However, for the purposes of this tutorial, align the images as seen below, to create a gradient effect across the 3 letters.

To adjust the photo placement over the letter, first drag and drop the image into the intended letter. Next, double click on the interior of the masked text. This will allow you to move the image around within the text.

You can see the finished product below:

Example #2

Another way to utilize the masked text effect, is to add unique photos to all three letter frames. In the example below, I use three unique but visually similar images. These images were already centered around the woman in the red sweater, so there was no need to adjust their position. I just dragged each image over each letter.

Because the photos are all similar (consistent background color, same model, similar scenes, etc.), this creates a sense of continuity and helps your masked text stand out.

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Example #3

Another example of a cool masked text effect that you can create in Canva, is seen in the example below:

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Creating this text masking effect is actually fairly similar to example 1 featured earlier in this article.

First, to create the effect seen above, search for the image of the girl jumping over a mountain. You can do this by searching for the term “athletic girl jumping” under the photos tab. Next, select the first image:

Second, drag this image over each letter.

Finally, adjust the alignment of the image in the text.

For the letter W, adjust the image so that the black silhouette of the woman in the picture is centered in the letter. For the letter I, move the image a little bit left of center. This will remove the woman from this letter’s scene. Finally, to create a sense of continuity, drag the letter N all the way, right of center.

The net effect is you have successfully “stretched” the image over the three letters. Because the portion of the image is unique in each letter’s snapshot, the text appears to be taken from a single image with a woman jumping across the letters.

Conclusion

Canva is an amazing graphic design tool, and I hope you found this tutorial useful! Click here to read our comprehensive Canva Guide. If you are interested in downloading Canva or trying Canva Pro for free, click here. Below are several related Canva tutorials that you might find useful:

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