How to Put a Picture Inside Text with Free Clipping Masks

How to Put a Picture Inside Text with Free Clipping Masks

Clipping mask with text. Image as font. See-through text over your image. You’ve heard it described a zillion ways, but here at PicMonkey, we call ’em text masks. This awe-inspiring text look can be both polished and fun, and in PicMonkey it’s super easy to achieve. Follow along with these steps or check out our video tutorial and we’ll have you on your way to text masking mastery in no time.

1. Pick your background image

Text Mask, Clipping Mask, Design, PicMonkey, Text

Note the image dimensions, or at least general size. You’ll want it to be roughly as large as your finished product, otherwise you may lose quality by stretching it. Need some inspo? Check out these free stock photo sites to find quality pics that’ll stretch your imagination.

2. Open a blank canvas

Text Mask, Clipping Mask, Design, PicMonkey, Text

From the PicMonkey homepage, hover over Design and select Blank canvas. From there you can select one of our preset sizes. If you have specific dimensions in mind, make a custom canvas by clicking Custom size and typing in your pixel dimensions.

3. Make sure your canvas is white

Text Mask, Clipping Mask, Text, Design, PicMonkey

Using a white background color allows you to isolate your background so it shows through black text. Whenever you open a blank canvas its default color is white, so this should be easy-caprese.

4. Add your text

Text Mask, Clipping Mask, Text, Design, PicMonkey

To pick your text, click the Text icon (the “Tt” on the left side of the Editor). You can also add overlays (by clicking the butterfly icon), or anything else you want to be filled with your image. Just be sure that whatever you add is black. We’re going for lots of chunky text (like the Montserrat typeface) to create lots of space for the image to shine through.

5. Flatten your image

Text Mask, Clipping Mask, PicMonkey, Design, Text

Click the Layers palette button in the bottom toolbar and then click the Flatten image button in the bottom left corner of the palette. This is the most important step. If you want more of your image to show through, you can use the Draw tool in the Effects tab to add some more black to your photo.

6. Open your image as an overlay

Text Mask, Clipping Mask, Design, Text, PicMonkey

Go to the Overlays tab (the butterfly icon), and click Add your own. Your text will be hidden by the image until you adjust the blend mode (which we’ll cover in the next step).

7. Adjust the blend mode

Text Mask, Clipping Mask, Design, Text, PicMonkey

Set your blend mode to Lighten or Add to finish off the look. You’ll find this option in the drop-down menu in your image’s Overlay palette.

Text Mask, Clipping Mask, Text, Design, PicMonkey

BONUS TIP: If you want to use a black canvas instead of a white one, you can totally do that. Just make sure your text and shapes are white, and that you set the Blend mode to Darken. Try it with pictures of the stars!

Want even more text masking goodness? Check out our article on 3 Fresh Looks for Text Mask.


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This article was written by PicMonkey Staff, a multicellular organism of hive-minded sub-parts who just wanna get you the ideas and information you crave, so you can make good pictures and take over the world.
  • Looks really cool! Thanks, I’m off to try it out.

  • KT Peralta-Nielsen

    I love this tutorial! I immediately tried to follow the instructions and created a project. Love it!

  • Suzie Warriner

    Love it!
    Thank you so much. I was literally trying to figure out how to do this just a few days ago.
    You guys are The Best!

  • OK, what am I doing wrong? I’m following all the steps, but once I have the image there, I can’t get to the “image’s overlay palette” to set the blend mode to lighten, as instructed in #7. Right clicking on the image only brings up the usual options like send to back etc. Help please?

    • Debbie Krubsack

      Aline, it is in the font box, where you change the font color. I just did it and it works great! Thank you, PicMonkey, for making it easy for me to be creative!

      • Thanks Debbie, i tried again and the box popped up as if by magic this time! I appreciate your help 🙂

  • Thank you! ~ Thank You! ~ Thank You! Your tutorials are awesome and make my subscription that much more valuable to me!! I tried this and love the results….very cool 😉

  • Oh cool. On the surface sounds confusing, but I bet once I give it a try it will make sense. Looks so neat. I’m off to play.

  • Roy GEORGE


  • This is fantastic. I can’t wait to try it.

  • Guest

    I must be doing something wrong. I lose my entire font when I do this. You can’t tell what I wrote at all. Any advice?

  • Such a great program. You make PicMonkey better all the time and I love it!

  • I figured it out! This is awesome!

  • Miranda

    I’m just trying to get my personal logo on photos… Has anyone figured that one out yet??

    • Noemi Krause

      Hey Miranda. Have you tried uploading your Logo as an overlay? It’s the easiest way to my knowledge.

    • Kate Ford

      You probably mean how to “float it” over the top of the image without a big white square around it? If so, make sure the version of your logo you are uploading is a PNG and that gives you more options to float and blend as an overlay. If you don’t have a PNG version, use an online picture editor to convert the white background to transparent, and then save it, and use that version as an overlay.

      • Miranda

        Trying all the useful help that everyone has given me. Ty

    • Yes, the technique I use is the easiest way I’ve come up with so far.
      1. Save your edited logo to the size you want in the .bmp format using Windows “Paint” (Note: Save logo on a white background in bitmap .bmp format)
      2. Complete your photo editing project and save it to your computer in what ever format you usually save in, using the PicMonkey App.
      3. Now open your newly saved PicMonkey edited photo in Windows Paint.exe
      4. This step is where you add your logo.bmp image… select “Paste from” under the Paste option, in the Home menu
      5. While the logo.bmp file is still selected move it to the position you want it to be overlayed on your PicMonkey Photo (Note: before you deselect the image make it transparent by choosing the “Transparent selection” the last option within the “Select” drop down menu in the Home menu)

      This is an easy technique to use once you get the steps down. Remember you must prepare your logo image first and save it as a .bmp file to be pasted as a transparent overlay. I hope this helps, happy editing!
      – “TrueN2Dpoint”

      • Miranda

        Thanks so much. I’m in the process of trying this now.

  • Noemi Krause

    Hey Miranda. Have you tried uploading your Logo as an overlay? It’s the easiest way to my knowledge.

  • Great Tute!

    Is there a way to make the white in the finished pic transparent instead of white?

    • Noemi Krause

      Hey Poppy, there is a checkbox when you chose the canvas color that says “Transparent Canvas”. Though not sure if it works with the text mask.

    • Noemi Krause

      Never mind my comment… Just tried and it doesn’t work with transparent background.

  • Guest

    Hey Poppy, there is a checkbox when you chose the canvas color that says “Transparent Canvas”. Though not sure if it works with the text mask.

    • Yeah, tried that but the end result shows the pic where the white used to be. I want to just see the letters filled with the image. I’m sure there’s a trick…

  • Kate Ford

    This is a great tutorial, always learning something new. If there was ONE thing I would dearly pay extra for, it’s the ability to outline all fonts. I have downloaded and use fonts which already have an outline of course, but that doesn’t allow you to choose a color (they are usually white with a black outline). If you guys ever added the ability to outline a font, which would work particularly well with this effect since some graphic fills like this floral design would stand out more with an outline effect, I’d be thrilled!

    • What I do for outlining fonts is to place all my text where I want it and in the font style and color I want, then copy all text. Next I change the text to whatever color I want the outline to be and make the text font broader/wider than the original. Finally I paste the original text I previously copied and it overlays the text I changed to the outline color. Now I have the original text as I want it t look with the outline text behind it.

      • Kate Ford

        Thanks Jacob. I’ve been doing that as well — I create a shadow effect of sorts, which is the only option at present. I’ll do an Impact Font at size 30, for instance, in a dark color, and then copy the layer and do it again in size 29 and adjust it just slightly. I then lock the layers. It usually sits just close enough to create a shadow effect, but getting a perfectly even outline for several words or sentences can be tedious. That’s why I wish there was a true outline effect — while there is this slow and somewhat workable solution, I wish it were an unnecessary workaround!

  • Chandra

    Sweet! Thank you! The only other thing I’d love to do with my text is to change the shape (curved, etc). So glad I read this tutorial!

  • tracey Lee

    You cannot right click with a MAC computer therefore how do you get the extra options

    • KathyJMarshall

      set your mouse to 2nd function to right click under system preferences.

      • tracey Lee

        thank you

    • You can also hold control and tap your pad to right click on any site.
      You can also click with two fingers to right click.

  • Phyllis Palmer

    Very cool… THANKS!!

  • This is awesome!

  • yvettebwalker

    What extra options are we talking about? I can right click but I only get the normall cut, copy and paste options. I am assuming you are talking about more than that.

  • yvettebwalker

    Also, how do you take out all the extra leading between the lines of text so you don’t have as much white space? Using Ultra, I get tons of leading.

    • lynda

      I had the same problem. To get around it I used a new text box for each line, so I could move them up to close the gap.

      • yvettebwalker

        Thank you! I will try that!

  • Lis

    This is AWESOME!
    Next can you please work on curving text?? Or if it’s already a possibility can someone tell me how to do it?

    • Yes yes please, PicMonkey! Why have curved banners if you can’t curve text?

      • careywigginsscott


    • suzanne


  • Jessica Osa


  • rabbitwithfangs

    Wow. I have JUST been having trouble wanting to do this! The only way I could was to reverse the overlay and use subtract which was a major pain in my monkey butt. This is awesome. <3

  • Love this! I’m going to try this now 🙂 Thanks for the tutorial!

  • Lourie Fisher

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!!! I’ve been looking for something like this forever!

  • Awesome!

  • Msfeva Feva

    Can we get cell phone and tablet pic monkey . ..

  • Christy Hinnant

    AWESOME! Can’t wait to try it. I also like the grid idea… but sure would be nice if items would show line-up options like Pages does so you know if you’ve got two things in line with each other… would be quicker and easier than popping in a grid and then deleting it..

  • LOVE THIS! Thank you!

  • Grace Augustine

    Absolutely incredible! Thank you so much!!!!!

  • Thank you!

  • Anastasia

    Can I see the tutorial on video somewhere?

  • Agi

    Yes, curve text would be awesome!


  • Anastasia

    Thank you!!