How to Create a Text Mask in Canva


Text Masking, also known as “knockout text”, is a technique designers use to display images, patterns, gradients, and even videos inside text. In this tutorial, we’ll learn how to mask a text in Canva in a few simple steps.

By the end of this tutorial, you’d have learned to create a design like the one below.

Final Canva text masking design
This is an example of text masking designs you can create using Canva.

Step 1: Find Letters Frames

Before we start, you must find the letters you wish to mask. For example, if you want to mask the word “Bat,” you need to find the letters B, A, and T.

  1. First, click on Elements in the left sidebar.
  2. In the Search bar, search for “letter frame. For masking, you have to choose a frame with an empty image placeholder. In Canva, the placeholder image is displayed as sky, clouds, and hills, as you can see in the screenshot below.) If you can’t find the letter you’re looking for, try searching “letter [your desired letter] frame” instead. For example, “letter a frame” or “letter b frame.”

    Search for letter frames
    Search “letter frame” in the search bar
  3. Once you find your desired letter frame, click on it once or drag it onto the Canvas. You can resize the letter by holding and dragging any of its corners.

    Drag the letter of your choice to the canvas
    Once you find your desired letter frame, drag and drop it onto the canvas
  4. Drag the other letters (in this case, the letters “A” and “T”) to the frame. You’ll see dotted lines on the letters’ top, middle, or bottom to assist you in alignment.

    Drag the remaining letters to the canvas
    Find the remaining letters and drag them onto the canvas

Step 2: Find Images

  1. Click the Photos button in the sidebar.
  2. Click, drag and drop the stock photo of your choice on top of the letter you want it to mask. You’ll have something that looks like this.
    Mask the text by dropping the image onto it
    Find an image that you wish to mask and drag and drop it onto a letter frame on the canvas

    You can drop the same images in each letter, but you also have the option to add different images.

    To remove media from a letter frame, select the letter frame and press Backspace on your keyboard.

    Similarly, you can upload and use your own media (photo, video, gradients) for masking by going to the Uploads section and selecting Upload media. Once the media is uploaded, repeat the steps above to mask the letters.

    Go to the Uploads section
    You can upload your media by going to the Uploads section

Step 3: Add a Background

  1. To add a background style to your image, go to the background section on the sidebar.
    If the background section is not showing up in the sidebar, select More to add it manually.
  2. Next, select a background you like, or search for a specific background.
  3. By clicking on a background style, it will automatically be added as the background on canvas.

    Choose a background style
    You can choose a background style by locating the “Background” section and selecting the one you like.

Example 1

Another way to use the text masking effect is by using the same image in each letter. This is a decent way to spice up your content and make it stand out by avoiding boring simple text or over-the-top text styles and designs.

An example of the same image used in text masking
An example of the same image used in text masking

Example 2

You can try another text masking technique by choosing media with complementing colors and themes. The photos in the examples given below are all similar (they have a consistent background color, similar theme, garment shades, scenes, etc.). This design language produces a sense of continuity and makes your masked text stand out.

An example of a text masking design with similar images
An example of a text masking design with similar images

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