An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements

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I love making cute customized tags and stickers for different projects and gifts, and I’ve used Photoshop Elements (referred to as PSE from here on out) for many years to do just that. It’s also a great photo editor, but even though I use different software for editing photos, I still love PSE for creating printables.  It’s a pretty reasonable cost (affiliate link–you can download it on Amazon for $69), and there is just so much you can do with it! I love it, and use it often. I think it’s one of the best values you can get for your money!

One of favorite things to do is to create circular text around the outside of my tag or sticker. I think it’s SO cute!  It looks hard, but it really is so easy! In just a few steps, you can make your own text circle, and I’m going to show you how! Here’s the one I whipped up for this example…it literally took me less than 10 minutes!  I’m currently using the most recent version of PSE, but I’ve used this technique for a long time, on much older versions–I think as far back as PSE 5 or 6–so hopefully if you have an older version you will be able to as well!

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com

SO cute, right?  You can put anything you want around the outside.  I have circle business cards, and I put “Simply Kierste” around the outside. I adore them.  I’ve also created them for church events, and recently made thank you stickers from our youth that said the name of our church. You can do anything–something more generic like “thank you”, or something totally customized like your name, business, an event name, and more.  They are adorable on gifts, on the tops of  or tied to mason jars and other jars, and also make totally darling party favors and decorations.

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com

So, are you ready?  Get comfy, and then go ahead and open up Photoshop Elements, and we’ll get started!

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements…

1.  Open a new file by going to File > New > Blank File.  Size it to be 6×6 inches, a resolution of 300,  RGB Color, and Transparent.  You want the size of your file to be double what the circle will end up being, so if you want a larger circle, then just double it.  For example, if you want a 7 inch finished circle, then you would actually type in 14×14 inches.  I almost always do 6×6, because I usually make my finished circles 3 inches or less.

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com

2.  Select View, then Grid. This helps you type in the right spot–directly in the middle!

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com

3.  Click on your Text tool (mine is the green “T”). Select the font, size, and color of your text (I chose Century Gothic, font size 9, gray), then type right in the center of your box, going from one edge all the way to the other–as close as you can. My text is really small, but it is there! I wrote “handmade with love”, with a dot separating each of them. I wanted at least four of them to go around the circle, otherwise it would have to stretch out the text too much in order to make it fit around the circle. Note:  If you are using a dot to separate text like I did, make sure on the last word, you put a dot after it.  It’s going to be in a circle, so you will need a dot there.  This is what mine looks like:

handmade with love . handmade with love . handmade with love . handmade with love .

Click CTRL-T or CMND-T (Mac) to use the Free Transform tool. Click on the edges of your text box to pull the text so it meets the very edges if necessary.  Your text might not go all the way to the edges, but you don’t have enough space to add any more complete text, so this will help you with that.

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com

4. Go to the Image menu, and select Rotate > Rotate Layer 180.

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com

5. Now we need to change the text a little, so it won’t stretch out of shape when it’s formed into a circle.  Click CTRL+T or CMND+T to once again use the Free Transform Tool.  Make sure that you uncheck the box that says Constrain Proportions.  Leave the width the same (100%), and change the height to 400%.  You may end up having to play around with the 400 number, depending on how it looks at the end (if the circle isn’t complete, or overlaps).  You’ll know what I’m talking about at the end, unless it works out perfectly, which is what we’re hoping for!  I’ve had to change that value anywhere from 250%-450%, but 400% worked for this particular text.

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com

Click the green check mark to approve it, then look at your text. This is a vital step!! If the text doesn’t meet the very edges, then click CTRL+T or CMD+T, click on the little boxes on the side, and pull the text so it’s right at each edge.  If you are using a dot to separate your text like I did, you can even pull the last word to the very edge so you can’t see the dot.  It’s still there, and will show up when you make your circle, but it makes it so that your words are close enough together to make a complete circle.

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com

6.  You need to simplify the layer before you can proceed, so right click on your text layer in the Layers Panel, and select Simplify Layer. 

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com

7. Now to make the circle! Click on Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates. Check Rectangular to Polar in the box that pops up.

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com

8. And this is what you’ve got!!

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com

Now what?  I’ll show you what to do if you want to add a white (or whatever color) circle to finish making your tag.

9.  Do you see the white and black squares on the bottom left?  Your circle will be whatever that top square is, so if it’s not the right color, click on it, and select a color.  I wanted mine to be white (#ffffff), but you can choose any color.  Once your color is right, then select the Shapes tool (it’s next to the eyedropper), and make sure the Ellipse tool (circle/oval) is selected. If you hold the shift key down while you’re drawing, it will make a perfect circle!  Draw it big enough to cover your text, although it doesn’t have to be perfectly on top–you can easily fix this after you draw it.

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com

10.  To make the text on top of the circle, go over to your Layers Panel on the right, and drag the shape so it’s underneath the text.  You can compare this picture with the one above it, where you can see that the shape is on top, which is why you can’t see the text. You can also now click and drag the circle so it’s centered on your text.

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com
An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com

11.  Now you’re set to finish your design! I used the text tool to change up the fonts and colors to create my tag, and I LOVE it!

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com

Be sure to save it as a PSD file first, so if you want to go back and make changes you don’t have to start all over again.  Then you can save it as a .jpg or .png, whichever you like.

Wondering what to do next, and how to get them printed?  I open up a new Word file, and make two or three columns, depending on how big I want my circle tag to be.  Then I insert the picture I just created (the .jpg or .png) into my file, re-size as necessary to get it as big as I want it, then copy and paste to fill the page.  I print onto either white card stock if it’s going to be a tag, or 8 1/2 x 11 full sheet white labels, which I LOVE.  I use a (affiliate link) 2 inch circle punch to cut them out.  I almost always size my tags to 2 inches–it’s a great size for just about everything, and I love my punch so much that it makes it super easy.  It’s one of my favorite things!!

If you have a Silhouette, and want to make bigger circles, you can use the print & cut feature to do it.  Just import your circle file you created into the software, then re-size and proceed with the print & cut directions.  You can print from your software, then put it back through your Silhouette to cut them out.  I have a print & cut tutorial for you–it shows you how to create a certain tag at the beginning of the post, so you can always skip that part and go halfway down until it’s applicable to you.

Happy creating!

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About Simply Kierste Design Co.

Kierste is a blogger who shares her love of all things DIY. She is the mother of six, and focuses on simple ideas and projects to make a house a home! When she's not chasing around two sets of twins, a teenager, and a baby, she's working on a project, training for her next race, reading one of her favorite books, or baking something with chocolate in it.

7 thoughts on “An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements

  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I signed up for a free trial version, but probably did not pick the right time to do it. With the kids all home for summer, I have not any time to dive into it. I am currently using Microsoft Word to create tags and would really like to switch over. Have a lovely day!

    1. I totally get it! When school starts again, and you have more time, it’s worth checking into. Another free online site that’s perfect for printables is picmonkey.com!

  2. Thanks Kierste! I discovered Picmonkey a couple months ago and think I am finally getting the hang of it. Have good day!

  3. Thank you so much for this! I have wanted to know how to do this for a long time and can’t wait to open up my PSE and give it a try. You are so awesome and so generous. I really appreciate all that you share!
    :) Sharon

  4. Thank you for this tutorial! It is EXACTLY what I wanted to do and couldn’t figure it out. I will use this as printed tags for my bags, and a watermark on my pics going forward.

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