How to Make Rubber Stamp Effects in Paint.NET

Add a grunge or distressed look to text and images with Paint.NET

Rubber stamp effects are often used to create the "distressed" text and images that are popular on album covers, modern art, and magazine layouts. It's possible to make a rubber stamp effect in Paint.NET using texture images.

Instructions in this article apply to version 4.2 of the Paint.NET image editing software, not to be confused with the website of the same name.

What You Need to Make a Rubber Stamp in Paint.NET

Find a photo of a rough textured surface, such as stone or concrete, to produce the distressed effect of the final graphic. You could use a digital camera to take a picture specifically for this purpose, or use a free texture from an online source such as MorgueFile or FreeImages. Make sure the image is larger than the graphic that you are producing. Whatever the surface, it'll be the "imprint" for distressing, so a brick wall will end up making your final text look vaguely brick-like.

Whenever you use images or fonts from online sources, always check the license terms to ensure that you are free to use them in your intended way.

How to Add a Rubber Stamp Effect in Paint.NET

To add a rubber stamp effect to text in Paint.NET:

  1. Go to File > Open to open the texture image you chose.

    A screenshot of Paint.NET with the Open command highlighted
  2. Go to Adjustments > Posterize.

    A screenshot of Paint.NET with the Posterize command highlighted
  3. Make sure Linked is checked in the Posterize dialog box, and then drag one of the sliders to the left. If you prefer an irregular speckled effect, turn off the Linked setting and adjust the colors individually. When you're satisfied, select ​OK.

    A screenshot of Paint.NET's Posterize window with the Linked option highlighted
  4. Select Layers > Add new layer.

    A screenshot of Paint.NET with the Add New Layer command highlighted
  5. If the Layers palette isn't open, select the Layers icon in the top-right corner (next to the clock icon) and check that only the new layer is selected.

    To select a layer, you must click on it. Checking the box beside the layer simply shows or hides the layer.

    A screenshot of Paint.NET with the Layers button highlighted
  6. Select the Text tool, or press the T key and type some text.

    Download the editable text plugin for Paint.NET to go back and change text later on.

    A screenshot of Paint.NET with the Text tool highlighted
  7. Select the Shapes tool or press the O key, then click and drag on the image to draw a rectangular border around the text.

    Change the Brush width settings in the top toolbar to adjust the thickness of the borderline. If you're not happy with the position of the box, go to Edit > Undo and try drawing it again.

    A screenshot of Paint.NET with the Shapes tool highlighted
  8. Make the background visible by clicking the box beside Background in the layers palette, then go to Tools > Magic Wand to select the Magic Wand.

    A screenshot of Paint.NET with the Magic Wand tool highlighted
  9. Select the icon beside Flood Mode and select Global from the drop-down box.

    A screenshot of Paint.NET with the Flood Mode options highlighted
  10. Click anywhere on the texture image, then go to Layer > Delete layer.

    A screenshot of Paint.NET with the Delete Layer option highlighted
  11. Select Edit > Erase Selection.

    A screenshot of Paint.NET with the Erase Selection command highlighted
  12. You'll be left with the rubber stamp text.

    You'll be left with the rubber stamp text.

It is also possible to make a rubber stamp effect with GIMP, Photoshop, and Photoshop Elements.