How to do distressed, grunge or rubber stamp designs in Photoshop

Grunge style

Put type or whatever you want distressed, grunged or “rubber stamped” on one layer in Photoshop with a white background layer beneath it. The create a blank layer above it (Cmd/Ctl-Opt-Shift-N).

Then you need to create some clouds. Very easy. First of all make sure your background and foreground colours in the Tools palette are the default black and white. To do this click on the tiny black and white squares in the Tools palette to the bottom left hand corner of the foreground and background colours. Or, simply press D!

Now (see below) and go Filter > Render > Clouds.

How to create clouds in Photoshop

Once you have your clouds you need to get rid of all the greys and turn the layer into just black and white. There are a number of ways to do this: Go Image > Adjustments > Curves (Cmd/Ctl-M) and alter the line as seen above or you could go Image > Adjustments > Threshold. (You can get the same effect through Contrast or Levels, in fact!)

Set this layer’s Blending Mode to Screen, Color Dodge or Linear Dodge and play around with the opacity. To get the “holes” smaller on this “dalmation dog” layer, make the layer smaller with Free Transform (Cmd/Ctl-T) and copy it (Option-click and drag the layer with the Move Tool (V) so it covers the desired area.

You can see in areas of the top, pink grunge picture I have copied some “dalmation dog” layers over other “dalmation dog” layers to create a specially distressed effect!

Rubber stamp

Did this help you? If so, please share!

Download my 2 free e-books and 2 free MP3s on running an online business & getting clients

Plus a list of my 12 favorite resources for online business

two free books and two free mp3s and a list of favorite online tools


  1. says

    No one made it easier to understand! Watermarking ‘stamps’ with the postmark ‘rubberstamp’ really looks believable. Thank you so much for sharing. Keep those ideas coming.