Texture in Inkscape

So I have been using Inkscape for many years now and I absolutely love it.  I remember when I was taking some Adobe Illustrator classes in college that I would use Inkscape instead because it was so much easier and faster to use.  There were however occasions where there were some assignments for the class that simply could not be done in Inkscape.  I have decided to go and look at some Illustrator tutorials and see if I can replicate the concepts in Inkscape.

This first tutorial is a fun one.  I found the tutorial here:

This is a great website and I will probably be using it more for some Inkscape tutorials.

Let us begin!

We will want to start by creating a box.  Any color is fine. Go ahead and add a gradient to it. Once the box is complete, duplicate (ctrl+d) the box.  Now open up the layers dialog box. Create a layer called background and another layer called background texture.  Select one of the boxes and move it to the background texture layer (shift+page up).

Now with the box in the background texture layer selected, go to Filters>Filter Editor...  Here we will create the filter we are going to use for the background.  Play around with this. (This step was completely new to me and is pretty fun to play around with!)

In the filter dialog box press new. Rename the filter to "Background Texture."  Now press Add Effects: Turbulence.  Change the Type to Fractal Noise.  In the Filter General Settings we will take the filter back to the original size. Coordinates= 0,0. Dimensions = 1,1.  Adjust the Effect Parameters until it is to your liking.

Now go to Filters>Colors>Desaturate.

After you have done that, you can move the boxes together. Put layer mode on Multiply and take down the opacity of the texture layer (I did 45%).  Now the background looks like it has some texture.

Let us beef this up a bit so we can highlight the text some.  Select your original box and duplicate it.  Add a radial gradient to your new box.  Make sure the center is white, then place it on top of the original box.  I took the opacity of the gradient on mine to 70%.  See below:

Now that we have our background ready, we will do something pretty similar only now with some text.  Create two new layers. Name the first Text, and the second layer will be named Text Texture.  In the Text layer write anything you would like (I am writing TEXTURE).

I used the font ChunkFive with a font size of 70.  At this point I should mention a wonderful website I discovered this morning.  It is This site has commercial free fonts that are great for graphic design.  Most of the fonts I have are downloaded from this site.

Give your text a nice gradient. It is nice to have it whitish on top and greyish on bottom. Do what you would like then place it in the center of your background.

Now that your text is in place, duplicate it and move the duplicate to the Text Texture layer.  On this text, we will apply the filter Filters>Texture>Rough Paper.

You will notice that the filter distorted the text. We do not want this.  To fix this, we will open up the filter editor. Filters>Filter Editor...

You should see a filter that has been applied to the text (select and de-select to make sure you are working with the correct filter).  Under the Turbulence effect, you should see a Displacement Map effect.  Select that then turn the scale down all the way.

Now that the shape is back to normal, we can place it directly over the text in the layer below.  Change the blend mode of "Text Texture" layer to multiply, then turn the opacity down to 20%

Select the non textured text and duplicate it. Make the fill black and blur it a bit. Put it underneath all the text so it creates a nice shadow.

Now is should look something like this:

We will give it some more text. Create a new layer called "Additional Text."  Add your text.  I wrote INKSCAPE using the font "HamburgerHeaven" size 50.

Add a gradient so that it is darker on top and slightly opaque on bottom.

To give it some more dimension, we will add some highlights.  Duplicate the text. Take out the fill of the new text and make the stroke a white gradient that is whiter on the bottom than on top. You can blur it a bit then put it underneath the original text.

That is it!  You are done!

It should look something like this:

This is a great way to add some texture without having to use Gimp (or Photoshop).  It might be a bit of work but is super quick once you have done it once or twice.

About McKay Christensen

After having lived in Oregon, Alaska, and China for the past 10 years doing landscape design and English teaching, I have returned to my home state of Utah and currently work for a growing tech company.

In my free time I enjoy working on my website where I post tutorials and reviews (and anything else I think is geeky) and I also like to write songs for my Super English Kid Youtube channel.

My favorite things to do include anything with my wife and son. Hiking, camping, and photography (or anything else outdoors). Playing Ultimate Frisbee or Ping Pong. Listening to 60s, 70s, or 80s, music. 

Feel free to contact me using my contact page. I would love to hear from any of you!


  1. where are the other tutorials

  2. just check to the right of the screen... or go to the home page. The site is pretty new still (just a month) so I have not put up a ton of tutorials yet.

  3. Thanks a lot.
    Anyway I did it.

    Some filter effects in inkscape don't work.
    So, I created the back ground image with gimp
    and then Texts create with in inkscape. ^_^

  4. Hey! Thanks a lot for sharing. I checked out your texture and business card. It is fun to see your results. Sorry you couldn't get the textures working. That is one thing that is still pretty tricky (and slow) in Inkscape.

  5. Hi,

    I've been following this tutorial but inkscape won't let me change a gradient from linear to radial ( the handles for radial gradient are there but the gradient never changes).

    Also, the paper textures adds what seems like five seperate filters, none of which have a displacement map setting - is inkscape 0.48 radically different from when this tutorial was written?

    1. I had this problem too but was able to correct it by going to the fill and stroke properties (Shift+Ctrl+F) and selecting the button for Radial Gradient under the Fill tab.

  6. I have version .48 and everything is still working for me. The filters are sometimes hard to find; look under effect; you may have to scroll to see it.

  7. Thanks for the article, its a good 10 minutes of introduction to textures.

    One note, the keyboard shortcut for moving an object in Linux (Ubuntu), in this case the square you've drawn, is *shift* + PageUp not *Ctrl* + PageUp.

  8. Ah. You are right! Not sure why I put CTRL... Thank you for the correction!

  9. Well thanks so much for your thoughts and efforts that you put in your post for making it easier to understand for everyone. I am still fairly new to Photoshop and would never have thought of doing this on my own.

  10. Thanks for this tutorial, I've been searching for how to do this. However I seem to be getting confused having moved the boxes together, I no longer have the original box to duplicate & add the gradient. Can you elaborate please.

  11. You should have two boxes. They need to be overlapping. If you no longer have the original box, then you can make a duplicate of the box you have. The important thing is that you need two boxes of the same size on different layers. Once the effect has been applied to one box and the layer set to multiply, you can overlap the two boxes and you should see the texturized effect you want.

  12. In the filter editor I do not see anything that says Effect Type, so I can't change it to "Fractal Noise." I'm using the latest Mac version.

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  13. Very nice... Finally, I can give texture in inkscape... Thanks


  14. Excelente tutorial, es la primera vez que puedo usar correctamente el editor de filtros :D

  15. Thank you so much!

  16. Great, and still up to date. (Only difference for me was that I didn't find "Desaturate" but "Greyscale" did the job).

  17. Always happy to see more Inkscape tutorials! Illustrator, Photoshop and Gimp aren't the only games in town. I was doing fine with the tutorial except when I duplicated the boxes, I had a hard time with the layers. Both boxes seemed to go automatically into one layer. I finally tried "move to selection to layer below" after selecting a box and then that worked. But the biggest problem is the one "anonymous" mentioned in 2012. I looked and looked, but never found "Effect Type" so I couldn't change to "Fractal Noise." Any idea why?


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