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How to Make a Sparkling Gold Text Effect


In this Adobe Illustrator CS5 tutorial we are going to learn how to create a sparkling gold text effect by applying a gold lining around some black text as well as learn how to make some sparkling light effects.



Step 1:  Set up your artboard with a solid gray background #262626.  I chose to throw in some diagonal lines at #6C6C6D for some contrast.


Step 2:  Type out the text that you want to use.  Make sure to use a thicker font as it helps with the effect.  The font I am using here is called “Archivo Black”



Step 3: After you have expanded your text (Type > Create Outlines), you will fill the text with a radial gradient. From left to right, the colors I used are: #918D8C, #4B4646, #231E1D, #000000


Step 4: If you have a large amount of text, you will want to select a grouping of letters and apply the radial gradient over the length of each grouping.


Step 5: After you have applied the gradient, you will copy (ctrl + C) the text, create a new layer and paste on top (ctrl + f)


Step 6: With the new text layer, you are going to draw a line with the pencil tool (N) and draw a line that dips through parts of the text.


Step 7: Open the Pathfinder window (Window > Pathfinder).  With the text and lines you just drew selected, click on Divide.  This is going to create a cut through the text and separate the top and bottom portions.


Step 8: From this layer, we are only looking to keep the top portion of the text we cut, so you will Ungroup the text (Ctrl + U) and select the bottom portions of the text and delete them.


Step 9: This top portion of the text, you are going to change to white (#ffffff) and set the transparency to “Soft Light” at around 55-60%.


Step 10: Go back to your original text and make another copy of the layer.  This layer will be placed below the original layer.


Step 11: With this copied layer, we are going to offset the path to make a border around the text.  There are a few ways you can do this, but we will go ahead and use Object > Path > Offset Path.  Depending on how large your text is, you will want to offset it by about 5-8 px.


Step 12: This copy of the text will be filled with a gold Linear Gradient.  From Left to Right, the colors I used are:  #6B4C2D, #C7B190, #A58A55, #E5D4B5, #967857.  Go ahead and leave the gradient filled into each letter individually rather than grouping them like we did in Step 4.


Step 13: Make another copy of the original text layer and place it below the gold gradient text layer we just made.  For this layer, we are going to use another method of offsetting a path, which is to simply apply a stroke to the object.  Set the fill color to nothing and choose any color for the stroke (we are going to change it later.


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Step 14: Change the brush to a large, round one. I used Illustrator’s default round brush.  Again, it will depend on the size of your text, but you will want to increase the stroke until you have a good coverage. Once you are satisfied with the size, you will expand the stroke (Object > Expand Appearance).


Step 14A: If you find that your text has a bunch of junk in the middle of it, you will need to select each letter and use the Pathfinder to “Unite” the shape.


Step 15:  Fill this text shape with a new linear gradient.  The colors I used, from left to right:  #401617, #6B4C2D, #E9ECDD, #A58A55, #FFFFFF, #967857, #814F2F, #462619. Choose groupings of letters and adjust the gradient across them like we did in step 4.


Step 16: Make a copy of the layer you just applied the gradient to.  Apply another stroke to this object.  This is going to be a much thinner stroke than the previous one.


Step 17: Expand the stroke and we are going to apply another gradient.  The colors I used are (from left to right): #401617, #6B4C2D, #A58A55, #E5D4B5, #967857, #814F2F. Let the gradient apply to each shape individually.


Step 18: Make a new layer on top of all the other layers.  We are going to use some blends and transparency to make a simple sparkle effect.  You can skip steps 19-31 by purchasing a set of light effects from our store:

Step 19: Create two circles. One small inside of one large circle. Set the color of the circles to #F4CAA7.


Step 20: Set the larger circle to have a transparency of 0% and the inner circle to a transparency of 100%.  With both circles selected go to Object > Blend > Blend Options.  Set the “Spacing” to “Specified Steps” and change the number to 25-30. Hit OK.  Go to Object > Blend > Make (or hit ALT + CTRL + B).


Step 21: After the blend is made, change the entire object’s Transparency mode to “overlay”. Make a copy of this object and place it a little to the side of the original to overlay them.


Step 22:  Make another copy of BOTH circles and overlay again, but this time you will lower their size and rotate slightly.


Step 23: To make the lens flare styled circles, make a new circle and set the stroke to a large number.  Copy this circle and paste in front (ctrl + F).  Change the stroke weight of the second circle to about 1/3 of the original large-stroke circle.  Expand the stroke on both circles and you should have a small ring inside the larger ring.


Step 24:  Change the transparency of the outer ring to 0% and leaf the inner ring at 30%.  Make the same blend with these objects as you did in Step 20. (Note: since you already have the blend parameters set up, you only need to hit ALT + CTRL + B).

NOTE:  If you are having trouble making the blends work, make sure that your objects are NOT grouped.


Step 25:  Again, change the transparency mode to Overlay and place the rings on the previous blend circles as desired.


Step 26: Now we will add a little star burst effect.  Simply make a single line with a stroke set at the same color we have been using (#F4CAA7).  You will copy (ctrl + c), Paste in front (ctrl +F) and rotate this line a few time until you have a full burst.


Step 27: Select all of the line and make a copy, paste in front and rotate a little more.


Step 28: Change the brush so that it has a tapered end.  Expand the strokes and set the transparency to overlay.


Step 29: Place the burst on top of your circle objects and lower the transparency to your liking.


Step 30: If you want to add a little more glitter to it, you can create some random shapes and make small blends from them using the same technique from steps 19 and 20 and scatter them around the flare.  You can also add some more lines to your burst.


Step 31:  Keep layering on different shaped blends as well as solid shapes to create more texture until you are satisfied.


Step 32: Take your sparkle and apply it on top of your text at random until you are happy with the results.


Optional Step 33: You can call this done if you would like, or you can take one more step and add a shadow underneath the text.  To do this you simply make a circle blend as it steps 19 and 20.  Set the color to black for both circles.  Change the opacity of outer circle to 0% and inner circle to 30%. 


Purchase a set of the sparkle effects used in this tutorial:



This tutorial has been featured in the following articles:

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