This Valentine’s day, show your true love with a Valentine’s Day card! Whether it’s for your partner or yourself, you’ll have a fun time making it. This tutorial will show you how to create an easy swirling background and how to use layer styles to create a chocolaty text effect. Once you’re done, feel free to customize it with personal photos or just a few cute hearts.

Preview of Final Results

Resources

Step 1

Start by creating a new document. I set my size to 2320×1436 pixels.

1 Image size

Step 2

Start by filling the background with a brown then using the Brush tool to paint a darker shade of brown. I used the colors #A1643B and #211712 (you can set these values in the Color Picker). You can use your own colors but keep the brighter color on the outer edges and darker color in the middle.

2 Background color

Step 3

Next, use the Liquify tool (Filter > Liquify). Use the Forward Warp tool to randomly smudge the background like shown in the image below.

3 Liquify tool settings

Step 4

Next, go to Filter > Distort > Twirl. Set the angle to around 368° then click OK.

Tip: Usually when you apply filters to an image you cannot go back and modify it without undoing. To overcome this, you can convert your layer into a Smart Object (Layer > Convert to Smart Object). Once your layer is a Smart Object, you can apply the filter and it will apply it non-destructively letting you edit the settings anytime you like.

4a Twirl Tool settings

 

Here’s what the Twirl looks like.

4b Twirl tool output

Step 5

Now that we’re done with our background, we can create the text. Start by using the Brush tool and draw the words “Valentine’s day” using a hard-edge brush. You can also use the Type tool and use any font you like. For this step, I will be drawing the text free-hand with the Brush tool. I used a 40px brush with a hardness of 100%.

5 text with free hand

Step 6

Go to Filter > Liquify. Warp the text to give it a melting effect like shown in the image below.

6 edited text using Liquify

Step 7

Next, we’re going to add some layer styles to the text. Go to Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown below. Don’t click OK yet.

7 Drop Shadow Tool settings

Step 8

Enable the Bevel and Emboss style then apply the settings shown below.

8 Bevel and emboss settings

Click on the Gloss Contour option to bring up the Contour Editor. Create a contour like shown in the image below.

9 Bevel and emboss contour

Enable the Bevel and Emboss > Contour style then adjust the Contour like shown in the image below.

10 Contour option settings

Step 9

Now enable the Satin style and apply the settings shown in the image below.

11 Satin Option settings

Set the contour to the one shown in the image below.

12 Contour settings in Satin

Step 10

Enable the Gradient Overlay option then set the settings shown below. Click on the Gradient to bring up the Gradient Editor.

13 Gradient overlay settings

Recreate a Gradient shown below; we used the colors #6F3B14, #512E15, and #2f0D03 (from left to right)

13a Gradient color bars

Step 11

Finally, enable the Pattern Overlay style then apply the settings shown below.

14 Pattern Overlay settings

Here’s what the text effect looks like!

14a Final text effect

Step 12

Next, we’re going to add the Happy text. For this text, I used the “Fiolex Girls” font. Use the Text tool to add the text.

To give it a chocolaty text effect, copy and paste the layer style from the Valentine’s day text to the Happy text. To do this, select the Valentine’s day text layer then go to Layer > Layer Style > Copy Layer Style. Select the Happy text layer then go to Layer > Layer Style > Paste Layer Style.

15 Happy text effect