I'm trying to create a lettering with chalkboard effect in order to print it on a chalkboard mug. However, most tutorials I found for Adobe Illustrator recommend applying a textured stroke to the text. (One of the charcoal effect brushes)

Now I would like to exclude the stroke (with texture) from the text itself. However, I can't really figure out how to do that without throwing away the charcoal texture as well.

Here's an example: The red part should be excluded from the text. Using a certain color is not an option since we don't know the exact background color and we're only allowed to use 2 colors.

White text with red Charcoal stroke

Thank you!

1 Answer 1


I'm assuming that your text is not live text, but already expanded, or outline created.

  1. Select the text objet, and press expand to change it into a group of shapes.
  2. Right-click and click on Ungroup, or press CTRL + SHIFT + G.
  3. Repeat 2 another two times.
  4. Carefully select only the red outlines and white text of one letter. Careful! there are some elements left over that might interfere with the following steps.

enter image description here

  1. Press CTRL+SHIFT+F9 to open the Pathfinder window, and click on the Minus Front button.

You've now finished one letter! Repeat those steps on the rest of letters , and you're done.

  • L'il addition: Use the Magic Wand Tool to selct all red objects in one fell swoop.
    – Yokel
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 13:37
  • @Yokel, You should NOT select all red objects! You must do this one by one, or you will come across problems.
    – MJH
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 13:41
  • Thanks a lot, this is exactly what I was looking for! it even worked after merging all the red parts to a compound path and all the white parts to another compound path!
    – Rebecca
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 13:56
  • @ Rosa. Whoa, okay, sorry. I've been doing it that way since the magic wand appeared in Illustrator, and nary a problem if you set your tolerances, but, okay ...
    – Yokel
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 15:28
  • @Yokel, the magic wand will select all the red in the image. It is important to do this one letter at a time. if you change the tolerance., magic wand will not select the red from all of the letters at once?
    – MJH
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 6:57

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