Illustrator Tutorial: Warp Text Inside A Heart Shape

In this tutorial, we will see how we can warp the text around a shape or a object. This technique will show you how to combine the text wrap and heart shape together to achieve the text wrap effect. This tutorial will concentrate on how to use Envelope Distort feature in Illustrator to achieve this effect. You will also learn some new techniques along the way. For this to work effectively, first we have to decide on a suitable shape. Secondly, we will need to decide what word to warp inside the shape. Normally a short phrase works best. And finally, we need a thick and fancy font to pull the trick.

For this tutorial, we will be using a heart shape since Valentine’s Day is around the corner. We will be using a font Coaster for the words. We will write the words, “Vector Love” to declare out love for vectors. But you can choose any shape, fonts, words etc… Experiment with different shapes and words to see which works best. Also, if you are using more complex shape or curved lines just be careful that the words remain legible.

Step 1:

Draw a heart shape with Pen Tool (P). Fill it with red color or any color you wish and set the stroke to None.

Step 2:

Select the heart shape, copy it by clicking Edit > Copy and paste using Edit > Paste in Front. Select one of the heart and in the Layer Palette. Hide and lock it by clicking on eye and lock icon. We will use it at the end of the tutorial again.

Step 3:

Now the next step is to divide the heart shape in three different parts. keep the Fill to None and set Stroke to white color. Adjust the Stroke Weight (Window > Stroke Palette) to about 5 points. With the Pen Tool (P), draw two lines as shown in the figure below. You can also draw a slight curved line as well, but for the purpose of this tutorial, we will keep things simple.

Ensure that the start and end points of the lines is outside the heart shape as indicated by blue circles. After each line press Ctrl/Command and click outside the shape to deselect.

Step 4:

Select both the lines that we drew in Step 3 and choose Object > Path > Outline Stroke.

Step 5:

Then Select All (Ctrl/Command+A) and choose Window > Pathfinder. Click the Subtract from Shape Area button while holding down Alt/Opt Key.

After that, select the shape and click Object > Ungroup to ungroup. Now your heart shape should be divided in three parts.

NOTE: If you are using Illustrator CS3 and above and able to handle the mouse quite well, you can divide the shape with Eraser Tool (Shift + E). Double-click on the Eraser Tool to adjust the Diameter and other parameters. Pen Tool (P) will work better if you want to divide the shape in more complex curves.

Step 6:

Using the Type Tool (T) type “VECTOR”. Press Ctrl/Command and click anywhere on the artboard to exit the text box. Then, type “LOVE”. Keep the font size to around 150 to 190 Points. I use the font Coaster Black in this example as mentioned above.

Step 7:

Select the word, “VECTOR” with Selection Tool(V). Choose Object > Arrange > Send to Back (you can also access that by right clicking on your letters while it is still selected).

Now press Shift Key and with the Selection Tool (V) click on top heart shape and “VECTOR” and choose Object > Envelop Distort > Make with Top Object. Keep the Smart Guides On(Ctrl/Comm + U) to help you see your shape if the letter gets hidden behind the shape.

Step 8:

Repeat the process mentioned in Step 6 with the word “LOVE”, select it Send it to Back, then select (with Selection Tool-V) the bottom heart shape and the letters while holding down Shift key. And choose, Object > Envelop Distort > Make with Top Object.

Step 9:

Now we are almost done. If you wish to change the colors of the text, you can do it by selecting them all (Ctrl/Commmand + A) and then choose Object > Envelop Distort > Edit Contents. I kept the colors same as black.

Finally, just unhide the heart shape that we have hidden and locked in Step 2. Click on the eye button to unhide it. I have changed it’s Fill color to a shade of pink. I also deleted the unwanted shapes left over from the other heart shape as we do not need it. Now it should look something as shown below.

Step 10:

Finally, to make an interesting background, I use a free vector graphics Halftone-Heart (from Qvectors). Open up the file and copy paste it on a new layer in my document. Drag the layer below so that it is behind the heart shape. Fill it with the same pink color and set the stroke to none.

I also deleted the excess paths with Clipping mask. Draw a square shape with Rectangle Tool (M). Select both shapes (pattern and square) then choose, Object > Clipping Mask > Make. Finally, fill it with a Radial Gradient to get the following image.

Here is the another example. I changed the colors and grouped (Object > Group) the entire artwork. Next I apply Effect > Distort > Glass using the following parameters:

And below you will see a another example image I made long time back using the same technique as shown above with the words, “Is That You?”. You can see the finished piece at my dA.

The key is to experiment with different shapes and text, I hope you have learnt something new in this tutorial. I will love to see what you have done using this technique.

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About The Author: Tony Soh

Hi. I'm the founder of Vector Diary. Illustrator is my passion and I have written numerous tutorials on illustrator helping people learn illustrator. My most popular tutorial on learn illustrator has been a hit. It makes learning illustrator so easy and has benefited more than 20,000 people worldwide. Also, I've revealed some of my secret techniques in the premium tutorials. So don't forget to check it out!

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  1. Gravtar for loswl
    loswl February 13th

    Cool tutorial, I love how you did the type at the end :o)

  2. Gravtar for Devlin
    Devlin February 13th

    Great tutorial and tips. Envelope mesh is powerful indeed! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Gravtar for KRAZII
    KRAZII February 27th


  4. Gravtar for Sonali
    Sonali February 27th

    @KRAZI: Drawing heart shape in Illustrator is quite easy, try to follow this tutorial, The perfect heart shape. Hope that helps!

    @losl & Devlin Thanks!

  5. Gravtar for didik amansyah
    didik amansyah March 5th

    tutorial ini sanagt membantu bagi pemula
    sukses for you

  6. Gravtar for Hannah
    Hannah March 6th

    I can’t seem to get the Vector-word right. It gets all warped instead of following the outlines of the top of the heart. The top of the word is bent, as if it were following a 3D heart. What am I doing wrong?

  7. Gravtar for Sonali
    Sonali March 6th

    @Hannah: I am not getting what you’re meaning to say, but some suggestions: Are you placing the text above the shape? Also try playing with the size of the font.

    @didik amansyah: English please.

  8. Gravtar for Hannah
    Hannah March 6th

    Oh I fixed it somehow, it looks great! Thanks for a great tutorial!

  9. Gravtar for kyawthura
    kyawthura March 7th

    thanks a lot

  10. Gravtar for Chris Laidlow
    Chris Laidlow March 14th



    i eat weiners ^.^

  11. Gravtar for UniKoRn
    UniKoRn April 6th

    I can’t get passed Step 5, I’ve tried this on PC and Mac and it just won’t work. All that happens when I hit Subtract from Shape is a line totally disappears.

  12. Gravtar for David Ross
    David Ross May 5th

    brilliant, thanks

  13. Gravtar for photo retouching
    photo retouching May 11th

    Great tut. I am more a photoshopper myself but am beginning to think illustrator is worth its weight in gold.

  14. Gravtar for retoucher77
    retoucher77 June 4th

    useful tutorial, thanks for sharing 🙂

  15. Gravtar for Lindsey
    Lindsey June 13th

    WOW! I was STRUGGLING with this one. The problem I was having was that I was assuming Illustrator would automatically resize the words, it doesn’t. So once I got that down, it was much better. This article saved my butt big time! Thank you so much!

  16. Gravtar for preeti
    preeti July 8th

    very useful tutorials. its been helpful in learning illustrator.Thanks

  17. Gravtar for OWAIS
    OWAIS July 23rd

    the problem which I am facing is that my top line is not coming properly. It looks like the words are cutting from the top. No matter how small I am keeping the font size.

  18. Gravtar for Liverpool Student Accommodation
    Liverpool Student Accommodation September 24th

    Been looking all over for this, there’s hardly any decent tutorials on wrapping text around objects or inside objects.
    Thanks a lot.

  19. Gravtar for Shan Arakkal
    Shan Arakkal October 28th


  20. Gravtar for Vanessa
    Vanessa February 2nd

    I keep trying but every time I click in ‘make with top object’ a message says:” is require a selection of multiple objects. the top object must be a single path or a mesh” HELP!

  21. Gravtar for susan
    susan July 29th

    我都会了 – -#

  22. Gravtar for edwin
    edwin August 3rd

    this is good

  23. Gravtar for Hayley
    Hayley December 14th

    I cant get past step 5 either. Illustrator will now allow me to ungroup the selected objects. Any ideas anyone? Thanks

  24. Gravtar for RoArGo
    RoArGo February 8th

    i dont seem to ungroup the shape! Im stock on step %! helpp!!

  25. Gravtar for RoArGo
    RoArGo February 8th

    i cannot ungroup the!

  26. Gravtar for vasa
    vasa March 1st

    Quite a useful post!!

  27. Gravtar for Terry Baldridge
    Terry Baldridge March 1st

    I have tried this tutorial but when I distort the text to match the shape of the heart some of the text edges extend beyond the shape of the heart. How do I get the text to stay inside the shape?

  28. Gravtar for Mindy
    Mindy April 7th

    For those who struggle, try kerning the font (keeping it editable… do not outline!) besides changing font size. Sometimes that helps align the font better within the shape. Such an easy tutorial to follow. Thanks for sharing!

  29. Gravtar for Mario
    Mario July 28th

    For those having trouble with step 5 try clicking on (while holding alt) “Divide” instead of the suggested “Subtract from shape”.

    It worked for me and should work for you as well.

  30. Gravtar for Anita
    Anita February 13th

    thank you so much, this tutorial was of great help to me :3

  31. Gravtar for Cathie
    Cathie May 18th

    Thanks Mario! I couldn’t get the shape to divide either. Your suggestion worked! I can now try to finish the tutorial. (Glad I wasn’t the only one who had this problem, always nice to know you’re not a total idiot for not being able to get it right.)

  32. Gravtar for Natalie
    Natalie January 31st

    I’m also having problems with the top word. The letters are being distorted towards the top as if being wrapped around a 3D object.

  33. Gravtar for romaniar
    romaniar February 1st

    this tutorial really helped.

  34. Gravtar for Onur Pay
    Onur Pay February 7th

    Really thank you. I found what i need. Here what i’ve done with your instructions. 🙂

  35. Gravtar for types of business card cases for women
    types of business card cases for women April 19th

    Hi there! I simply want to give an enormous thumbs up for the
    nice data you have got right here on this post. I will probably be coming again to your blog for extra soon.

  36. Gravtar for Alvaro
    Alvaro April 25th

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