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How to Create a Neon Text Effect in Inkscape

Inkscape is a great free open source vector program offering many tools for creating and editing designs. One such tool is the Bezier Tool, which is designed for more precise drawing of curves and straight lines. You can also use the Bezier Tool to further edit fonts and shapes.

In this tutorial you will learn how to create a very cool Neon Text Effect in Inkscape.

To get started, open Inkscape. Click on New Document. Then click on the text tool (A) in the left menu panel. Click anywhere on the canvas to type out your text. While in text edit mode, you can choose a font from the top left. For this tutorial we are using a monoline font by Bayu Suwirya.


Type out text change font


Step 1 - Object to Path and Union

The text needs to be converted to a Path to make it possible to edit. Select the original text again, click the Path menu at the top of the screen and click Object to Path. Each letter is now an individual object.


Object to Path Inkscape


To combine the text as one path we first need to Ungroup it. Right click and select Ungroup.

If you need a visual guide we have a great tutorial on how to group and ungroup objects in Inkscape.

With the letters still selected click on the Path menu again and choose Union. This will combine all the letters into a single path.


Click on Union to combine Inkscape


Step 2 - Use the Bezier tool

The Bezier Tool can be used to modify the text. Shapes are drawn using paths and cut out from the text. The overlapping areas will be cut out to create a realistic Neon sign look. In this step we will take a quick look at how to use the Bezier Tool.

For a more in depth visual guide follow our (Bezier Tool tutorial link).


Select Bezier tool Inkscape


The following marked areas will be removed.


Remove marked areas Inkscape


Select the Bezier tool on the left panel.  At the top panel select Create Regular Bezier path and set the Shape to None. With the Bezier tool activated, nodes are clicked and placed at the corners where the area of text is joined. Begin at the one corner and work your way around, clicking and placing nodes as needed.

Once the nodes have been added, place your mouse over the first node and click. This will place the last node and close the path.

The new path was filled with a light grey to make it easier to see.


Complete the path Inkscape


Add color path Inkscape


Repeat this process to create paths for the rest of the areas to be removed.


Step 3 - Delete paths from text

To save time the paths are combined so they are cut out together. Press Shift + Click on each path to select.

Click on the Path menu and choose Union. With the paths combined as one object and still selected, press Shift + Click on the text. Click on Path once again and select Difference.


Difference tool Inkscape


Difference applied deleted areas


Step 4 - Adjust and delete nodes

Clean up the nodes by selecting Edit path by nodes on the left side panel. Click a node to select and press Delete. To modify a node, click on it to activate the handles. Move the handles in any direction to create a smoother curve.


Delete excess nodes Inkscape


Edit node handles Inkscape

Repeat the steps for any other areas you want removed.


Step 5 - Create a background for the text

Click on Create rectangles and squares on the left side panel. Draw out a rectangle over the canvas and change the color. For now a light pink was used to easily see the text. With the rectangle selected, click Lower selection to bottom located at the top menu bar.



Lower selection beneath text


Select the text, right click and Duplicate then shift the duplicate up near the top of the rectangle. We need space between the text objects for the next step.


Step 6 - Apply the Interpolation method


Interpolation is used to fill in the gap between two paths with additional paths. How these additional paths look depends on the options selected under the Interpolate menu. We want the color of the purple text to change with each additional path. Only objects/fonts converted to paths can be used with the Interpolate method.

Change the top text color to white and the bottom text color to purple. Select both text objects, click on Extensions top of the screen, choose Generate from Path and click Interpolate.


Select Interpolate Inkscape


The Interpolate menu will open. Exponent is left at 0.00, Interpolation steps set to 2 and Interpolation method set to 1. The Interpolation method number will depend on the object used. Switch between 1 and 2 and choose the best looking option.

To get the color variation in the additional paths, make sure that only Interpolate style is clicked.


Edit Interpolate options Inkscape

Right click the two new text objects and Ungroup.


Step 7 - Change text order

The text objects will be layered on top of each other, so we need to set the order correctly. Select the second text from the bottom then click on Raise selection to top. Repeat this for the next two text objects above it.


Change order of text Inkscape


Step 8 - Add a stroke fill and blur

Start with the bottom text (dark purple), zoom in and click the Eye Dropper tool on the left side panel.  Move your mouse over the bottom text, Shift + Click on the color of the text. The Eye Dropper tool will show a frame. This indicates that the Stroke has been selected.


Click on Eye Dropper tool


Stroke color applied to text


Change the thickness of the stroke under the Fill and Stroke Panel. If you can't see the panel click the Object menu top left and then Fill and Stroke. Under Stroke Style change the width. The dark purple text will be thicker than the others. A width of 30.000 px was applied.


Edit Stroke Style in Inkscape


Add a blur to the text by changing the percentage at the bottom of the Fill and Stroke panel.  Blur was set to 40% but this can be edited at any point.


Blur text at bottom


Step 9 - Repeat the previous step

Add a stroke and blur to the second and third text object from the bottom.  Do not blur or add a stroke to the top white filled text.

Second text object from the bottom has a Width of 25.000 px and blur set to 28%.

The third text object from the bottom has a Width of 6.000 px and the blur set to 15%.



Edit remaining text stroke blur

Step 10 - Align text objects

Click on the Object menu and select Align and Distribute. Select all four text objects. Under the Align and Distribute panel, right click Center on Vertical Axis, then click directly below on Center on Horizontal Axis.



Align the text Inkscape



Resize the text so the blur is not overlapping the edges of the rectangle. It may be easier to group the four text objects to accurately resize.


Step 11 - Add a gradient to the background

The background needs to be adjusted to make the Neon sign pop. Resize the background to fit around the text and change to black.

Add a Radial Gradient by selecting the Gradient Tool on the left side panel. Click the Radial option top left of the screen. Double click anywhere on the background to place the gradient.


Add radial gradient to background


Click on the one color end stop, change this to black.  The other end will change automatically to black.  Click on the middle color stop and change to dark purple.

Adjust the gradient as you want by clicking and dragging out the handles. Click and drag the middle color stop to reposition the gradient.


Edit gradient color and size


Step 12 - Add a shadow

Ungroup the text objects if grouped earlier on. Click on the white filled text object, right click and Duplicate. Change this to black. Shift the duplicate down and to the right using your arrow keys.


Create shadow for Neon Text


The shadow needs to be moved down one layer. Click Lower selection one step at the top of the screen. This will move the duplicate text beneath the white filled text.

Under the Fill and Stroke panel, decrease the Opacity down to 51%.


Edit shadow for Neon Text


The Neon text is complete


Complete Neon Text


If you liked this tutorial, check out some of our other text tutorials such as how to type vertically, and how to weld text in Inkscape.

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