Want to wrap your text around a circle? Good news – It’s really easy to do in GIMP 2.10! In this How-To Article, I’ll show you how to wrap any text around a circle shape.
Step 1: Create a New Composition
You’ll first need to create a new composition within GIMP so you can write your text. To do this, go to File>New.
Choose your document size (I recommend create a square document to make this tutorial go a lot more smoothly – I went with 1080 by 1080), and click OK.
Step 2: Set Center Guides
You’ll want to easily be able to locate the center of your composition, and the best way to do that is to set horizontal and vertical center guides. To do this, go to Image>Guides>New Guide (By Percent).
Choose Horizontal from the Direction dropdown first, and set the Position (in %) value to 50. Click OK to create a horizontally centered guide. Repeat this step, changing the Direction to Vertical.
Step 3: Draw Your Circle
Next, I will add a circle to my composition by clicking on the Ellipse Select Tool (denoted by the red arrow in the photo above). I will click and drag with this tool to begin drawing an ellipse. If I hold the ctrl key, the ellipse shape will draw from the center. If I hold the shift key as well, the ellipse will be drawn with a fixed aspect ratio of 1:1 – or in other words it will be drawn as a perfect circle. Once I am satisfied with the size of my ellipse, I’ll release my mouse. You should now see “marching ants” going around the border of the circle area. This indicates the boundary of your circle selection.
The final size of my circle is 650 px by 650 pixels, which I can manually set in the Size fields under the Tool Options for the ellipse select tool (denoted by the blue arrow in the photo above). You can also reposition your circle by clicking inside the selection area and dragging it around (you must have your Ellipse Select tool still enabled while doing this). There is a little crosshair in the middle of your selection area that tells you where the center of your selection area is. You should be able to drag that until it snaps to the horizontal and vertical center guides. You should now have a nice, centered circle selection area.
Step 4: Convert Your Circle to a Path
Now that you’ve drawn your circle, you’ll need to convert it to a path so that you can draw your text around the circle. To do this, click on your Paths dialogue tab (denoted by the red arrow in the photo above).
Then, click on the “Selection to Path” icon (denoted by the blue arrow in the photo above). This will create a new path from your circle selection area. You can deselect the original selection area you drew by going to Select>None or hitting ctrl+shift+a on your keyboard.
Your circle will have disappeared now, but fret not! Click the “show/hide” icon next to the circle path you just created in the Paths dialogue to unhide your circle path (denoted by the red arrow in the photo above) .
Step 4: Add Your Text
Next, grab your text tool (denoted by the red arrow in the image above) and click anywhere inside of the image window (the main area where you can see your document). This will bring up the text editor (denoted by the green arrow), as well as create a text box (denoted by the blue arrow). For demonstration purposes, I just typed “Wrap Your Text” on one line, then clicked on another spot lower in my image window and typed the second line “Easily in GIMP.” I used the free Animosa Bold font (which you can learn how to download and install via this GIMP article) with a font size of 100 and a dark blue color.
Step 5: Wrap Your Text Around the Circle
Now that you have a circular path, you can wrap your text around it easily. However, you’ll want to make sure your text on the top portion of the circle ends up at the top, and the bottom text ends up at the bottom. For starters, head back over to your Paths dialogue if you aren’t there already, click on your circular path (titled “Selection” in the image above), and click the “Duplicate” icon (denoted by the red arrow above). You should now have two paths, one titled “Selection” and one titled “Selection Copy” (denoted by the green arrow).
With the Selection Copy path still selected, grab your Flip tool (denoted by the red arrow in the photo above) and change the Transform mode to Path (the third icon from the left in the Tool Options for the Rotate Tool – denoted by the green arrow above). Make sure the Direction is set to Horizontal. Click on the circle path once to flip it horizontally. You will not notice any difference with your path (flipping a perfect, symmetrical circle will create no difference). However, this will actually ensure that your wrapping text for the top portion will start at the proper spot on the circle path (you’ll see what I mean in a moment).
After you have done this, with your Selection Copy path still selected, grab the text tool and click on your top line of text. Then, right click on the text and go to “Text along path” (denoted by the red arrow above). This will outline your text as a path, and place that text along the path you created for your circle (thus wrapping your text around the circle). Of course, now you’ll need to fill in your text with a color and reposition your text depending on where you want it located on your circle. We’ll do this for both lines of text in the next step.
For the bottom line of text, you’ll want to click on the original “Selection” path in your Paths dialogue. Then, click on your second line of text with the text tool, right click and go to “Text Along Path” once again. Your second line of text will now also be wrapped around the circle path. The main difference you should notice is that your first line of text is on the right side, and the second line is on the left side.
You may also have noticed that I renamed my paths to correspond with the text outline that they create (denoted by the red arrows above). I did this by simply double clicking on the path names and typing in the new names (“WRAP YOUR TEXT” for the path that corresponds with the top line of text, and “EARLY IN GIMP” for the path corresponding to the bottom line of text).
Step 6: Fill and Rotate Your Text
Before I can reposition my text, I have to fill it in with a color on its own layer. I’ll start with my first line of text.
To do this, I’ll alt+click on the path layer we created for our text (the WRAP YOUR TEXT path – denoted by the red arrow) – or simply click on the Path to Selection icon (denoted by the green arrow). This will create a selection area around my text.
Now, I’ll come back to the Layers panel (red arrow) and will create a new layer (green arrow). I’ll name this layer “Wrap Your Text” so that it matches our text layer (you can name yours whatever you want). Click OK to create the layer.
Next, I’ll grab the bucket fill tool (red arrow) and will fill my text-shaped selection area by clicking inside the selection area with my foreground color. Make sure you are using whatever final color you want your text to be.
I’ll repeat this step for the second layer of text, making sure I’m clicked on the “EASILY IN GIMP” path layer instead of the “WRAP YOUR TEXT” path layer.
Step 7: Clean Up Your Image Window
Before we can complete the last step, we’ll need to clean the image window up a bit so that it’s a little easier to perform our final tasks. To do this, I recommend hiding the original text layers for both lines of text (click the show/hide icons next to the text layers to hide them). I also recommend going back to the Paths dialogue (red arrow), and hiding all of the paths we have created up until this point (once again, click the show/hide icons – green arrows).
Step 8: Rotate Your Text
Finally, we will rotate our text so that it is properly positioned around the circle. To do this, grab the Rotate tool from your toolbox (green arrow) and go back to the Layers panel (red arrow).
You can start with either line of text – I will start with the bottom line first. Click on the “Easily in GIMP” layer in the layers panel. Then, click on the actual text on your image window with the rotate tool. This will active your rotate tool on this layer.
Click and drag your mouse in a circular motion to rotate your text around the circle until it is in the position you want (you can see the rotation angle in the Rotation dialogue box in the top right of your image window). I went with -125 degrees for the bottom line of text (denoted by the blue arrow) as my rotation angle. Click the “Rotate” button to apply the rotation (orange arrow).
I’ll repeat this step for the top line of text, click on the Wrap Your Text layer and then click on the actual text with my rotate tool to activate it. I went with -65 for the rotation angle for my top line of text. Click Rotate once again to apply the rotation.
You can hide your guide by hitting ctrl+shift+t or by going to View>Show Guides.
That’s it for this tutorial! If you liked it, you can check out my other GIMP How-to Articles on my website, or you can check out my GIMP video tutorials. You can also enroll in any of my GIMP classes!