Creating a Watermark with PicMonkey

I was certain I knew nothing new under the sun when It came to computers. Usually by the time I’ve figured out a basic skill, it’s old news and there are better and faster ways of doing the same skill. So, imagine my surprise when people approach me with computer related questions. Specifically, how I make and apply watermarks to my photos.

A watermark is the subtle little image, typically the artist or company name or logo, found on a photo.  I’m always asked how I add my personalized mark to my photos, so I thought I’d write a post about it. Personally, I feel a little silly writing this post.There are a million articles available on-line addressing this very issue. All of them much better than this post will be, but, since I’ve been asked, how can I deny requests to share my limited knowledge? If I’ve left something out or you know of a better way to do this, please feel free to share your tips.  I apologize in advance for my lack of tech vocabulary, I’ve attempted to use correct nomenclature when known and I did try my best to avoid words like “doo hicky”and “thingy”, even where, in some cases, those might be more accurate than the words I ended up using.

Before we get started:

1- This is a PicMonkey editing tool. PicMonkey is a free and easy to use photo editing program. You can subscribe to PicMonkey and pay for more upgrades but everything in this post can be done using what is available for free.

2- There are limits to what PicMonkey can do. For one, you can’t “save” unfinished work for later. Once you save your creation or any part of it to your computer, that’s it, done deal. The best you can do is not log out of PicMonkey at all until you have completed your project. I’ve worked on a project for several days at a time by not logging out of PicMonkey – not ideal, but hey, with everything else PicMonkey offers, I can overlook this small inconvenience.

3- I do all my photo editing with PicMonkey. It may be possible to use your overlay created in PicMonkey in other photo editing programs, but I’m not sure how. I know it doesn’t work with iPhoto. I was able to use the cut and past options in preview to add a created overlay to a photo, so perhaps there is the ability to use the overlay in other photo editing programs, I’ve just never tried it.

3 – If you’re interested, you can read my PicMonkey review to find out why it’s my top choice for simple, fast and inexpensive photo editing. No, I don’t get paid to write this stuff.

With all that out of the way, we can now get started.

How to Create a Watermark in PicMonkey 

Create the Transparent Background

The first step is to create a blank transparent background on which to place your watermark. Making the background transparent allows for a subtle image on your photo; one that won’t look like a label has been pasted on your photo.

1 – Go to PicMonkey and choose “collage”.

step 1

2 – You will be prompted to choose photos for your collage from your computer – just click on any photo. You’ll then see the blank collage page with three cells and  a thumbnail of your photo to the left. Delete the photo by clicking on the small “x” located in the right upper corner of your thumbnail. You don’t need it.

step2and 3

3 – Delete all the cells of the collage by clicking on the small x’s that appear in the upper right hand corner of each cell. You’ll be left with one big square.

step 4

4- Go to the back ground option; click on the palette icon at the left then check the box for “transparent background”.

step 5 and 6


When you make the background transparent you’ll have a big transparent square. This is the canvas you will open in edit to create your watermark.

Tada – the first part is done; creating the blank canvas.

Create The Watermark via “Edit”

1 – After you click “edit” your blank canvas will open and you’ll see this checkerboard canvas:checkered background

Now you’re ready to design your watermark. Play around with fonts and other existing overlays and backgrounds until you get the look you want.

For this post I’m going to keep it simple. In my opinion, a watermark should be simple, typically just your name, or the name or logo of your business.

2– Add text by clicking on the “Tt” icon. You’ll see a nice collection of text styles to choose from. Click on “Add Text” and a text box will appear on your checkerboard. My inspiration today comes from watching my cat, who is watching the birds. Well, plotting their deaths more like it. Anyway, choose a font style and enter your text.

texts and overlays

I thought I’d spruce it up a bit by applying an overlay from the PicMonkey stock. You can find an array of overlays in the overlay menu which is located via the butterfly icon.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 9.24.49 AM 3– When you are happy with your creation, crop it tightly.

You can find the cropping tool in the “basic edits” menu.


Pull the corners in until you have it cropped tight. Now you are ready to save. Cropping it tight like this gives you more control over how big or small you can make your overlay – at least that has been my observation.

4– Now for the most important part – when you are happy with your overlay SAVE IT! Preferably in a place you can find it on your computer. I am so surprised at how many people I’ve talked to who go through all the above steps every time they want to watermark their photos. WHAT????? You should only have to do all the above steps ONCE to create a watermark which you’ll always have access to.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 9.25.35 AM


Give it a name.  I edit a lot of photos and I have two watermarks I use consistently. To find them easily I have added the letters “A”or “aa” in front of their titles so they are always the first photos to appear in the drop down list from my computer.

PicMonkey will prompt you to save your masterpiece to your computer, then your computer will likely ask you where. I always save my most used items or current projects to my desktop so I’m sure to find them.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 9.25.49 AM

Again, SAVE. Should I repeat that? And don’t just save it, save it where you will find it easily. Just a suggestion.

So now you have your nifty cool watermark.  But you might be wondering, “How do I put this thing on a photo?” We will do that in the following steps.

Placing Your Watermark on  a Photo

1– Tomorrow, when you want to upload all your fabulous feline fashion finds, or your dinner, to your website you’ll now be able to put your personal stamp on those photos by first opening the photo in PicMonkey “edit”.

Go to PicMonkey and click on “edit”.

1edit photo

Your computer menu will appear. Find the photo you want to edit. Not the overlay – just the photo of your Mac and Cheese… or your Devon Rex… or whatever photo you are planning to add the overlay to. desktop menu

As stated before, I usually put all photos I am planning to edit on my desk top, as well as the items I work with the most, such as my watermarks.  Above you can see the two watermarks labeled with “A” and “aa” so they are the first to appear in my list of choices. This makes it easy to just grab and drop them. Here though, I have the photos I am working with for this post appear first, but you get the point.

Choose the photo you are going to edit.

I chose this one—

profile skull

Do all your editing; cropping, exposure… whatever…then go to the butterfly icon which, if you remember, is the “overlays” menu.

adding overlay

At the very top you will see “Your Own”  – click that and find your amazing overlay that you SAVED. Click on it, click on “open” (located at the bottom of the screen) and it will automatically be dropped onto your photo which should already be opened in PicMonkey.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 9.28.41 AM

Move it around, resize it by pulling or pushing at those little circle thingy’s in the corners. (I had to throw one “thingy” in there).  I like to fade it out a bit to make it subtle. You can fade it  by using the slider on the overlay tools menu, the one that says “fade” . You can also change the color of the overlay which comes in handy if the original color blends in too much with the color of your photo.  Once you have it where you want it, save your watermarked photo.

That’s it. So, this was really two posts in one. The first being how to create the overlay and SAVE IT and the second being how to apply your SAVED watermark to photos.

A watermark is a good way to build your identity or simply add your signature to the photos you share online. Now, go enjoy making your mark all over the virtual universe!

For a great source of tips, tricks and tutorials I’d suggest you swing on over and subscribe to the  PicMonkey blog – you’re sure to go ape over it.


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