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A text mosaic is a fun way to artistically express yourself for free, even if you don't have any artistic ability. To make a text mosaic in the subsequently-described manner, you will need any version of Microsoft Windows from version 95 and better. You will not need any software that is not included with the system. First of all, you probably want to know what a text mosaic is. A text mosaic is a whole bunch of words in a small font that are in the shape of a word or phrase in a larger font. If you want to see an example, check out my Milk mosaics at: As you can see, words including "cookies", "cows", and "grass" are repeated multiple times and form the word "milk" in all the pictures. The second picture includes a black outline to aid in seeing the word "milk". In the third picture, multiple layers are used to give the word a three-dimensional effect. The fourth picture makes it appear as if the word "milk" has a shadow. Now why don't you make your own text mosaic?

Planning the Mosaic

The first thing you will need to do is figure out what your mosaic is going to say (example: milk). Once you have done that, you will have to make a list of the smaller words the mosaic will be comprised of (example: milk, cows, grass, chocolate). Personally, I believe this is the most difficult part of the entire process. As you come up with your list of words, type all of the words in your favorite text editor. Type them all on the same line, with a space between each word. Also include a space between each letter of each word and a space at the very end of the list (example: m i l k c o w s g r a s s c h o c o l a t e ). Do not place more than one space between two different words. Spacing out the words in this fashion is crucial. If you do not have enough spaces, your mosaic will be an unintelligible blob. If you have too many spaces, your mosaic will be a void.

Getting the Big Picture

Now that you've got your list of words, we'll make the big picture. Open Microsoft Paint by clicking the Start button and selecting Run. Type "pbrush" into the Run dialog box and click OK. Once Microsoft Paint starts, the first thing you want to do is resize the canvas to fit your needs. Use the handle in the bottom-right corner of the canvas to resize it until it is as large as you would like your mosaic to be. Next, we will want to set the image to be black-and-white-only. Don't worry, your final product can still be in color, but we need to reduce the number of colors to simplify things for now. To set the image to be black-and-white, click the Image drop-down menu and select Attributes. When the Attributes dialog box appears, click on Black and white. Then click OK. A message box will appear informing you that some color information about your picture may be lost. Click Yes to continue.

Now you will need to use the Text tool. Select the Text tool from the toolbox on the left side of the screen. The icon for the text tool is the letter "A". Click on the letter to select the text tool. Once you select the text tool, your cursor will change shape when it is moved over the canvas. Move your cursor to the top-left corner of the canvas. Then click, hold, and drag to the bottom-right corner of the canvas. Release the mouse to create a text box. If a toolbar titled "Fonts" does not automatically appear, select Text Toolbar from the View drop-down menu. Use the Fonts toolbar to select any font in a fairly large size. Then click on the text box you created and type in the word or phrase your mosaic will say (example: milk). Do not type in the list of words you created. If the text does not fill the mosaic, select it and then select a larger font size from the Fonts toolbar.

Once you are done fiddling around with the text, select Invert Colors from the Image drop-down menu. You will find that your text becomes white, while the background becomes black. Select Save As from the File drop-down menu and save your outline in a location you will remember.

The Fine Print

Now that you're done with your outline, select New from the file menu to work on the fine print. Once your canvas has been cleared, make it slightly larger than it was before. Don't worry, your canvas can be returned to its original size later. Switch the canvas to black and white mode just like you did with the previous canvas. Use the Text tool to create a text box that spans the entire canvas, just like you did before. This time, though, you will need to use a very small font. I find that the best font for this situation is Arial, 5 point. Use the Fonts toolbar to select this font. Make sure that Bold is not selected in the Fonts toolbar. Now, return to the text editor that contains the list of words you previously typed (example: m i l k c o w s g r a s s c h o c o l a t e ). Select the entire list and then push Ctrl + C to copy the list. Return to Paint and click on the text box you have created. Hold down Ctrl + V until a dialog box appears informing you that you have filled the entire canvas. Once this occurs, select the Select tool from the toolbox. The Select tool's icon is a square with dotted sides. You may now want to use the handles around the canvas to make it smaller. Making the canvas smaller hides areas near the edges that were not completed filled with words.

Putting it All Together

Now click the Edit drop-down menu and select Paste From. Locate and select the outline you previously created. The outline should now appear in and dominate your canvas. Click the Transparency button in the toolbar to make the outline transparent. The Transparency button is the lower of the two buttons with a blue cylinder, red circle, and green cube. Then right-click the white square in the color pallette near the bottom of the screen. Once you follow the previous steps, you should be able to see your fine print through your outline.

That's it! You're done!

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