How-To Tuesday: Spirograph Birthday Card in Illustrator

Posted on April 19, 2011 and tagged DIY

Well hello there! Welcome to the first ever How-To Tuesday! Lots of firsts this week, eh? For my first How-To I thought I'd do a quick little tutorial on how to make a cute Spirograph-inspired card. You remember Spirograph? It was a lot of fun as a kid, but you do you remember how hard it was to get right? That darn frame thing would always slip off the paper! Well this tutorial won't show you how to make a true Spirograph shape with all the math and stuff. Cause seriously, what. It will show you how to make a cute little swirly shape that you can use for all sorts of things.

Note: This is a basic Illustrator tutorial. It's for beginners, but you'll still need to know where the basic tools are.

First things first, open up Illustrator and create a new document. I like to make mine in inches, 8.5 by 11 for easy printing.

1. Grab the Elipse tool. Change the fill to nothing and stroke to whatever color you want.

2. Draw an oval. However big, small, skinny or fat you want it.

3. From the Edit menu, select Copy and then Paste in Front. This makes a copy of your oval and pastes it right on top the first one. The keyboard shortcuts are Command C and Command F if you're using a Mac. Or Control C and Control F if you're using Windows. (From here on out, I'll just use the Mac shortcuts.)

4. Right click on your oval, go to the Transform menu and select Rotate.

5. Now the rotate menu will pop up and you can select how many degrees you want to rotate your oval. You can choose any number as long as it's divisible by 360. I chose 12!

6. Now press Command C, Command F, Command D until you start to see a shape emerge. What you're doing is the same Copy, Paste in Front as before but we're adding Command D, which is Transform Again. In this case that means, copy my oval, paste it in front, then rotate it again by 12 degrees.

7. Keep doing your Command C, F, D thing until you've completed the circle, and you're done!

You can make a bunch of them, change the colors, line them up, scatter them around...whatever you want! For my card I made copies of the shape in 2 different colors and added a little "Happy Birthday!" at the bottom. 

Next week I'll show you how to take this basic technique and start doing crazier things! And please let me know in the comments what you thought of this tutorial. Too easy? Too Hard? Didn't understand something? Think it's a stupid idea? I want to hear from you!

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