Making a lacy Valentine using Stroke effects

Today we’re going to show you how to create a lace effect on a Valentine’s heart using a simple dashed line. This technique is super easy and can be used on many different subjects to create a cute outline.

First we need a Valentine’s heart. I’m feeling lazy so I’m just going to grab one from the Symbols library.

Click on Window > Symbols to bring up the Symbols palette. Under the top right hand fly-away menu go to Open Symbol Library and choose the Web Icons collection:

There’s a little heart symbol in the 4th row that I like. Click-drag the heart to your artboard:

Since this is a symbol, you can’t edit it until it’s been expanded. To do this, go to Object > Expand. Make sure you’re expanding the Fill and Stroke, and click OK:

Now your heart is an editable shape:

We don’t need the centre heart so we’re going to delete it. Using the Direct Selection arrow (the white arrow: to bring it up hit ‘A’ on your keyboard), click on the inner heart shape to select it:

Hit delete on your keyboard until the points making up the inner heart shape have all been removed:

Now we’ll copy-paste the heart on top of itself. Click on the heart and hit Command-C Command-F (Control-C Control-F on a PC). With the top heart selected, add a black outline:

Now we’re going to create a fancy outline in our Stroke palette. To open the Stroke palette go to Window > Stroke. We’re going to give our outline a rounded cap and corner and make it dashed to give us a lacy look. Here were the settings I used:

I’ve made the dash very short (0.1 pt) and the distance between each dash 5 points. The line thickness is set to 10, and most importantly I’ve clicked on the rounded Cap and Corner. You can fiddle around by changing the dash numbers to see how they affect your stroke, too.

Here’s what it looks like on the heart:

Now we need to expand this stroke. Select the heart and go to Object > Expand, click OK, then go to Object > Expand Appearance and click OK again. This is what you’ll end up with:

It’s pretty messy. I don’t know why, but Illustrator will often add extra points, or split some of our outline into slices. I don’t like messy shapes so I’m going to clean it up.

Selecting the heart, I’m going to use the Pathfinder to merge all these shapes. Go to Window > Pathfinder to open the Pathfinder palette. With the heart selected I’m going to click on ‘Unite’ to merge all the shapes:

As you can see, it’s still kind of messy. Some of my outline has been spliced around the edges so I’d like to delete those points to make my shape whole.

Using the pen tool (hit ‘P’ on the keyboard to bring it up) I’ll hover over one of the extra inside points. You’ll notice a little ‘minus’ symbol will appear next to the cursor when you hover over a point. When it appears, click on the point to delete it.

Alternately, if you click and hold on the pen icon in your main toolbar a fly-away window will appear. Click on the pen icon with the minus symbol next to it, then use this tool to delete the unnecessary points.

Go all the way around the heart deleting all the extra inside points.

Last but not least, I’m going to move my new lacy heart to the back (Command-] or Object > Arrange > Send to Back. This will move my lacy heart behind my plain outlined heart (remember how we copied the heart and pasted it in front of itself? Well, the old heart’s still there underneath).

Now that the lacy heart is in the background I’m going to fill it with a pale pink color, and make the inside heart dark pink. Voila, here’s our Valentine!

One thought on “Making a lacy Valentine using Stroke effects

  1. [...] Check out my new tutorial, which will teach you to make a simple lacy Valentine’s heart using the Stroke palette. I use this lacy outline effect all the time, and it’s very, very easy to create. Enjoy! Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Tips and Tricks and tagged Adobe Illustrator, bortonia, draw, heart, illustration, istockphoto.com, jennifer borton, microstock, Valentine, vector by bortonia. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

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