How to draw a paperclip in Adobe Illustrator

How to draw a paperclip in Adobe Illustrator

In this tutorial, we'll draw a paperclip icon using the Polar Grid tool in Adobe Illustrator. This is an intermediate level tutorial.

To begin, open a new document: File Menu > New.
Next, go to Edit > Preferences > Units and select pixels. Click OK.


From the Drawing Tools panel, double click on the Polar Grid icon.

Polar Grid Tool

Enter 100 Width and 100 Height.
Enter the number 2 in the Concentric Dividers field, Skew 0%.
Enter the number 0 in the Radial Dividers field.
Leave ‘Create Compound Path From Ellipses’ and ‘Fill Grid’ unchecked.
Click OK.

PGT Dialog

You should see an object on your art board similar to this:

Paperclip 1

Select the object with the Selection Tool (V).

Select Tool

Next, double click on the Selection Tool (V) in the Tools Panel.
Enter 0 in the Horizontal field, and 100 in the Vertical field.
Click Copy.

Make a copy

Paperclip 2

Using the Select Tool (V) select both objects.

From the Object Menu, select Ungroup (Shift+Control/Command+G).

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), delete the bottom halves of the top circles.
Next delete the top halves of the bottom circles.

Paperclip 2B

Now your drawing should look like this:

Paperclip 3

Using the Select Tool (V), select the top 3 half circles.
Open the Align Window and select Horizontal Align Right

Align Right

Paperclip 4

Next, begin deleting line segments.
Delete the outer two lines from the top group.
Delete the inner line from the bottom group:

Paperclip 5

Now your image should look like this:

Paperclip 6

Next, select the Pen Tool (P) and join these line segments. 

Pen Tool

Pen Tool

Using the Pen Tool extend the two ends:

Paperclip 7

Next, from the Stroke Window, change the Weight to 15
Still in the Stroke Window, set the caps to Round Caps.

Round Caps

Change the shape, stroke color and rotate to stylize your paperclip:

 Paperclip icon examples

When your finished, go to the Object Menu > Path > Outline Stroke to convert your line stroke to a shape. Nice job!

More illustrations you can make with the Polar Grid Tool

Now that you've got the hang of it, try creating other icons using the Polar Grid tool. This tool makes it easy to create Bulls eyes, Dartboards, Targets, Radars and more. 


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