Make Halloween Spider Webs in Adobe Illustrator With This Tutorial

Spiderweb photo

 Luis Castaneda Inc. / Getty Images

Spiders can give you chills even when it isn't Halloween! Drawing a web, and then adding a spider, offers a great exercise in using Adobe Illustrator's more advanced creation tools.

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Creating the First Web Shape: Setting Up

Creating the First Web Shape: Setting Up

Open a new document in Illustrator in RGB mode and use pixels as your unit of measurement. Set your stroke color to black and the fill color to none. Select the ellipse tool in the toolbox and click once on the artboard to get the tool options. Enter 150 for height and width, then click OK to create the circle.

Drag out guides from the rulers that exactly intersect the circle's center. Click the Direct Selection tool in the toolbox so you can see the anchor points and use them as a guide for the guideline placement.

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Add Another Circle

Add Another Circle

Choose the ellipse tool in the toolbox again and carefully position the mouse so the cursor is exactly on the top anchor point of the circle. Hold the option/alt key and click to open the ellipse tool dialog so you can set the size. It will also help you to create the ellipse from the center so the exact center is on the top anchor point of the larger circle.

Set the size to 50 pixels wide and 50 pixels high, then click OK. A smaller circle will appear on top of the larger circle. We'll duplicate this circle around the large one and use them to remove the edges of the large circle to form a scalloped web shape.

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Duplicate the Circles

Duplicate the Circles

Select the Rotate tool in the toolbox with the small circle still selected. Hover the mouse over the exact center of the large circle where the two guidelines cross. Hold the opt/alt key and click to set the point of origin of the rotation at the exact center of the large circle and open the rotate dialog at the same time.

Enter 360/10 in the Angle box. We want 10 small circles spaced evenly around the large circle, and Illustrator will do the math and figure the angle by dividing the number of circles into the number of degrees in a circle. This happens to be 36 degrees, but this was an easy one. They aren't always so simple.

Click the Copy button. You should have two circles.

Before you do anything else, type cmd/ctrl + D eight times to duplicate the circles and space them around the large circle's perimeter. You should have something that looks like this now. It's OK if the circles overlap a little. In fact, they should.

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Create the Basic Web Shape

Create the Basic Web Shape

Select > All to select all the circles on the page. Open the Pathfinder palette (Window > Pathfinder) and opt/alt + click the "Subtract from Shape Area" button to remove the small circles from the larger one. This will expand the compound shape to an object at the same time. You now have the basic spider web shape.

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Duplicate the Web Shape

Duplicate the Web Shape

Go to Object > Transform > Scale with the web shape selected. Check "Uniform" and enter 130 in the scale box. Make sure that "Scale Strokes & Effects" is not checked in the Options section. Click the Copy button to create a new web section that's 130 percent larger than the first one. Copy the first section rather than replace it. Click OK.

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Add More Web Sections

Add More Web Sections

Use the duplicate command cmd/ctrl + D two times to make two more sections 130 percent larger than the previous one. You should have a total of four sections.

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Transform and Duplicate

Transform and Duplicate

Select the center web section again. Go to Object > Transform > Scale. Check "Uniform" and enter 70 in the scale box to decrease the size by 70 percent this time. We increased the size by 30 percent the last time, so now we decrease by 30 percent. Again, make sure that "Scale Strokes & Effects" is not checked in the Options section. Click the Copy button to create a new web section 70 percent of the size of the first one. Copy the first section rather than replace it. Click OK and cmd/ctrl + D to duplicate the transformation one more time so you have six web sections total.

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Finishing the Web

Finished Web

Go to View > Snap to Point. Make sure View > Snap to Grid is not checked or it might prevent you from snapping to the points of the web. Even if the grid isn't visible, it's still there. When "Snap to Grid" is enabled, it will still snap to the grid even if you can't see it.

Select the line tool from the toolbox and draw a 1-pt line from one point of the outer web section to the opposite point of the outer web section. Repeat, drawing lines across all points. Repeat for each point of the web. Select all parts of the web and cmd/ctrl + G to group.

Your spiderweb is a good start for developing great Halloween-themed images. Try adding bats, witches and other pictures to fine-tune your holiday decorations.