Illustrator Tutorial: Wood Grain

wood grain

Drawing vector wood grain effect is pretty simple in Adobe Illustrator. Here is a quick Illustrator tutorial to create wood grain effect using the warp tools in illustrator. After this tutorial, you will be able to draw nice vector wood textures.

1. Creating the stripes

Select the Rectangle Tool, and draw a thin rectangle. Using the Selection Tool, Alt/Option drag it to create a instance at the bottom. Repeat this step by pressing Ctrl/Command+D to create a row of stripes.

2. Different stripe weights

Select all the rows of stripes then go to Object>Transform>Transform Each. Enter the values above and make sure the Random field is checked to give it a random height.

3. Natural stripe effect

Double click the Warp Tool and use the settings below. Now with the Warp Tool we brush through the row of lines in a horizontal direction. This will distort the stripes giving it a more natural look.

4. Giving it a Twirl

Next we select the Twirl Tool. Double click to change to the settings above. We need a medium sized brush to the twirl on the wood grain. With the Twirl tool, lightly click on different areas to give the stripes a twirl. Do not hold for too long as it will overly distort the stripes. You can change the brush size of the Twirl Tool by holding down Option+Shift /Alt+Shift.

4. Pucker it

Using the Pucker Tool, with the setting above. We pucker different sections of the stripes to make the stripes contract.

4. Touch up the wood grain

To make the stripes thinner, I select all the stripes and squash it using the Transform Tool.

5. Trim the edges

Select all the wood grain and fill it with dark brown. Draw a light brown rectangle and send it to the back. Copy the rectangle by pressing Ctrl/Command+C. Next, paste it to the front by pressing Ctrl/Command+F. Select all and right click to select Make Clipping Path. This will crop away the edges.

wood grain make clipping mask

Heres the final wood texture.

wood grain

Extra Tip:
Applying the pucker effect above areas which has the twirl effect will give it a more natural look.

Download Source File
Download Source File

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About The Author: Tony Soh

Hi. I'm the founder of Vector Diary. Illustrator is my passion and I have written numerous tutorials on illustrator helping people learn illustrator. My most popular tutorial on learn illustrator has been a hit. It makes learning illustrator so easy and has benefited more than 20,000 people worldwide. Also, I've revealed some of my secret techniques in the premium tutorials. So don't forget to check it out!

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  1. Gravtar for Devin
    Devin January 21st

    A good use of those weird Illustrator tools.

  2. Gravtar for salavadhi pradeepkumar
    salavadhi pradeepkumar January 22nd



  3. Gravtar for Leona
    Leona February 19th

    Thanks, this was really useful, I look forward to more tutorials 🙂

  4. Gravtar for Wendy Frost
    Wendy Frost February 29th

    Thanks a bunch! I was really hoping that I wasn’t going to have to use some gargantuan Photoshop file for my 30 inch by 60 inch art! I mainly changed brush size settings to be huge, and it worked out great. :~D

  5. Gravtar for What’s Next
    What's Next March 17th

    The last step photo does not look like your final artwork. What is next? How do I change the color of the lines? How do I combine the rectangle with the lines?

  6. Gravtar for iStockdiary
    iStockdiary March 27th

    I have updated the tutorial. See step 5 to trim away the edges.

  7. Gravtar for gopaa
    gopaa April 14th


  8. Gravtar for dwight
    dwight April 18th

    simple but reall … TQ… 🙂

  9. Gravtar for Jesse
    Jesse April 24th

    Thats cool I would have never thought of that thanks 🙂 This is creative, i love illustrator tutorials <3 I love illustrator 🙂

  10. Gravtar for bruce stewart
    bruce stewart May 26th

    I have an antique rosewood armoire that has no crest.I have a walnut crest but I would like for it to appear like rosewood. If you have any suggestions,please advise.Sincerely,Bruce Stewart

  11. Gravtar for Ed
    Ed August 1st

    hey fellas, does anyone know how to digitally implant realistic objects onto a ‘ai’ file, like for example putting a pen or a ruler object. looking realistic?
    my aim is to have a presentation look like a photograph i guess. therefore showing shadows….

  12. Gravtar for iStockdiary
    iStockdiary August 2nd

    Hi Ed, you can draw a realistic ruler or pen easily in illustrator using gradients. Try it.

  13. Gravtar for Libo
    Libo August 4th

    So easy.

  14. Gravtar for lana
    lana August 16th

    it is really easy. but – I have one question: how to make last step???? this one-Select all the wood grain and fill it with dark brown. Draw a light brown rectangle and send it to the back. Copy the rectangle by pressing Ctrl/Command+C. Next, paste it to the front by pressing Ctrl/Command+F. Select all and right click to select Make Clipping Path. This will crop away the edges….OK!it is gonna be finish, but I tryed couple times and it is not works.not crop to finish this wood? I did it step by step, but last one make me problem:(it doesn’t looks like wood…heeelp!!

  15. Gravtar for iStockdiary
    iStockdiary August 16th

    Hi Lana, try grouping all the grain together by pressing Ctrl+G to group it. Then select the rectangle above the grain and right click to select Make Clipping Path. Hope it helps!

  16. Gravtar for Ed
    Ed August 25th

    hey again,
    another question for anyone who might know:

    changing the scale of Ai patterns?

    for example, having a zebra pattern on an A4 Ai document, then changing the document to a larger scale, (A1). patterns become tiles? how to avoid that?

  17. Gravtar for Dwayne
    Dwayne October 16th

    Fun tutorial!

    I drew lines of various lengths and widths, essentially, I made a bar code and applied the above tutorial. Really neat outcome. Very organic looking!!

  18. Gravtar for dipak mistry
    dipak mistry November 19th

    pls how to do tutorial illustrator made the art picture .

  19. Gravtar for dipak mistry
    dipak mistry November 19th

    pls how to made a picture art in illustrator softwar.

  20. Gravtar for Javier
    Javier December 1st

    This is a really really good tip. You can use it in so many other applications too. Awesome!

  21. Gravtar for Bernard
    Bernard December 30th

    Thanks a lot. I’m a coder who start graphims and your tutorial was perfect for me!

  22. Gravtar for steff
    steff June 17th

    wow the first it makes your eyes go funny..

    but otherwise great tutorial…thanks!

  23. Gravtar for vikram nongmaithem
    vikram nongmaithem August 11th

    it was a great tutorial.thanx

  24. Gravtar for oscar mora
    oscar mora September 9th

    Thanks, i’ts very useful!

  25. Gravtar for diana
    diana April 8th

    excelente aprendi mucho!
    Im Sorry I don`t speak english!!!

  26. Gravtar for PAW
    PAW May 27th

    Excellent use of tools I hardly touch. Although I had to optimize the stripes before they would take to the mask – too many points to process. I’m drafting a Les Paul and needed the woodgrain action – thanks for the tips to get it done!

  27. Gravtar for Hydrogen
    Hydrogen July 3rd

    thank you

  28. Gravtar for mandar
    mandar November 11th

    for the people who have problem with the last step

    Copy the rectangle by pressing Ctrl/Command+C. Next, paste it to the front by pressing Ctrl/Command+F. once a duplicate path is been created see that one rectangle path is below the stripe layer and one above the stripe layer then Select all and right click to select Make Clipping Path

    it should be done try it

  29. Gravtar for ilz
    ilz November 25th

    thanks! 😉

  30. Gravtar for Ryan
    Ryan December 2nd

    Thanks, this really helped me out a lot. 🙂

  31. Gravtar for Mick
    Mick December 3rd

    ALT/OPTION what is that? not very helpful to beginners

  32. Gravtar for Dom
    Dom January 12th

    Mick, Alt/Option is a key on your keyboard lol. Alt is for PCs, Option is for Macs.

    So you hold down Alt/Option and drag to duplicate a selected object.

  33. Gravtar for Vector
    Vector January 19th

    Lol @ AltOption 🙂

  34. Gravtar for Annette Fuentes
    Annette Fuentes May 3rd

    This was an awesome tutorial. I have tried different tutorials to make wood and none were as successful and fun as this one. Thanks for sharing!

    Great website as well!

  35. Gravtar for Mobile Themes World
    Mobile Themes World June 28th

    Nice tutorial.Thanks for sharing

  36. Gravtar for web tasarımı
    web tasarımı July 5th

    nice sharing.. thanks..

  37. Gravtar for Santiago
    Santiago August 11th

    Very good … Simple and clear!

  38. Gravtar for Abin Thomas
    Abin Thomas September 28th


  39. Gravtar for aDAN GALVAN
    aDAN GALVAN September 28th

    WHAT THE F is this
    this is crap

  40. Gravtar for Pornsri Sae-Ung
    Pornsri Sae-Ung March 9th

    Thank you Tony.
    You’ve made it easy for a beginner.


  41. Gravtar for crys
    crys June 5th

    informative tutorial..

  42. Gravtar for Amelie
    Amelie November 3rd

    Easy to follow! Thanks! I expected raster effects, great it’s only vectors!

  43. Gravtar for Showrav Hauqe
    Showrav Hauqe November 8th

    Easy guide given. Thank you sir for your tutorial.

  44. Gravtar for Jacob
    Jacob January 2nd

    Very simple but final effect is amazing 🙂 Thx 🙂

  45. Gravtar for Susan Kare
    Susan Kare January 12th

    This is awesome. Thank you so much.