Illustrator Tutorial: Snowflakes

snowflakes tutorial

Christmas is coming and it’s time to make greeting card. This tutorial will teach you how to draw a snowflake pattern in Illustrator to spice up your Christmas design. You can also use this technique to create any snowflake pattern you like!

1. Drawing the Snowflake

First turn on the rulers by pressing Ctrl/Command+R. Next drag out 2 lines from the Rulers to form an intersection. This will be the middle point of the snowflake. Select Polygon Tool and click the intersection point while holding Alt/Option+Shift to draw a Hexagon. Give it a thick stroke and set the Fill to none.

Next, select the Rounded Rectangle and click on the canvas once to pop up the Options window. Set the Corner Radius to 2mm. Delete the shape after that.

Using the Rounded Rectangle, we will draw the stem of the snowflake as shown above.

Draw another branch, branching out from the main stem. Rotate it to an angle of 30 degrees and duplicate 3 more branches by Alt/Option drag the first branch.

Adjust the individual branches to form the snowflake pattern you want. Then select the 4 pieces and go Pathfinder and click Add to Shape.

Using the Rectangle Tool, draw a rectangle to cover the areas protruding from the center of the branch. Select both the 4 branches and the rectangle. Click Minus to Shape to delete the protruding shape. Click Expand after that to expand the shape.

To reflect the pattern, select the Reflect Tool and Alt/Option click the horizontal guide. An Option window will pop up. Select Vertical for axis and click Copy to duplicate a mirror of the pattern.

Select both pattern and hold Alt/Option as you click Add to shape from the Pathfinder.

2. Creating the Snowflake Pattern

Select the Rotate Tool and Alt/Option click the center of the snowflake. Enter 60 for the Angle and click Copy. Click Cttrl/Command+D a few more times to repeat the rotation until you got 6 branches.

Here is the snowflake effect.

Select the pentagon at the center and go Object>Expand to expand the stroke. You will notice weird triangle points coming appearing at the corners. To solve this, click Merge once in the Pathfinder.

We will now combine the shapes. Select all the shapes and go click Merge while holding Alt/Option.

3. Glowing Snowflake Effect

Next, draw a background with a radial gradient fill. Set if from dark blue to bright blue in the middle of the background. Select our snowflake and fill it with white.

Go Effect>Stylize>Outer Glow. Select Screen for Mode and set the color to white. Set Blur to the amount you like.

Here is the final snowflake with glowing edges. You can use this method to create different snowflake patterns for your Christmas card. Have fun!

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 Cathy
    Cathy October 16th

    I’ll be sure to try this one, thanks!

  2. Gravtar for Su
    Su October 18th

    great tutorial – thanks a lot!

  3. Gravtar for insic
    insic October 21st

    wow! brilliant! i like the way you do it.

  4. Gravtar for Halloween Guy
    Halloween Guy November 1st

    Very simple, but impressive done job!

  5. Gravtar for jellybean
    jellybean November 2nd

    I am new at this and I really like these tutorials.Thank you

  6. Gravtar for LOlson
    LOlson December 7th

    Very nice! Thank you for the toot 🙂

  7. Gravtar for nikki polson
    nikki polson December 12th

    whst a biggtt help\\raweerrrrryyyy

  8. Gravtar for eGuy
    eGuy December 19th

    Cool tutorial. Thanks.

  9. Gravtar for El Maco
    El Maco April 23rd

    Thanks, this helped me with an icon I was making. 🙂

  10. Gravtar for evil_stewie
    evil_stewie July 22nd

    Superb a great help for learners

  11. Gravtar for Greatvectors
    Greatvectors July 26th

    Simple and great tutorial. Waiting for winter holiday!

  12. Gravtar for Brandi
    Brandi July 30th

    The outer glow effect really made big difference. Thanks

  13. Gravtar for Genduk
    Genduk November 20th

    Awesome, thanks for the tutorial.
    I’ll practice it later.

  14. Gravtar for scrapbook page ideas
    scrapbook page ideas December 23rd

    Just what I was looking for. Thanks

  15. Gravtar for Valeria
    Valeria November 25th joking….thanks this is very useful i learned how to do them its great!Thanks a lot

  16. Gravtar for Roger
    Roger August 30th

    Good tutorial, but please give out more information about size and so. Maybe make a video 😀

  17. Gravtar for Suzi
    Suzi November 28th

    This tutorial was great! I made a wonderful snowflake.

  18. Gravtar for maddgirlz
    maddgirlz January 31st

    i wish it gives you a video to watch!! but cool