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How to Create Sheet Rolls with Custom Spirals

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In this tutorial, I’ll explain how to make custom spirals (apart from the default spiral tool), and use them creatively in making rolls of paper. So far, I came to know that the spiral tool does not allow a uniform decay (equal spacing) between each wind of a spiral. In this tutorial, I will expose some basic tricks to do so. Hope you find it interesting.

Final Image Preview

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Video Tutorial

Our editor Sean Hodge has created this video tutorial to compliment this text + image tutorial.

Step 1

Create a new document and enable the Smart Guides (Command + U). With the Ellipse Tool (L), make a circle of 40px by 40px as shown.

Step 2

Create five more copies of this circle with uniform increment of 10px on each circle (30px by 30px, 40px by 40px, 50px by 50px, and so on). Align them vertically and horizontally center, as shown.

Step 3

With the Scissors Tool (C), click once on each of the anchor points shown in the red region to cut the joints. This will separate the semi-circles.

Step 4

With the Selection Tool (V), select the upper bunch of semi-circles and group them (Command + G). Similarly, group the lower bunch of semi-circles, as shown in the figure below.

Step 5

With the Selection Tool (V), hold the right-most anchor of "Group2" and drag it onto the second-last anchor of "Group1." This will make the rest of the anchors automatically overlap on the anchor points of "Group1." This needs to be done precisely as we will be joining these anchors in the next steps. Make sure the Smart Guides are enabled (Command + U). Smart guides will automatically snap the anchor on the correct position.

Step 6

Select both groups and Ungroup them (Command + Shift + G).

Step 7

Now we are left with two spirals that are winding into each other. You may delete any one spiral. Start from the left side, select the outermost arc and delete it. Follow its locus and delete all those arcs that are in its path, as shown in red below.

Step 8

Now let's join the arcs. With the Direct Selection Tool (A), drag a selection over the junction of anchors (to select two anchors at once) and press (Command + J). Select Smooth and press OK. Follow this steps to join each of the anchors (shown in the red zones).

Now we are left with a clean spiral with uniform decay and spacing. You might be wondering why we did all this instead of using a default Spiral Tool. Apparently, I’ve noticed that the Spiral tool doesn’t allow us to create uniform spacing across each wind. There is lot more we can do with this custom technique.

Step 9

Select the Spiral and change its stroke color to white with no fill.

Step 10

With the spiral still selected, go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel and enter the values as shown in the image below. Try experimenting with different perspectives, light sources, and angles.

Step 11

Let's work on the orange paper band next. Use the Ellipse tool (L) to draw a circle that is 70px by 70px, then give it a stroke color of orange with no fill.

Step 12

Next, with the Scissors Tool (C) and Delete Anchor Point Tool (-), chop this circle into a semi-circle as shown.

Step 13

Select the semi-circle and go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel. Next, enter the values shown in the image below.

Step 14

Place the 3-D band on your sheet roll in such a way that its empty part gets covered by the body of roll.

Step 15

Now we'll create the drop shadow. With the Pen tool (P), draw a trapezium (with fill color 20% K) and send it to the back (Command + Shift + Left Bracket key).

Step 16

Select the trapezium, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and enter 20 for the radius.

We can further play with the look and feel of this result, but the main objective of this tutorial is to show the construction of custom spirals. So I will step towards creating another interesting roll with easy yet tricky steps.

Step 17

Take the copy of all concentric circles that we made in Step 2. Next, spread them apart from each other as shown. This is done to avoid confusion while we are working on any particular circle.

Step 18

Now we'll work on chopping quadrants. Start from "Circle 1." With the Scissors Tool (C), click once on each of the anchors shown in red.

Step 19

With Selection Tool (V), click on the chopped arc and delete it.

Step 20

Repeat steps 18 and 19 for each circle. Make sure you chop the quadrants in counter-clockwise direction as shown below. The end result should be something like this.

Step 21

Now we'll work on joining the arcs. With the Selection Tool (V), hold the red anchor of "arc2" and drag it exactly onto the red anchor of "arc1," as shown in the figure below.

Step 22

With the Direct Selection Tool (A), drag a selection over the junction of these two anchors and press (Command + J). Select Smooth and press OK.

Step 23

Now hold the red anchor of "arc3" and drag it exactly over the red anchor as shown.

Step 24

With the Direct Selection Tool (A), drag a selection over the junction of these two anchors and press Command + J. Select Smooth and press OK.

Step 25

Like we did in the above steps, hold the red anchor of "arc4" and drag it exactly over the red anchor of the resulting figure and join it (Command + J).

Step 26

Similarly, hold the red anchor of "arc5" and drag it exactly over the red anchor of the result figure and join it (Command + J).

Step 27

Finally, hold the red anchor of "arc6" and drag it exactly over the red anchor of the result figure and join. The final result will be a non-uniform Spiral, something like a hand-rolled strip.

Step 28

With the Line Segment Tool (Back Slash), draw a Line of 60px width. Join it with the end point of the Spiral and give a stroke of white color to the resulting figure.

Step 29

Go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel and enter the values shown below.

Try playing with different light sources and perspective to obtain the best result. Below are some results that I came up with after various experiments.

Spiral Concept

The figure below shows the concise steps needed to draw spirals manually, using the procedures shown in this tutorial.

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