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Design

Create a Stack of Wooden Boxes in Adobe Illustration

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:LongLanguages:

In the following steps you will learn how to create pixel perfect shapes using the grid, basic vector shape building techniques and Pathfinder options, how to save and use graphics styles or gradients, how to take full advantage of the Appearance panel or the Transform effect, how to add subtle textures using raster effects and masking techniques, how to add shading and highlights using basic blending techniques, how to cleverly organize your shapes and paths and how to easily recolor and multiply your final illustration.


1. Create a New Document and Setup a Grid

Hit Control + N to create a New document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width and height boxes then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For starters you will need a grid every 5px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

2. Create the Left Side of the Box

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke then select the fill and set its color at R=237 G=28 B=36. Move to your Artboard and simply create a 45 x 40px rectangle. Focus on the left side of this tiny rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points and simply drag them 20px up. The Snap to Grid should ease your work. Make sure that your red shape is still selected, add a 5pt stroke, set the color at R=39 G=170 B=225 and align it to inside. Once you're done go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 2

Move to the Layers panel (Window > Layers), select the group made in the previous step and hit Shift + Control + G twice to Ungroup it. In the end you should have two simple shapes. Select the blue one and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy along with the red shape, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Minus Front button. Select the resulting shape and fill it with R=166 G=102 B=65. Return to the Layers panel, double-click on this brown shape and simply name it "leftSideInside".

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 3

Using the Pen Tool (P), create a 45px, vertical path and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new path stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). First of all, make sure that there is no color set for the fill. Next, add a 1pt stroke, select it, set the color at R=186 G=122 B=85 and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Focus on the Move section, drag the Horizontal slider at -0.5px and click OK.

Return the Appearance panel and add a second stroke for your path using the Add New Stroke button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Select this new stroke, make sure that the weight is set at 1pt, set the color at R=146 G=82 B=45 and go to Effect > Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Again, focus on the Move section, this time drag the Horizontal slider at 0.5px and click OK.

Get back to the Appearance panel, select the entire path (simply click on the "Path" piece of text from the top of the Appearance panel) and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click OK. In the end things should look like in the second image. Make sure that your vertical path is still selected, open the Graphic Styles panel (Window > Graphics Styles) and hit the New Graphics Style button (pointed by the little, green arrow in the following image).

Once you can see the new graphic style inside the Graphic Styles panel simply go to Object > Expand Appearance. Get back to the Graphic Styles panel, double click on your newly saved graphics style and name it "Graphics Style 1". We'll use this later.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 4

Next, you need to mask the group of vertical paths made in the previous step. Open the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency). Select your "leftSideInside" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F), fill it with white and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Select this white shape along with the group of vertical paths, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask. In the end things should look like in the fourth image.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 5

Select your "leftSideInside" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Select this copy and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill, replace that brown with black, lower its Opacity to 7%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Sketch > Graphic Pen. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK. Move to the Graphic Styles panel, make sure that your black shape is still selected and save a new graphics style. Name it "Graphics Style 2".

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 6

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) then go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set at 1px. Select your "leftSideInside" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Make sure that this copy is selected and make a new copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this second copy and move it 2px up and 2px to the right using the arrow buttons from your keyboard. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=146 G=82 B=45.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 7

Make sure that the shape made in the previous step is still selected and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up and 1px to the right. Reselect both copies and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Move to the Graphic Styles panel, make sure that this thin, black shape is still selected and save a new graphics style. Name it "Graphics Style 3".

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 8

Select your "leftSideInside" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Select this copy and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill, set the Blending Mode at Soft Light, open the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient) and simply click on the gradient thumbnail to add the default black to white linear gradient.

Keep focusing on your Gradient panel, select Radial from the Type drop down menu then move to the gradient colors. Select the right slider and set the color at R=0 G=0 B=0 then select the left slider, set the color at R=166 G=102 B=65 and lower its Opacity to 0%. Make sure that this fill stays selected, grab the Gradient Tool (G), focus on your Artboard and stretch that gradient as shown in the following image. You will need this radial gradient again, so it would be a good idea to save. Here's how you can easily do it.

Get back to the Gradient panel, click on that gradient thumbnail and simply drag inside the Swatches panel (Window > Swathes). Keep focusing on the Swatches panel, double click on this newly saved gradient and name it "Gradient 1"

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 9

Focus on the Layers panel, double click on your blue shape and simply name it "leftSideFrame". Replace the blue with the linear gradient shown in the following image then make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down and 1px to the left. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shapes with white, grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply remove the four anchor points highlighted in the third image by clicking on them. You will need again that gradient used in the beginning of the step, so save it inside your Swatches panel and name it "Gradient 2".

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 10

Reselect the two thin, white shapes and hit Control + 8 (or go to Object > Compound Path > Make) to turn them into a simple compound path. Select this new compound path, lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Move to the Graphic Styles panel, make sure that this white compound path is still selected and save a new graphic style. Name it "Graphic Style 4".

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 11

Reselect your "leftSideFrame" and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up and 1px to the right. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shapes with black, grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply remove the two anchor points highlighted in the third image.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 12

Reselect both thin, black shapes and turn them into a simple compound path (CTR + 8 or go to Object > Compound Path > Make). Select this new compound path, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Move to the Graphic Styles panel, make sure that this black compound path is still selected and save a new graphics style. Name it "Graphics Style 5".

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 13

Reselect your "leftSideFrame" shape, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Select this new fill, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 7%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Sketch > Graphic Pen. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Now, take a closer look at this shape and you'll notice that the edges are a bit pixelated. It's all because of that Graphics Pen effect. We'll take care of this issue using a simple opacity mask. Duplicate your "leftSideFrame" shape (Control + C > Control + F), select the copy and return to the Appearance panel. Remove the black fill then select the remaining fill and replace the existing linear gradient with a flat white. Select this white shape along with the original "leftSideFrame", open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask. Have a new look at the edges of this masked shape and the pixelated edges should be gone.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 14

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a new 45 x 40px shape, fill it with white and place it as shown in the first image. Focus on the left side of this new rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points and simply drag them 20px up. The Snap to Grid should ease your work. Make sure that your white shape is still selected, lower its Opacity to 40% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay. Select all the shapes made so far and Group them (Control + G). Move to the Layers panel, double click on this new group and simply name it "leftSide".

Stacked Wooden Boxes

3. Create the Right Side of the Box

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 45 x 40px rectangle, set the fill color at R=237 G=28 B=36 and place it as shown in the first image. Focus on the right side of this new rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points and simply drag them 20px up. Make sure that your red shape is still selected, add a 5pt stroke, set the color at R=39 G=170 B=225 and align it to inside. Once you're done go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 2

Move to the Layers panel (Window > Layers), select the group with the red and blue shapes and Ungroup it (Shift + Control + G twice). Select the resulting blue shape and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy along with the red shape and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape and replace the red with R=166 G=102 B=65. Return to the Layers panel, double click on this brown shape and simply name it "rightSideInside".

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 3

Using the Pen Tool (P), create a 45px, vertical path and place it as shown in the first image. Select this new path and simply add the "Graphics Style 1" from your Graphic Styles panel. Make sure that your vertical path stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and open the bottom Transform effect. Focus on the Move section and drag the Horizontal slider from -5px to 5px. In the end things should look like in the second image. Once you're done, make sure that your path is still selected and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 4

Select your "rightSideInside" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F), fill it with white and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Select this white shape along with the group of vertical paths and simply mask it using the Make Opacity Mask option from the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 5

Select your "leftSideInside" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Select this copy and add the "Graphic Style 2" from your Graphics Styles panel.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 6

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect your "rightSideInside" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Make sure that this copy is selected and make a new copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this second copy and move it 2px up and 2px to the left. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=146 G=82 B=45.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 7

Make sure that the shape made in the previous step is still selected and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up and 1px to the left. Reselect both copies and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape and simply add the "Graphic Style 3" from your Graphic Styles panel.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 8

Reselect your "rightSideInside" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Select this copy, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and add your "Gradient 1" as shown in the second image.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 9

Focus on the Layers panel, double click on the blue shape and simply name it "rightSideFrame". Replace the blue with "Gradient 2" (as shown in the following image) then make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down and 1px to the right. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shapes with white, grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply remove the four anchor points highlighted in the third image.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 10

Reselect the two thin, white shapes and turn them into a Compound Path (Control + 8 or go to Object > Compound Path). Select this new compound path and simply add the "Graphic Style 4" from your Graphic Styles panel.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 11

Reselect your "rightSideFrame" and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up and 1px to the left. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shapes with black, grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply remove the two anchor points highlighted in the third image.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 12

Reselect the two thin, black shapes and turn them into a Compound Path (Control + 8 or go to Object > Compound Path). Select this new compound path and simply add the "Graphic Style 5" from your Graphic Styles panel.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 13

Reselect your "leftSideFrame" shape, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 7%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Sketch > Graphic Pen. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Again, you will need to mask this shape to get rid of those pixelated edges. Duplicate your "rightSideFrame" shape (Control + C > Control + F) and fill the copy only with white. Select this white shape along with the original "rightSideFrame", open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 14

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a new 45 x 40px shape, fill it with black and place it as shown in the first image. Focus on the right side of this new rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points and simply drag them 20px up. Make sure that this black shape is still selected, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay. Select all the shapes that make up the right side of your box and Group them (Control + G). Move to the Layers panel, double click on this new group and name it "rightSide".

Stacked Wooden Boxes

4. Create the Cap of the Box

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 90 x 40px rectangle. Fill this new shape with R=237 G=28 B=36, place it as shown in the first image and go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Keep focusing on this red shape, switch to the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply remove the four corner anchor points (highlighted in the second image). Make sure that your red shape is selected, add a 5pt stroke, set the color at R=39 G=170 B=225 and align it to inside. Once you're done go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 2

Move to the Layers panel (Window > Layers), select the group with the red and blue shapes and Ungroup it (Shift + Control + G twice). Select the resulting blue shape and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy along with the red shape and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape and replace the red color with R=166 G=102 B=65. Return to the Layers panel, double click on this brown shape and simply name it "topSideInside".

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 3

Using the Pen Tool (P), create an oblique path as shown in the first image. Try to use the grid as a reference, once again the Snap to Grid will ease your work. Select this new path and simply add the "Graphics Style 1" from your Graphic Styles panel. Make sure that your oblique path stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. First, open the bottom Transform effect. Focus on the Move section, drag the Horizontal slider from 0px and the Vertical slider at 5px then enter "6" in the copies box. Next, open the Transform effect applied for the top stroke. Focus on the Move section, drag the Horizontal slider from 0px and the Vertical slider at 0.5px. Finally, open the Transform effect applied for the bottom stroke. Focus on the Move section, drag the Horizontal slider from 0px and the Vertical slider at -0.5px. In the end things should look like in the second image. Once you're done, make sure that your path is still selected and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 4

Select your "topSideInside" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F), fill it with white and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Select this white shape along with the group of oblique paths and simply mask it using the Make Opacity Mask option from the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 5

Select your "topSideInside" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Select this copy and add the "Graphics Style 2" from your Graphics Styles panel. Make sure that this copy stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and open the existing Graphic Pen effect. Simply set the Stroke Direction at Right Diagonal then click OK.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 6

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect your "topSideInside" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Make sure that this copy is selected and make a new copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this second copy and move it 2px down. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=146 G=82 B=45.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 7

Reselect the shape made in the previous step and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down. Reselect both copies and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape and simply add the "Graphics Style 3" from your Graphic Styles panel.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 8

Reselect your "topSideInside" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Select this copy, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and add your "Gradient 1" as shown in the second image.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 9

Focus on the Layers panel, double click on the blue shape and simply name it "topSideFrame". Replace the blue with the linear gradient shown in the following image then make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shapes with white, grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply remove the four anchor points highlighted in the third image.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 10

Reselect both white shapes and turn them into a Compound Path (Control + 8 or go to Object > Compound Path). Select this new compound path and simply add the "Graphic Style 4" from your Graphic Styles panel.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 11

Reselect your "topSideFrame" and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shapes with black, grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply remove the two anchor points highlighted in the third image.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 12

Reselect both black shapes and turn them into a Compound Path (Control + 8 or go to Object > Compound Path). Select this new compound path and simply add the "Graphic Style 5" from your Graphic Styles panel.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 13

Reselect your "topSideFrame" shape, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select it, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 7%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Sketch > Graphic Pen. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Duplicate your "topSideFrame" shape (Control + C > Control + F), fill the copy only with white and use it to mask the original "topSideFrame" shape.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 14

Select all the shapes that make up the top side of the box and Group them (Control + G). Move to the Layers panel, double-click on this new group and name it "topSide". Make sure that your "topSide" group is selected and go to Object > Transform > Move. Focus on the Position section, enter 0px in the Horizontal box and 3px in the Vertical box then click OK.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 15

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For the following steps you will need a grid every 1px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 45 x 3px shape, fill it with R=39 G=170 B=225 (for now) and place it as shown in the first image.

Focus on the right side of this new rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points and simply drag them 20px up. Reselect your blue shape and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 16

Reselect your blue shape and replace the blue with "Gradient 2" as shown in the following image. Make sure that this shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select it, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 17

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a new 45 x 3px shape, fill it with that same blue (R=39 G=170 B=225) and place it as shown in the first image. Focus on the left side of this new rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points and simply drag them 20px up. Reselect your blue shape and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 18

Reselect your blue shape and replace the blue with "Gradient 2" as shown in the following image. Make sure that this shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select it, set the color at white, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

5. Create the Bottom Side of the Box

Step 1

Focus on the Layers panel, select the four shapes that connect the top side of the box with the rest of the box and Group them (Control + G). Keep focusing on the Layers panel, duplicate this new group (Control + C > Control + F), select the copy and drag it inside your "topSide" group. Get back to the first group made in this step, name it "bottomSide", and go to Object > Transform > Move. Focus on the Position section, enter 0px in the Horizontal box and 43px in the Vertical box then click OK. Make sure that your "bottomSide" group is still selected and send it to back (Shift + Control + [ ).

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 2

Go to the Layers panel, open your "bottomSide" group, focus the two main shapes and replace the existing linear gradient with the one shown in the following image.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

6. Create the Inside of the Box

Step 1

Return to "Gridline every 5px ", so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box. Focus on the Layers panel and turn off the visibility for your "topSide" group by clicking on that little eye icon. Select the "leftSide" and the "rightSide" groups and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Horizontal box and click the Copy button. Focus on the resulting groups and delete the thin, black and white compound paths.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 2

Reselect both flipped groups and Group them (Control + G). Make sure that this new group is selected, send it to back (Shift + Control + [ ) and drag it 20px up as shown in the second image.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 3

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 45 x 40px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Focus on the left side of this new rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points and hit Alt + Control + J (or go to Object > Path > Average). Check the Both box and click OK. This should turn your rectangle into a triangle. Select it, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and lower its Opacity to 60%.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 4

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a new 45 x 40px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Focus on the right side of this new rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points and hit Alt + Control + J (or go to Object > Path > Average). Again, check the Both box and click OK. Make sure that the resulting triangle is selected, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and lower its Opacity to 30%.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 5

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 90 x 40px rectangle. Fill this new shape with R=237 G=28 B=36, place it as shown in the first image and go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Switch to the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply remove the corner anchor points (highlighted in the second image). Make sure that your red shape is still selected and hit Shift + X to transfer the existing color properties from the fill to the stroke.

Focus on the Appearance panel, select that red stroke, set the weight at 3pt, align it to inside then go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Select the resulting shape and replace the red with the linear gradient shown in the following image. Move to the Layers panel and simply name this new shape "border".

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 6

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect your "border" shape and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shapes with white, grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply remove the four anchor points highlighted in the third image. Make sure that both white shapes are selected and turn them into a Compound Path (Control + 8). Select it and simply add the "Graphic Style 4" from your Graphic Styles panel.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 7

Reselect your "border" shape and make another two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shapes with black, grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply remove the two anchor points highlighted in the third image. Make sure that both black shapes are selected and turn them into a Compound Path (Control + 8). Select it and simply add the "Graphic Style 5" from your Graphic Styles panel.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 8

Select all the shapes that make up the interior of the box and Group them (Control + G). Move to the Layers panel, double click on this new group and name it "interior". Make sure that your "interior" group is selected and send it to back (Shift + Control + [ ). Move to the Layers panel and turn on the visibility for your "topSide" group. Select it along with the rest of the groups that make up your box and Group them (Control + G). This will be your box. Go to the Layers panel and simply name it "boxOne".

Stacked Wooden Boxes

7. Multiply, Recolor and Stack the New Boxes

Step 1

Duplicate your "boxOne" group (Control + C > Control + F). Select this new group, name it "boxTwo" and go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork. Go to the Edit section, make sure that the Recolor Artwork and the Link harmony color buttons are checked then drag the Brightness slider and the color handles roughly as shown in the following image.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 2

Duplicate your "boxTwo" group (Control + C > Control + F). Select this new group, name it "boxThree", go again to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork then drag the Brightness slider and the color handles roughly as shown in the following image.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 3

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For the final steps you will need again a grid every 1px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Spread your boxes as shown in the following image. Take full advantage of the Snap to Grid option and make sure that your groups are perfectly aligned.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 4

Multiply your boxes and spread the copies as shown in the following image.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Step 5

Finally, focus on some of your box groups and move/rotate the "topSide" groups.

Stacked Wooden Boxes

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

Stacked Wooden Boxes
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