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How to Create a Vintage Doily Frame With Flowers in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

If you’re into retro flower illustrations, this tutorial will definitely catch your attention.

Today we'll create a vintage frame by using basic shapes, the Warp Tool, and a Scatter Brush. You will learn how to create pansies and the laced doily. In the end, you’ll get a very romantic illustration!

Have you ever had a chance to visit GraphicRiver? I love their collection of pansies—they are adorable.

1. How to Create the Pansy Flower

Step 1

After creating a New Document 850 x 850 px Width and Height, we will start by drawing the petals for our pansy.

First, we’ll draw an ellipse and then stretch it out as if you were stretching out a piece of pizza dough. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to make an ellipse. On the Tools panel (Window > Tools), double-click on the Warp Tool (Shift-R)

In the new dialogue window, enter the options presented below. The Width and Height on the Global Brush Dimensions can be different from the ones I used. It depends on the petal size for the one you're making. Then, click OK

Once you’ve entered the necessary options, grab the Warp Tool (Shift-R) and pull the mouse in different directions, as shown by the arrows in the image below.

the Warp Tool options window
stretching the ellipse and creating the petal

Step 2

Add another darker ellipse on top of the shape you've created. Change the options for the Warp Tool: double-click on the Warp Tool (Shift-R and Enter), and in the section for Global Brush Dimension, decrease the Width and Height values. Then, hit OK. Now, by using the Warp Tool (Shift-R), stretch this darker ellipse to create the shadow on the petal.

creating the shadow on the petal

Step 3

Let’s continue. Create a violet ellipse and stretch it out again with the Warp Tool (Shift-R). Don't worry—it may look weird now, but once we put everything together, it’ll be cute. Just you wait!

finishinf creating the petal

Step 4

Select all details of the petal and group them together (right-click > Group). Make two more copies of the petal (Control-C, Control-V) and arrange them as shown below.

creating 2nd and 3rd petals

Step 5

To create the fourth petal, make a copy of the first one, and then slightly expand its size and rotate it to the right. Change the colors of this petal as shown in the image below. 

The fifth petal peeps shyly from behind, so we’ll place it behind and slightly tilted to the left. This one will have the darkest color.

creating 4th and 5th petals

Step 6

In the middle of the flower, create two yellow circles (Ellipse Tool (L)) and stretch them with the Warp Tool (Shift-R) to make the pistil and stamens for our pansy. Keep up the good work!

creating pistil and stamens

2. How to Create the Leaf

Step 1

This process will be very similar to the way we created the petals. We’ll start with the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw two ellipses, and then stretch out both ellipses in different directions by using the Warp Tool (Shift-R)

When transforming the smaller, darker ellipse, change the Width and Height in the Warp Tool options (double-click on the Warp Tool and set the necessary values). Using the changed Warp Options (Shift-R), warp the smaller ellipse to create a leaf-like shape.

creating the leaf

Step 2

In this step, we will add the veins of the leaf.

Using the Pencil Tool (N), draw a bunch of veins throughout the leaf. Remember to remove the fill color and choose a dark green stroke color. Before drawing, be sure to check the Round Cap button on the Stroke panel. 

When you are done with the lines, expand them. Select one vein and press Select > Same > Fill color. This will select all the lines you just outlined. Now go to Object > Expand and hit OK. 

Keeping all veins selected, unite them by pressing the Unite button on the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder). Still keeping them selected, make a small touch with the Warp Tool (Shift-R). The veins will now look more realistic.

creating the veins of the leaf

Step 3

Make another copy of this leaf. You can make a mirror reflection of the existing one. While keeping the leaf selected, right-click your mouse and select Transform > Reflect

Once you get a dialogue box, select Axis Vertical, Angle 90 degrees, and press Copy. Make this copy slightly smaller. If you want more changes, you can stretch the new one with the Warp Tool (Shift-R) (optional).

creating another leaf

3. How to Create the Background

Step 1

Let’s make a light cream square for our background. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), click on the artboard and create a square 850 x 850 px with no stroke and the fill color presented below.

creating the background

Step 2

Draw a circle with the Ellipse Tool (L) while holding the Shift button. Place this circle in the middle of the square. To do this, open the Align panel (Window > Align). Set the alignment to Artboard (open the fly-out menu and go to Show Options if you don’t see the Align To section shown here), make sure that your shapes are selected, and click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons. In the end, your circle should be in the middle of the square.

Using the same method, align the square.

creting the background 2

Step 3

In this step, we’ll create a Scatter brush that we can use to make our doily. Delete the fill color and set the stroke color of your choice.

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), hold down the Shift key to make one circle with relatively large stroke weight and no fill. On top of this circle, add a smaller one with a thinner stroke weight.

To make a copy of the smaller circle, select it, and then while holding the Shift and Alt keys, drag it down. Select these two small circles and group them: right-click > Group

While keeping them selected, press the Rotate Tool (R) and the Enter key. In the pop-up window, enter 45 degrees and hit Copy. Press Control-D and you’ll get a copy of these circles rotated in 45-degree increments. 

Continue pressing Control-D until you get the whole flower made from small circles and one large circle in the middle. Expand this image: select all circles and go to Object > Expand.

creating the Scatter brush

Step 4

After expanding the image, the stroke color will automatically change to the fill color. Change this fill color to white and drag the entire set of circles to the Brushes panel. Select the Scatter Brush and enter the options for Scatter Brush presented below.

dragging the Scatter brush to the Brushes panel
New Brush options window
Scatter Brush Options window

Step 5

Now we will use this brush to design our doily. Select the white circle in the middle of the artboard which you created before, and hit the newly created brush. Tadaa—you just made a doily! You can also change the stroke Weight on the Stroke panel if you'd like to adjust the size of the side lace ornaments.

creating the doily lace

4. Place All the Elements Together

Step 1

Now return to your pansy. Make two more copies of it and arrange them together; feel free to change the size.

placing flowers on the background

Step 2

Let's not forget our leaves! Make as many copies of the leaves as you want and place them behind the flowers, but over the background. Congratulations! You're done!

placing leaves on the background

Awesome Work, You're Done!

A round of applause for a job well done! I hope you enjoyed learning some of the processes and shortcuts during the creation of this image in the Adobe Illustrator. As always, feel free to share your project and ask questions in the comments section below. Happy designing!

final image
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