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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Collage

How to Create Retro Polaroids on a Clothesline in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, you will learn how to make Polaroids hanging on a clothesline using the Mesh Tool.

If you'd like to skip this tutorial and just purchase the end result, head over to GraphicRiver to purchase Retro photos hanging on a rope. If you're looking for Polaroid mockups to use in marketing, then head over to Placeit! You'll find easily editable templates perfect for every occasion.

Polaroid Frame Template PNG
You can find a variety of Polaroid picture template PNGs from the Placeit library.

Ready to learn how to make retro Polaroids hanging on a realistic clothesline? Let's get started!

1. How to Create the Clothes Pegs

Step 1

Create a brown rectangle. Then, take the Mesh Tool (U) and, following the picture below, create a mesh grid. Color certain nodes with certain colors, as seen in the screenshot.

brown rectangle dark brown middle

Step 2

Continue with the coloring of the clothespin. Make sure to color the right Mesh nodes!

more realistic gap in the middle

Step 3

Follow the steps below to make the clothespin more realistic.

shadow on top

Step 4

Finish the wooden part of the item with these three steps.

highlight in the middle

Step 5

Now, on to the metal part of the pin!

Create a line in the shape of an L with the Pen Tool (P) and apply a gradient to its stroke.

gradient B68159-C7B299-8F855A-68662D

Step 6

Go to Object > Expand to create a mesh out of the shape.

see above

Step 7

Create a node on the bend of our object, making a new row of mesh. It will be helpful later.

see above

Step 8

Unfortunately, the mesh has way too many columns to work with right now, so let's reduce them.

Using the Mesh Tool (U), create a new node in a column you want to remove, and press Delete. Like this, you won't be deleting the original rows—we will need them in order to color it effectively.

see above

Step 9

Continue removing columns, until there are just three left: two on the sides, and one in the middle. Make sure you don't accidentally remove the rows!

see above

Step 10

Stretch the nodes on the top of the shape to give a sharp edge.

see above

Step 11

Make the other end of the shape rounder.

see above

Step 12

Color the edges of the shape with a darker green and create some extra mesh nodes in the indicated positions.

dark color 57522A

Step 13

Create even more nodes, and then color the nodes in the middle with white to create highlights.

white color FFFFFA

Step 14

Create a long, narrow, brown rectangle for the side of the clothespin.

color 553516

Step 15

Place the metal part onto the wooden part of the clothespin.

in the dark gap

Step 16

Place the narrow rectangle from Step 14 onto the side of the pin.

above the metal part

We're done with our clothespin!

2. How to Create the Mesh Rope

Step 1

Create a part of the rope with Mesh, following the steps below.

create a slanted part of a rope

Step 2

Create copies of the shape and join them into a rope.

see above

Step 3

Continue copying the parts of the clothesline until your rope is about as long as indicated below.

about 40 original shapes

Step 4

Go to Effect > Warp > Arc and set the Bend value to 25%.

see above

Apply Object > Expand Appearance to keep the bent shape of the rope.

Step 5

Right-click on the object and select Transform > Reflect.

Reflect the shape Horizontally.

see above

Step 6

Repeat the step, but this time reflect the rope Vertically.

see above

Step 7

Finally, shrink the width of the rope a little bit.

shrink to about 80 of original width

3. How to Create the Photos

Step 1

Now it's time to make the Polaroid frame vector. Create a beige rectangle with a mesh grid and color it like a piece of old paper.

How to Make Polaroids Frame Vector Tutorial see above

Step 2

Now, create a dark brown rectangle and add it to the old paper.

How to Make Polaroids Template Vector Tutorial like a polaroid

Step 3

Place the pin on top of our Polaroid.

How to Make Polaroids Frame Vector Tutorial see above

Step 4

Now that we've made the Polaroid template vector, let's create the shadow for the clothespin!

First, create two colored rectangles, one beige and one brown. Set the Opacity of the beige rectangle to 0%. Proceed to Object > Blend > Blend Options. Set the mode to Specified Steps and the number of steps to 30.

Finally, select both rectangles and go to Object > Blend > Make.

How to Make Polaroid Template Vector Tutorial beige FCD6B0 brown 4C341A

Step 5

Place the shadow to the right of the clothespin. Don't forget to "hide" it under the pin and the black part of the photo by adjusting the order of the items in the Layers panel.

You can also rotate the pin a little bit, as I've done below. It adds realism to the Polaroid template vector.

How to Make Polaroids Template Vector Tutorial see above

Step 6

Create four copies of the whole group of Polaroid frame vectors and place them in a half circle onto our rope.

How to Make Polaroids Template Vector Tutorial see above

4. How to Create the Background

Step 1

Create a mesh sky out of a blue rectangle.

darker on top lighter on the bottom

Step 2

Place the clothesline with the Polaroid frame template onto the blue background.

see above

Step 3

Make sure the ends of the rope go out of bounds of our sky.

Then create a rectangle, following the size of the blue background, select all the items, and proceed to Right-click > Make Clipping Mask.

see above

Step 4

Now, if you want to add clouds to your illustration, I'll write a tutorial on that soon, so check my instructor profile to see when that is published, and learn how to create realistic clouds!

I've used a square mesh for the cloud in this tutorial instead of the original ellipse.

After you've finished your cloud, go to Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Colors and set the value of Blue to -10% to give the cloud a more retro look.

see above

Step 5

Arrange the clouds as shown in the pictures.

Every time you place a set of clouds with the indicated opacity, turn off the visibility of the group by clicking the eye icon next to it in the Layers panel.

create realistic clouds

Step 6

Turn the visibility of all clouds back on (click the eye icon in the Layers panel) to see the end result.

see above

Step 7

Place the clouds behind the clothesline, and you're done!

see above

Awesome Work, You're Now Done!

What now? You can try any of my other tutorials from my profile, or check out my portfolio on GraphicRiver, as well as the original image we recreated in this tutorial.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and will be extremely happy to see any results in the comments below!

Retro photos hanging on a rope
Retro photos hanging on a rope

Top Polaroid Picture Templates From Placeit

If you like the retro aesthetic to show off your brand, you'll love these Polaroid photo templates. Each scene is different and can be edited online thanks to Placeit.

1. Mockup of Three Polaroid Picture Frames Over a Checkered Tablecloth

Online Retro Polaroid Picture Template PNG

This Polaroid mockup features a stylish picnic scene. You can upload three images into the frames. Add your text and even adjust photo effects in this Polaroid frame template PNG.

2. Moodboard Mockup Featuring Film Frame Pictures

Polaroid Picture Template PNG

Show what your customers should have on their moodboards with this Polaroid photo template. Add five pictures of your product or location to this Polaroid mockup. You can customize the blue background with a different color or texture! It's a nice choice if you need a Polaroid frame template.

3. Instax Frame Mockup of a Man Holding His Instant Picture

Man Holding Polaroid Photo Template PNG

Here's a Polaroid picture template PNG with a human touch. It's a simple template of a man holding out a retro photo. You can add text and image effects to this Polaroid mockup.

4. Multiple Polaroid Picture Frames Mockup Over an Atlas Map

Polaroid Photo Template PNG

If you're a travel blogger, this is the perfect Polaroid mockup. It features a desk scene with a few image frames placed over a map. You can add three of your photos to this vertical rectangle Polaroid frame template PNG.

5. Mockup of a Blue Jacket Person Holding an Instax Picture Frame

Hand Holding Polaroid Picture Template PNG

Here's a minimal Polaroid photo template. Its simplicity draws attention towards the image you'd like to upload. You can experiment with the background color as well as photo effects. This vertical rectangle Polaroid frame template even lets you add text for a brand promo.

Learn More About Design & Illustration From Envato Tuts+ 

Want more fun tutorials and templates like this one? Our Envato Tuts+ team has lots of guides and roundups you can use to learn new skills and find new assets. You can check out some of them below.

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