Make a Christmas Light Bulb in Illustrator

05 December 2008

Christmas is now just a few days away, so in this festival season I will show you how quickly make a Christmas light bulb in Adobe Illustrator. So lets move on to make it & decorate it with snowflakes & seasonal shinyness!!

Step 1
Select the Ellipse Tool (L), hold down shift & draw a circle & fill it with radial gradient, without stroke, you can choose any colors of your choice or follow along with me: for the first slider I chose, R(237)G(78)B(155) & for the second, R(138)G(40)B(90)

Step 2
Now, again with the Ellipse Tool(L) draw a oval with the Black & White linear gradient fill with no stroke as shown in the image below.

Step 3
Select the oval we drew in step 2, & change its Blending Mode (in the Transparency Palette) to Screen & bring it over the circle we drew in step 1.

Step 4
Next, with the Rectangle Tool(M) draw a small rectangle of about 29 by 19 pixels & fill it with 4 slider linear gradient as shown in the image below. For the 1st slider, I chose R(237)G(78)B(155), for 2nd R(255)G(255)B(255), for 3rd same as 1st & for 4th R(82)G(40)B(90).

Step 5
Now, place the rectangle exactly over the top center of the circle & drag the bottom 2 points of the rectangle a bit in the outward direction with the Direct Selection Tool(A).

After that, select the rectangle if it is not already selected & right click over it & select Arrange>Send to Back.

Step 6
Draw a small circle approx. of 21 by 21px with Ellipse Tool having no fill & the stroke color, R-82 G-40 B-90. Now, with the circle selected click on the double click on the Scale Tool(S) & in the dialogue box, scale the size of the circle to 90% & hit copy. And, change the color of the inner/smaller circle to, R-237 G-78 B-155, which is no fill & only stroke.

Now, you should have some thing like the image below. You can also group both the circle.

Step 7
Select & place the rings in the center point of the rectangle we made in step 5. Right click on the rings & select Arrange>Sent to Back.

Step 8
Now, what we need is a string over the rings to hold our bulb, right? For that you can make your own pattern brush which is not a difficult task but since we want to make a light bulb very quickly as Christmas is approaching fast, we will download a nice bead brush from here . Load the brush in your Brush Palette. Now with the Line Tool draw a straight line (holding down shift key) above your rings, as shown in the image below. The color of my line is, R-237 G-78 B-155.

Step 9
With the line still selected, click on the brush named, Marble String from the brushes that we have downloaded in step 8.

From the Stroke Palette reduce the Weight of the brush to 0.15pt or anything that suits the bulb you're making. With the same brush you can also make one more such string. Your, light bulb should now look like this:

Step 10
Now, we're almost done, but we want to decorate the bulb a bit! For this we will need some snowflakes, you can download snowflakes brushes from here or from Adobe Exchange. Next, select the circle that we made in Step 1, go to Edit>Copy & then, Edit>Paste in Front.

Step 11
After that, load the snowflakes brush in your Brush Palette & with the Brush Tool(B), click anywhere on your artboard to have a snowflake. Select the snowflake & go to, Object>Expand Appearance to turn your snowflake brush stroke into a shape.

Also, for the purpose of cleanliness, with your snowflake selected, goto Object>Path>Clean Up to remove all the stray/unwanted points & paths. Also, change the stroke to none, we need only fills.

Step 12
Finally, place the snowflake over the circle, if it is too small you can scale its size, you can also select, Effect>Warp>Arc to bend it slightly.Then, with the snowflake still selected, hold down shift key & select, one of the circle that we duplicated in Step 10.

Next, with both the shapes selected, hold down Alt key & hit Intersect Shape Area button in Pathfinder Palette to remove the unwanted parts of snowflake.

And, that should be it! Your light bulb is ready! I also changed the fill color of snowflake to white & reduced its opacity to 50%.

So now, I am sure you can also make a fancy greeting card like I made this. For this, I made more snowflakes than one and grouped them all & rest of the process remains the same as explained in Step 12 above.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial & if you have any questions/confusions, feel free to ask!

You may also like to read:
Make a Stylized Christmas Tree in Illustrator


Anonymous said...

creative, thanks

Anonymous said...

very beautiful...amazing art...

Anonymous said...

It would be really nice if you explained things a little better. I'm VERY new to Photoshop and I have no idea on how to fill the circle in with a gradient. I really wish someone would make easy to follow tutorials for people that are teaching themselves and aren't familiar with Photoshop at all :\

Anonymous said...

You dumb sh!t. It's a great tutorial and you should be happy someone took the time. This is a Illustrator tutorial... not Photoshop. If you are teaching yourself, try starting off with the basics like "what program am I using?"

The Muse said...

Thanks all!

And @Anonymous #3-It is a Illustrator tutorial. I have tried my best to explain it well, should not be tough for beginners or intermediate users!

Anonymous said...

I like your work, very nice and very talented. I wish their was a little more. I'm trying this with Illustrator hope thats what it was intended for. My black & gray linear gradeint is not working like yours.

Anonymous said...

Oops correction, finally got that B & W gradient to work.

G said...

Very nice tutorial! Don't mention the Anonymous above, someone new to PHOTOSHOP shouldn't come to an ILLUSTRATOR tutorial. Besides you explained it very well for even beginners with shortcuts and all.

I got a problem at step 12 though; The intersect doesn't seem to be working with me, I followed you all the way (except for the colours). Maybe because I select in in the menu instead of the button (I can't seem to find the palette..weird).

G said...

Ah! Nevermind, it was truly because of the palette itself. Anyway The Muse, very nice! If you have more tutorials of your own please tell me :)

The Muse said...

@#5 Anonymous- Glad you got to work it out!

@G- Thanks.
Well, I will be writing more tutorials, so stay tuned or good get yourself subscribed to the blog's feed! :)

@ All- PLEASE WRITE YOUR NAMES,"Anonymous" ain't a name right?!! aaarrrghhhh haha

Patrick said...

Very nice work. I have some questions. I am using CS2 and can't seem to duplicate your step 3. Perhaps I am missing something but "screen" just stays white when brought over the circle from step one. Do you know if this does not work in CS2? And also, could you supply the link to the bead gem brush in step 8. It reads "we will download a nice bead brush from here" but I don't know where here is.

The Muse said...

Patrick, in the Step 3, I hope you're changing the Blending Mode of the oval to Screen, for that you should have your Transparency Palette open, if not go to Windows>Transparency. Although, I have made it in CS3, it should work for CS2 as well!

As regarding the bead gem, just hover & click your cursor on "here", you will see the link.

Hope this helps.

Patrick said...

Thanks. Yes I am doing all of those things. It's just not cooperating with me today. Perhaps my mojo is off. I will keep searching for an answer. And also thanks for redirecting me to the link for the brush.

jenna said...

i am also having trouble with the screen in step 3. i am just getting a while oval. i'm not sure why this isn't working.

Patrick said...

To: The Muse. Thanks for your help. I was using just 100% black as my second color in the gradient. When I switched to a four color black it worked fine. Most of my illustration work is for print not the web so I have to work in cmyk and leave the black as just black.

I enjoyed your art gallery. Keep up the good work.

The Muse said...

@ Jenna- If you're having similar prob. as that of Patrick, please check back his reply-he has solved his prob., pls. check if you're also using CMYK mode.

@ Patrick- Glad you solved the issue. I also always use cmyk mode, but for this tut, i thought to switch to rgb mode.
Thank You.

Lee said...

I really LOVE this tutorial! I didn't even used Photoshop or Illustrator, but Corel Paint Shop Pro :) I do have PS and Illustrator, but they use to much of my recources :) Sorry for my spelling, I am not English speaking :)

Thanks for all the effort writing this tutorial, I appreciate!


The Muse said...

Lee, you're most welcome & your English is fine! :)

tony5 said...

At first thank you for your share.I'm a foreigner,and my English is not very good,hope that you may understand what I'm talking about.I had downloaded the bead brush in step 8,but when I opened it ,there was nothing. Could you mail the source file to me? And the address is you very much.

The Muse said...

Tony5, try downloading it again, it works.
I hope you're loading the brushes in Brush Palette to make it work!

Anonymous said...

Excellent, I am basically competent in In Design, so this was relatively easy to complete. Great tutorial, thank you.

Tony5 said...

To: The Muse. Thanks for your help.I have got it.Thank you ~~Keep up~

The Muse said...

@Clare: Most welcome!

@Tony5: Glad you could download it.

Kate said...

Would it be possible for you to send me the gradient you used for the background?

my email is

Thank you!!

The Muse said...

Kate, no need for email, here is the color for bg:
It is a gradient: for first slider:R174 G222 B228
for 2nd slider: R208G223 B223
for 3rd:R250 G252 B252


Lolilou said...

For the step 2, black could be a real black : 100% for cyan, majenta, yellow and black. Otherwise, the effect of the step 3 will not work.


Anonymous said...

hi thanks a lot for the wonderful tutorial . the output was great . i really enjoyed working .


The Muse said...

Hi nivi, You're welcome & glad you enjoyed!

mossimo pausini said...

Es el diseño navideño mas hermoso que he visto
muchas gracias por tu tutorial.

Anonymous said...

it don't work. when i create the oval and change the blending mode to Screen, it just change to white.

dezign Musings said...

@Anonymous- Please make sure that you document's Color Mode is RGB, if it is CMYK, choose black to be a real black : 100% for cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Anonymous said...

Hi im really new at this and do not have a clue how to load the beads into brush palette, im stuck at this step

dezign Musings said...

@Anonymous- Hi, try this tutorial to load the brushes.

Anonymous said...

Hi thank you so much for the tutorial link. i can't seem to bring up the pathfinder palette i can only see it in effect and then there is intercept but its not doing much, what am i doing wrong, sorry

dezign Musings said...

No probs. :) You can find the pathfinder palette under "Windows" menu.

Anonymous said...

~nice& easy^^

yujiayao said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ummi said...

This was very handy for me and nicely written! I am facing a problem while placing snowflake, kindly mention clearly as how can I place such snowflakes on the bulb respectively with eclipse. I tried the effect>ARC, but it is not placing correctly as you have placed those snowflakes right and accurate.

Claire Bond said...

This may be a stupid question but where is the Ellipse Tool? I’m new to Photoshop and I need a bit of help.

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