How to Create a Clipping Mask with Layers using Adobe Illustrator

I am going to share with you one of my favorite features in illustrator, THE CLIPPING MASK. There are many ways of creating a clipping mask in Adobe Illustrator but I am going to show you how to create a clipping mask using the layers palette. I use it a lot for creating patterns and invitation cards. Think of clipping mask as cropping, like in the picture above. It looks cropped but if I wanted to, I could go back and move the flowers around. Ok, let's get started.

STEP 1

Go to FILE > NEW and set the document to whatever size you want. In my case, I created a 12in x 12in document.
 

 

STEP 2

Go to tools palette and select the rectangle tool.

STEP 3

Now that the rectangle tool is selected click on the center of your art-board once to bring up the rectangle option box. Now put in your actual document size from step 1 and click ok. It doesn't matter if your rectangle box has a fill or stroke at this point because the
box will turn to white.

STEP 4

Now we need to center the rectangle box with the align tool palette.
Go to WINDOW>ALIGN to bring up the align tool box. Select the rectangle shape you just created and go to the align box and click on HORIZONTAL ALIGN CENTER and VERTICAL ALIGN CENTER.

STEP 5

If you made it this far, congrats! We are almost there. Now bring up the layers palette. Go to WINDOW > LAYERS. With Layer 1 selected NOT the rectangle layer in the layers palette, click on MAKE/RELEASE CLIPPING MASK that's on the bottom of the layers palette. You might not notice anything at first but the magic has begun. Now you can put any objects on layer 1 and it will crop. That's it! I hope this tutorial was helpful to you, if so you please share with your friends.