Draw a Spiral Christmas Tree in Illustrator

Draw a Spiral Christmas Tree in Illustrator
In this tutorial, we will create a spiral Christmas tree path. It has many applications depending what you apply to the path. Have fun with the brushes in the Brushes pane.

We are lucky in that IllustratorR has a nice Spiral tool that we can use to draw the perfect spiral for our tree. The default setting will give use a small spiral with only a few segments and the spiral is very open. If we transform this default spiral into a tree, it would be a very skimpy tree.

Our first decision is the Radius setting, which determines the length from the center of the spiral to the outer most anchor point on the end of the path. I have found that a radius of about 2 in is a good size but you might want to increase the Radius if you want a bigger tree overall.

Another adjustment will be to increase the number of segments. Each wind of the spiral is made up from four segments. When we transform the spiral to a tree, each wind of the spiral will become a layer of branches. We need a lot more branches on our tree. So let's increase the number of segments.

  1. Click on the workspace with the Spiral tool and set the Radius to 2 in and the Segments option to 40. Keep the dialog box open.

Now that we have more segments, we still need to tighten the spiral. We will do this by increasing the Decay. The Decay determines the amount of space between winds of the spiral.

  1. In the dialog box, set the Decay to 95%, which will tighten the spiral significantly. Click OK to create the spiral.

As you can see, the inner winds of the spiral are now very close together, especially in the center of the spiral. When we add a brush style to the path, this center will become a blob at the top of our tree. So let's remove the inner most winds.

  1. Use the Eraser tool to remove the inner three winds of the spiral.

Now comes the fun part, when we transform this spiral in to a Christmas tree.

  1. Select the spiral and click on the Free Transform tool. Grab the center top handle and drag downward until the spiral looks flattened.

Now we need to pull up on the inner most anchor point which will open the spiral into a tree shape.

  1. With the spiral still selected, click on the Reshape tool. Drag the end point at the center of the spiral path upward. You might want to zoom in on the center of the spiral to see the end point.

Now we have one spiral path in the shape of a Christmas tree. You might want to try some of the ink and marker brushes.

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