top of page

How to Add a Foil Effect In Illustrator

Today we will be showcasing how to create a foil effect, or clipping mask, in Illustrator if this is your weapon of choice.

This is a bit trickier to create than the Photoshop effect, but we have broken it all down for you below with 11 easy to follow steps.

So lets get started so you can get your shiny artwork ready.


Setup a new document in Illustrator. I'm using the following setup:


Create your design. Whether it is text, a shape or a combination, create anything that you like. We created the submark for our fictions client, Sky Bar (design is part of our Logo & Icon Pack available here).


Make sure to outline all text and line work.

To convert paths to shapes select the entire artwork, go to the top menu, select "Object", then select "Path", and finally "Outline Stroke". All paths are now converted to shapes.

Now to convert Text to Shape. Select all your text, head to the top menu bar, select "Type" and then "Create Outline".


Each element will be clipped individually, so to make this process so much easier, we will be merging a few shapes together. Select the entire design and head to the Pathfinder (Window > Pathfinder) and Select the first Icon (Unite) to merge all the shapes.


We have now minimised the amount of shapes and text that you will need to clip by uniting some shapes into one, but we still need to separate the shapes by ungrouping. Make sure the entire design is selected and right click. From the menu select "Ungroup".

STEP 6 We are finally ready to add some sparkle! Choose the texture that you would like to clip to the shape. We've chosen our golden texture that you can download for free here. Place the texture pdf/jpeg/png. Resize if needed to cover the entire design and then Right Click on the texture and select - Arrange - Send to Back.


Because we need to clip to each shape individually, count the amount of shapes and letters you have and copy the amount of textures for each to be clipped. e.g. Letter "T", Letter "E", Letter "X", Letter "T" = 4 Texture Copies. Copy the amount of textures by hitting Command/Control + C, to copy and Command/Control + V, to paste. Paste the amount of Texture copies you need and select all the texture layers, right click, Arrange and the Send to Back. Example:

STEP 8 We are finally ready to start clipping shapes! Select a shape and the top texture layer. (You can select two layers by holding in the Shift key), Right Click and from the menu bar select "Make Clipping Mask". Your shape will disappear into the background texture.

STEP 9 Repeat the above steps till all shapes have a clipping mask. If any additional texture layers are left you can delete these. After all that is done you should be left with a similar, beautiful result below. RESULT

BONUS STEP 10 If you would like an even more realistic foiled look you can add the following effects. Select the entire design. Head to the top menu bar. Select Effect, Stylize and Inner Glow. Set the blending mode to Multiply. Color code 3a3a3a, Opacity 25% and Blur to 0,05 and hit ok to commit.

STEP 11 Add your final touches. Add a background color if you like, and you are ready to save your design. FINAL RESULT

Like this tutorial? Let us know your thoughts below or share a link to what you created. We love seeing your designs. #foileffect #illustratortutorial #clippingmask #goldlogo


Get 10% off  your custom design quote

bottom of page