In today’s tutorial, I’ll be showing you how to make ric rac, or wavy lines, in 5 easy steps using Adobe Illustrator.
You can watch the full video below, or scroll down for written directions.
The good news is creating wavy lines in Illustrator doesn’t require the pen tool at all. If you’ve ever tried to use the pen tool to create perfectly symmetrical wavy lines, you probably couldn’t achieve it. And if you did, you probably ripped out most of your hair along the way.
To achieve wavy ric rac lines, we’ll be using a combination of the Line Segment Tool and the powerful Zig Zag Effect in the Distort & Transform menu bar.
In this tutorial, I’m using Illustrator Creative Cloud (which is a fancy way of saying that I’m using a cloud-based Illustrator with all the latest & greatest features), but creating wavy lines is a basic process that you can easily recreate in older versions of Illustrator. Keep in mind that depending on which version you’re using, it may require a few additional steps. Certain tools or features might be located in slightly different places as well.
How to Create Ric Rac (Wavy Lines) in Illustrator
How to Create Ric Rac in Illustrator Step #1: Draw out a straight line
In the toolbar, choose the Line Segment Tool. Hold down the Shift key while you drag out a line. Holding shift keeps it perfectly level.
How to Create Ric Rac in Illustrator Step #2: Create Waves
In the top menu bar, choose Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag. Make sure Preview is checked so you can adjust the waves to your liking.
- Size affects the height of the line.
- Ridges per Segment will give us more or fewer waves.
- To round the waves, select Smooth (rather than Corner).
Play around with the settings until you like what you see, then click Ok.
How to Create Ric Rac in Illustrator Step #3: Adjust the Thickness of the Ric Rac
Using the Selection Tool (keyboard shortcut: V), you can adjust the stroke up or down until you reach the desired thickness.
How to Create Ric Rac in Illustrator Step #4: Drag out More Ric Rac
If you want more than one wavy line, with the Selection Tool, click the line while holding Shift + Alt (Option).
If you want to create more lines that are the same distance apart, a quick shortcut is to press Command (Control) + D
How to Create Ric Rac in Illustrator Step #5: Change Colors & Make Final Adjustments
Select each line individually to change the color according to your liking.
With the line (or lines) selected, you can also return to Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag to make adjustments to the number of ridges or the height of your ric rac.
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