Christmas in July - Creating Present Earrings in Adobe Illustrator

If you've been following along on my social media (or in Sam's Little Group), you've probably noticed that I LOVE making earring designs. Thanks to Melody of Custom Made Better Acrylic, I was able to do a live recording on how to use Adobe Illustrator for iPad to show how I personally make layered earring files to use with my Glowforge laser. Melody let me go live in her Facebook Group, Acrylic Obsessed - Laser Edition, and it was so much fun! You can watch the replay here on my YouTube channel

I promised to also do a written instruction blog, so here we go!

First and foremost - open up your iPad and Adobe Illustrator. I always work with my apple pencil. 

  • Create a new document. I have a template set up for 19x12" (just under the workable size for the Glowforge bed so I can just upload and go!) 

For this section - you don't need to worry about the size yet. We will fix that later on. 

  • Create a circle using the circle tool

  • Select the circle with the selection tool (the first arrow) and use the plus sign to duplicate your circle. Move it to the side somewhat. 

  • Pick the direct selection tool (the second arrow) and click on the circle. You will see the nodes/anchor points appear. Highlight and delete out the center top and bottom points, leaving just the points on the sides. Your circle will shrink up some, don't worry. Click on the outer anchor point, and when the anchor point lines tool comes up, use them to adjust them until you have a rounded triangle of sorts (or whatever shape you'd like your bow sides to be!) 

  • Use the selection tool and select this piece, then duplicate it and move it towards the other side of the circle.
  • Use the align tool and flip the rounded triangle so it mirrors the other side. 

  • Arrange the bow pieces around the center until you are satisfied with the placement. Highlight and select the whole piece, and then use the shape builder tools - click combine, and then click convert to path at the bottom of the menu. This will make the bow one solid piece and get rid of any overlapping lines. 

  • Now it is time to create your present box. Click on the shape tool, select the square. Start with a skinny rectangle for the top piece. Create a second rectangle underneath that is slightly smaller in width and as tall as you like. 

  • Using outline mode, align the shapes so the rectangle edges are perfectly aligned with no overlapping pieces. Place the bow where you like. 

  • Create the + shaped ribbon using the rectangle tool. You can create the first one, rotate it, and then adjust as needed so they have the same thickness. 

    From here, you can highlight the entire design and resize. I do approximately 1.75" at the largest. 

  • Once you have your design ready, highlight everything, and duplicate it and move one version off to the side. 

  • Highlight one version of your design, and use the shape builder tool - combine, then convert to path. You have now made your backer!

  • Go back to your original design. Duplicate the bow and put it off to the side. Highlight everything and use shape builder - divide, and then ungroup. 

  • Delete any unnecessary pieces (the cut off top of the bow, etc.) and arrange by what will be each color (box pieces one color, ribbon pieces another, and then the 1/16 backer).

  • Add your jump ring hole (0.07 inches) to the backer and to the bow. Use outline mode to make sure they line up together. 
  • Highlight all elements, duplicate, and then flip so you have the right and left earrings.

To create the scoring version, utilize the path tools (cut, smart delete, and delete) to remove any overlapping areas. 


Below are the materials used in this process: 


iPad Pro with Apple Pencil

Adobe Illustrator for iPad


Red Glitter Jellies

Green Color Carve

Black Tie Glitter

Dawn Prism Iridescent 

Black 1/16

Jump Rings: 6mm and 8mm

Earring Findings

3M 467mp double sided adhesive

Other Resources:

Sam's Little Group on Facebook:

My favorites laser materials/suppliers (constantly evolving, but I will try to keep this updated!):

My Glowforge Referral Code:

One month of Creative Fabrica for $1

My Social Media & Shop

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