Create a snow globe in Adobe Illustrator

It’s wintertime! As a child I loved to watch how the snow was falling in the snow globe to the roof of the little house inside. So i thought to recreate this snow globe in Adobe Illustrator.

In this tutorial you will learn how to create a realistic snow globe in Adobe Illustrator. You will learn how to draw basic shapes, apply gradients for more realism and use the Symbol Sprayer Tool.

1. Open a new document, i’m working with a 800x600px workspace with CMYK color mode. Select the Ellipse Tool (L), and create an ellipse with these sizes: width = 400px and height = 400px. Fill this object with a blue color (C=85, M=65, Y=5, K=0).

2. Select the Mesh Tool (U). Create 4 new points on the ellipse as you see on the image below. Use the Direct Selection Tool (A), to select the newly created points, and color them as shown.

3. Create a new circle with the Ellipse Tool (L), fill it with white color. To align the two circles, select both of them (Shift+Click), and press the Horizontal Align Center and the Vertical Align buttons on the Align Panel (Windows -> Align).

4. Duplicate the white circle. To do this, select it, press Ctrl + C (Copy), and Ctrl + F (Paste in front). Fill the new circle with black. Select the Mesh Tool (U), and create new gradient mesh as you see below. As you did before, select two points with the Direct Selection Tool (A), and fill them with white.

5. Now you need to select the two smaller circles, but you can’t see the white circle. So, select all three objects, and deselect the blue circle by clicking on it while pressing the Shift key. With BOTH circles selected, go to the Transparency Panel, and in the upper right, click on the little arrow and select “Make Opacity Mask” (In AI CS6 just click on the “Make Mask” button).

6. Now, that you have the shining effect, rotate a little as you see on the image above.

7. Let’s create snow! Create a snowflake (in this case it’s enough to create a small circle with the Ellipse Tool). Drag and drop it to the Symbols Panel.

On the Symbol Options set the name of the symbol, “snowflakes”, and set the type to “Graphic”. Press OK.

8. Select the Symbol Sprayer Tool (Shift + S) and start spraying around by holding down the mouse button. If you are satisfied with the result, select the Symbol Sizer Tool. Click on the snowflakes randomly to modify their size a little bit.

9. Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool and create two rounded rectangles.
Hint: to modify the roundness of them, press the Up or  Down keys, while holding down the mouse button.

10. With the Rectangle Tool (M) create two rectangles above the two rounded rectangles. Fill the new objects with gradients as shown the below image.

11. Here are the colors for the rounded rectangles:

… and here are for the rectangles:

12. Select the four objects, group them together (Ctrl + G). Go to Object -> Envelope Distort -> Make with Warp. Select Arc from the drop-down menu and set the Bend to -10%.

  13. Here is the result:

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14. Create another circle with the Ellipse Tool. Fill it with a radial gradient from black to white.

15. Modify the height of the circle so you get an ellipse. Place it to the bottom of the globe and go to Object -> Arrange -> Send to Back (Shift + Ctrl + [ ).

16. Draw a shape with the Pen Tool (P). Fill it with a linear gradient from light blue to white. Create another and fill with light blue.

17. Create a circle with the Ellipse Tool, the same size as the blue circle. While the circle selected, press the Shift key and select the two shapes. Press the right mouse button and select Make Clipping Mask.

… and this is the result, the “snow” is inside the sphere.

18. Now you need to place behind the brown holder. Go to Object -> Arrange -> Send Backward (Ctrl+[ ). Repeat this step, until your object is on its place. And you’re done!

You can place any object you want (house, snowman, Christmas tree) inside the sphere, but don’t forget to Send Backward until the object is beneath the “snowflakes”.


Check out this free pack with snow globes!

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  • Bypass666

    I quite liked this, however how did you make it transparent in the original example up top? (you can see through the snow globe). Thanks!

    • graphit

      That final image was created in Photoshop. So I exported a JPG without the bubble, only the bottom part + the house, then only the bubble. Then in Photoshop I’ve changed the bubbles transparency to 50-70%.

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  • buttnuts

    This is a terrible school project btw -.-

    • graphit

      Really? We’re proud that our tutorial arrived to your school 🙂