Create a Simple Puzzle Piece Icon in Adobe Illustrator

Create a Simple Puzzle Piece Icon in Adobe Illustrator

In the following tutorial you will learn how to create a simple puzzle piece icon in Adobe Illustrator.



Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon


Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CC
  • Estimated Completion Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate

Step 1

Hit Control + N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width and height boxes then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You will need a grid every 5px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid, it will ease your work and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control + " keyboard shortcut.

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 1


Step 2

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke then select the fill and set its color to R=236 G=28 B=36.

Move to your artboard and simply create a 360 x 130px shape, the Snap to Grid should ease your work. You can easily lower the Opacity of this red shape if you wish to see the grid in the back.

Make sure that your shape is selected, open the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency) and simply lower the Opacity to about 50%.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 2


Step 3

Make sure that the Ellipse Tool (L) is still active, create two, 110 x 250px shapes and place them exactly as shown in the first image. Try to use the grid in the back as a reference.

Select all three shapes made so far, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Minus Front button. Make sure that the resulting group is selected and simply hit Shift + Control + G to Ungroup it.

Focus on the remaining shapes, select the two, tiny paths and simply hit the Delete button from your keyboard to remove the them.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 3


Step 4

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create two, 20px squares and place them as shown in the first image.

Switch to the Ellipse Tool (L), create two, 40 x 35px shapes and place them as shown in the second image.

Make sure that these two oval shapes remain selected and go to Effect > Warp > Wave. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 4


Step 5

Reselect all the shapes made so far and simply click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. In the end your shape should look like in the second image.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 5


Step 6

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create two, 20px squares and place them as shown in the first image.

Switch to the Ellipse Tool (L), create two, 35 x 40px shapes and place them as shown in the second image.

Make sure that these two oval shapes remain selected and go to Effect > Warp > Wave. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 6


Step 7

Reselect all the shapes made so far and simply click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape, make sure that the Opacity is set at 100% and replace the existing fill color with R=39 G=170 B=225.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 7


Step 8

Keep focusing on your blue shape and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the sixteen anchor points highlighted by the blue circles in the following image, focus on the control panel and simply enter "3.5px" in that Corners box.

Using the same tool, select the four anchor points highlighted by the green circles in the following image, return to the control panel and enter "5px" in the Corners box. In the end your blue shape should look like in the second image.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 8


Step 9

Make sure that your blue shape is still selected and go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel. Click the More Options button, enter all the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 9


Step 10

Reselect your 3D shape and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Make sure that the resulting group is selected and simply hit Shift + Control + G twice.

Focus on the Layers panel and turn off the visibility for the two, blue shapes that make up the front and the back side of your puzzle piece.

Select the remaining visible shapes, click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel then simply hit Control + 8 to turn them into a simple compound path.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 10


Step 11

Focus on the Layers panel and turn on the visibility of the two, blue shapes. Select only the front one and simply make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select it along with your black compound path and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is selected, turn it into a new compound path (Control + 8) and replace the existing fill color with R=28 G=117 B=188.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 11


Step 12

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) then go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set at 1px.

Make sure that your blue compound path is selected and make two copies in front (Control + > Control + F > Control + F).

Select the top copy and move it 3px up using the up arrow button from your keyboard.

Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is selected, turn it into a new compound path (Control + 8) and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). Replace the existing fill color with black then simply click on the "Opacity" piece of text to open the Transparency fly-out panel. Simply lower the Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 12


Step 13

Make sure that the shape that makes up the front side of your puzzle piece is selected and make two copies in front (Control + > Control + F > Control + F).

Select the top copy and move it 1px up using that same up arrow button from your keyboard.

Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a new compound path (Control + 8) then focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). Replace the existing fill color with white then lower the Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 13


Step 14

Reselect the shape that makes up the front side of your puzzle piece, open the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient) and simply click on the gradient thumbnail to add the default black to white linear gradient.

Keep focusing on your Gradient panel, set the Angle at 90 degrees then move to the gradient colors. Select the right slider and set the color to R=28 G=117 B=188 then select the left slider and set the color to R=39 G=170 B=225.

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Step 15

Reselect the shape that makes up the front side of your puzzle piece, focus on the Appearance panel, select the stroke and set its color to white.

Keep focusing on the Appearance panel and simply click on the "Stroke" piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel. Set the Weight to 5px and check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

Return to the Appearance panel, make sure that your stroke is still selected, lower its Opacity to 15% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. In the end things should look like in the following image.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 15


Step 16

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and simply click on your artboard to open the Rectangle window. Enter "610px" in the Width and Height boxes then click the OK button to get your 610px square. Fill this new shape with R=254 G=239 B=222 then send it to back (Shift-Control-[ ).

Next, you need to center this new shape, so open the Align panel (Window > Align). Set the aligning to Artboard (open the fly out menu and go to Show Options if you can’t see the Align To section as shown in the following image) then simply click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons. In the end your square should cover the entire artboard as shown in the following image.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 16


Step 17

Focus on the Layers panel, select the blue shape that makes up the back side of your puzzle piece and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK.

Return to the Appearance panel. Select the existing stroke, set the color to black and the Weight to 1px, lower its Opacity to 15% and check the Align Stroke to Outside button from the Stroke fly-out panel.

Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, make sure that the existing stroke is still selected and duplicate it using the Duplicate Selected Item button (indicated by the blue circle in the following image). Select this new stroke, lower its Opacity to 5% and increase the Weight to 3px.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 17


Step 18

Select all the shapes that make up your puzzle piece and duplicate them (Control + C > Control + F). Select these fresh copies and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel, set the fill color to black and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon 18


Step 19

Make sure that the shape made in the previous step is still selected and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Move to the Layers panel, Ungroup (Shift + Control + G) this newly created group and you will get two new groups, one masked and one simple. Delete the simple one then select the masked one, lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

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And We’re Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

How to Create a Puzzle Piece Icon