How to Make a Door Paneling Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Updated July 19, 2017

The vector graphics software package Adobe Illustrator does not have a wood grain effect to make door panelling in one step. However, you can use Adobe Illustrator's shape, fill and pencil tools to create your own door panelling effect and use a clipping mask to transfer the effect to other objects. The benefit of creating the door panelling effect in Illustrator is that the object with this effect can be resized and stretched and still retain its sharpness, because it is a vector graphic.

Open Adobe Illustrator, choose "New Print" or "New Web" document from the opening screen, and give your new file a name in the New Document dialogue box.

Click to select the rectangle shape tool in the toolbox.

Click and drag a long vertical rectangle on the screen.

Fill this rectangle with a tan or brown colour that represents the type of wood you are trying to simulate by clicking on the Fill tool and choosing a colour. The colour used in the example here is R 154, G 90, B 0.

Click the Selection tool in the toolbox and click anywhere on the workspace outside the rectangle to deselect it.

Click the Pencil tool in the toolbox, then in the properties area at the top of the screen, choose a stroke colour slightly darker than your rectangle colour, a stroke size of 1, 2, or 3pt, and opacity between 60 and 90 per cent.

Click and drag to create vertical pencil lines down your rectangle. Vary the colour, stroke size and opacity every few lines so they aren't all the same.

Choose "All" from the Select menu.

Click the Select tool in the toolbox, if it's not already the active tool, and click and drag the middle handle on the rectangle inward to made the rectangle thinner and squish the pencil lines closer together.

Click on the rectangle tool and drag an empty (no fill) rectangle on top of your brown rectangle with the lines to clip it and remove any pencil paths that went over the edges.

Choose "All" from the Select menu again, then "Clipping Mask---Make from the Object" menu to create a plank of wood. This object can now be scaled, rotated and duplicated to create a literal "door" from the "planks" of panelling, or you can put other shapes on top of the rectangle and repeat the clipping mask to apply the door panelling effect to them.


Use the Warp tool to add random waves to your pencil lines. Try the Artistic/Rough Pastels effect to give the wood a rougher surface.

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About the Author

Katelyn Kelley worked in information technology as a computing and communications consultant and web manager for 15 years before becoming a freelance writer in 2003. She specializes in instructional and technical writing in the areas of computers, gaming and crafts. Kelley holds a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and computer science from Boston College.