How to Make Clipping Mask in Adobe Illustrator

There are different methods of making clipping masks in Illustrator. You can go to the overhead menu, click Object > Clipping Mask > Make; right-click on the mouse and click Make Clipping Mask; make a Clipping Mask quick action or Layers panel, or you can also use the keyboard shortcut.

To make a clipping mask using any method, select your design and the object that will serve as the mask. The clipping Mask won’t work if you skip this step.

Hi, I am Rita. I have been using Adobe Illustrator for five years. I use a clipping mask to create texts with backgrounds, embed images with a shape, cut part of an image, and other cool stuff.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to make a Clipping Mask in Adobe Illustrator along with some useful tips.

Key Takeaways

  • The clipping mask uses the shape of an object to mask other artworks. The mask reveals only the areas of the design that lie within it. 
  • The clipping mask and the masked object are called the clipping set. A clipping set consists of two or more objects/ all objects in a group or layer.
  • You can use a clipping mask to fill text with an image.
  • The keyboard shortcut for clipping mask is Command/Ctrl + 7.

Method 1: Overhead Menu

To make a clipping mask in Illustrator, select the design and the object that will serve as the mask. Then go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make.

Note: All screenshots are from the Adobe Illustrator CC Windows Version. Mac and other versions may appear different. 

Method 2: Keyboard Shortcut

Select both the path and the image, and use the keyboard shortcut Command/Ctrl + 7 to make a clipping mask. 

Method 3: Quick Actions

When your path and image are selected, you can also access the clipping mask tool at the bottom of the Properties panel. You can open your Properties panel from the overhead menu Window > Properties

Method 4: Right Click

You can also use the Right-Click method. Select the clipping mask and the artwork, then right-click and select Make Clipping Mask

Method 5: Layers panel

Do you know you can make a clipping mask from the layers panel? 

Just go to the layers panel and select the clipping mask option. Make sure you select the clipping mask and the artwork. Also, the clipped objects must be in the same group.

Now that you’ll know how to make a clipping mask using a path/shape. Let’s see how to make a clipping mask from text in Illustrator.

How to Make Clipping Masks from Text in Adobe Illustrator 

You can fill text with an image background in Illustrator using a clipping mask. 

Step 1: Select the Type tool from the toolbar to write your text or hit the letter T on your keyboard. 

Step 2: Select a background that you want to fill the text with. You can do this by drawing a shape and filling it with a background from the swatches panel. You can also use an image as your background.

Step 3: Place the text on top of the background. If you created the text first, you can arrange it by right-clicking Arrange > Bring to Front

You can make a clipping mask from text with any of the methods above. Let’s just use the keyboard shortcut method.

Note: You should be careful using this method because the text is still editable, and the masked area changes as you move the text around.

If your background is an image, you might want to keep the mask area static (by not moving it). You can also make the text uneditable by expanding it and making an outline. 

What Else?

You can create a clipping mask with the Draw Inside tool. Draw Inside is part of the drawing tools in Illustrator. Let’s make a clipping mask with it.

Step 1: Select an object from your design that will serve as the mask. 

Step 2: Select Draw Inside from the control panel. 

Step 3: Draw a new object on the mask. The new object will be masked by your selection. 

The difference with this technique is that the mask remains visible. 

That it! You’ve learned how to make a clipping mask in Adobe Illustrator. 

Final Thoughts

There are many cool designs that you can do with a clipping mask in Adobe Illustrator. All the methods in this tutorial are quick and easy. Just make sure that the image/object you want to reveal should be underneath the shape. 

Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comment section.

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