Illustrator Tutorial: Wire Fence

Learn how to create a wire fence pattern from scratch using the line tool.

1. Drawing the Zig Zag Fence

First, select the Line Tool from the Tool Palette and draw a long straight vertical line. This will determine the fence height. Go Effect>Distort & Transform>Zig Zag to apply the zig zag effect. Adjust Ridges and Size to set the fence mesh shape. Make sure the Points is set to Corner.

Now we will round the corners. Go Effect>Stylize>Round Corners and enter the radius to round out the sharp corners. Next, set the Weight of the Stroke to 5pt and set it to dark grey color.

Select the line and press Ctrl/Command+C to copy it and Ctrl/Command+F to paste a duplicate infront. Set the duplicated line weight to 1pt and change the stroke color to light grey.

2. Blending the Wire Fence

We will now proceed to blend both lines to give a 3D look. Go Object>Expand Appearance to expand the effects. Then go Object>Expand to expand the strokes. The stroke will now turn into shapes. With both shapes still selected, go Object>Blend>Make to blend both shapes. Next, go Object>Blend>Blend Options and set the Specified Steps to 3 for Blend Options. Finally, we will need to expand the blend before diving it in the next step. Go Object>Expand to expand the wire.

3. Dividing the corners

Now, select the line tool and draw straight lines over the corners of the wire. We will need to break it into individual segments so that we can achieve the wire twisting effect. Select everything and go to Window>Pathfinder and select Divide. Press Ctrl/Command+Shift+G to ungroup it.

Select each individual segments and group it by pressing Ctrl/Command+G. Do this for all the segements.

4. Creating the Fence Pattern

Select all and press Alt/Option as you drag a new instance beside it. Offset it until the edges touches the next wire as shown on the left. Select all and press Alt/Option while holding Shift to create a duplicate beisde it. Press Ctrl/Command+D to repeat the steps to generate a row of wire fence.

We notice that the wires are stacking on top of each other. To create the twist effect, we will need to send some segments of the wire below each other. Starting from the top, select a row of segments you want to send down and press Ctrl+Shift+{ / Command+shift+{ to send it to the bottom. Repeat from the top to the bottom, until you achieve the twist effect for the fence.

5. Final Wire Fence

Here is the final wire fence. Hope you find this trick useful for creating repeated patterns.

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29 thoughts on “Illustrator Tutorial: Wire Fence”

  1. Hi, I’m stuck @ no.3 – dividing the corners. I can’t seem to divide the wires. I keep getting this message “The filter produced no results. Please select one or more filled paths.”

    Can anyone advise me on how to overcome this? Has anyone else encountered the same problem?

  2. it still wont work for me, when i blend it i get these wierd abstract designs. i followed the tutorial every word tho its wierd, i always have different effects when i use the blend option. and on dividing the chain when i click divide it still doesnt seperate that individual part from the fence i dunno….il keep at it tho anyone have any suggestions get at me
    [email protected]

  3. If you are making a larger fence:
    In step 4 if you group together the pieces you are going to be sending down, before you duplicate everything it makes things alot easier.

  4. I cant seem to get the twist to work. It’s not really doing anything. Not sure what Im not doing.

  5. I really loved the link fence tut and technique very useful thanks for teaching me that. The blending, using the divide in order to do the twist… excellent tut.

  6. Okay, I have tried everything to get the divide done,. Here is the only way I could do it: First, after the blend, is to >expand then >ungroup, >path>outline stroke and finally divide. Make sense? I am using CS4.

  7. nice tut.

    I don’t seem to get that twisted look, even though I ‘send to back’. I even selected the correct group left to right(behind).

    Otherwise I got it all done!

    One note: ungroup CAN’T have the same shortcut as group! you have ungroup: ctrl/cmd+g and group:ctrl/cmd+g
    should read ungroup: ctrl/cmd+alt/option+g

  8. Love it….how do you work out what to put in your tutorials? Do you see an object and say “Gee, I wonder if I can do that?” – and then go ahead and re-create it? If you do then your talents are incredible.

  9. This all sucked: I couldn’t even find the stupid ” Line Tool from the Tool Palette” on the 1st step. I read all of the other steps and they all need a LOT of editing. I had no idea what they were talking about.

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    Some time i really get wonder that how people write something so informative like the above details, i am really thanks full of you guys for sharing.Thanks Alot

  11. fantastic tutorial! I dont understand this part though, It wont divide for me, it keeps saying, please select one or more filled paths?

  12. Great tut 🙂

    I just had to select all and then press Expand before Divide in step 3, used Transform Each in step 4 and in 5 – I rather did Expand + Divide + Deleting of single segments to get the graphic as shown (for some reason even Arrange>Send to Back didn’t give the wanted result).

    I’m a newb myself so I recomend 3 things – patience, some exploring of Illustrator and experimenting.

    P.S: If you can’t find a certain tool click Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts

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