Metallic Stars In Illustrator

This tutorial produces sweet looking metallic stars through the use of careful placement of gradients. Easily reproducible for a text effect as well. Created with Adobe Illustrator CS6. Let's get started.

 1. Draw a star

Starting off with a basic fill and no stroke, draw out a star using the Star tool. Hold down the Shift key as you drag to keep the star's angles in check.


 2. Create segments

Enable Smart Guides (View > Smart Guides). With the Line Segment tool, hover over an anchor point until you see an "anchor" label appear. Click (and keep the mouse button held down) and drag to an opposite point until you see the "anchor" label and then release.

It's critical the path you draw makes the anchor to anchor connection. I've colored the 5 paths to illustrate what points should be connected together.


 3. Dividing paths

Open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder). Select the star and all of the lines and click the Divide command on the panel. The result is 10 separate shapes. Ungroup (Object > Ungroup) the shapes so you can work with them individually.


 4. Gradients

Decide on what colors you want in your star at this stage. I'm going for a metallic gold look so the gradients I use will reflect that. And, to save some time, I'm going to start off with pre-made metallic gradients included in Illustrator. Go to Window > Swatch Libraries > Gradients > Metals to open the swatches.

 5. Editing gradients

Open the Gradients panel and click on the first metallic gradient labelled "Gold". The gradient will appear in the Gradients panel.


To keep things simple, I'm going to remove all but 2 color stops. I'm going to work with the light gradient first so I eliminated the 3 color stops on the right and moved the stops to ends of the gradient bar.


 6. Applying the light gradients

At this point, I'm going to drag the sample swatch box off of the Gradients panel and onto the following star segments.


 7. Make adjustments

Use the Gradient tool to make angle and color flow adjustments to the applied gradients.


 8. Applying the dark gradients

Deselect any selected shapes and click the Gold swatch from the Metals swatch panel to edit the gradient in the Gradient panel. I'm eliminating the following color stops to create the dark gradient.


Adjust the color stops to the ends of the gradient bar.


Click and drag onto the remaining star segments. Make adjustments to the gradients as needed.


 9. Offset the segments

Select all of the segments and, from the menu bar, go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter the following values and click OK.


 10. Reverse the gradients.

Select an individual offset (or inset in this instance) and click the Reverse Gradient command on the Gradient panel. Repeat for the remaining segments. And that is that! You're done!


About the author

My name is Mike Hamm. I like robots. I'm a designer, author, teacher and illustrator. I currently work as a Senior Designer at Expedia. I'm co-author of Introduction to Web Design Using Dreamweaver and have contributed articles and artwork to Layers Magazine as well as several Illustrator WOW! books. I've also been teaching and developing Adobe Illustrator courses for Sessions College for Professional Design since 2003. You can view my never complete portfolio website:


  1. Maranda says:

    Thank you! This was just what I was looking for. So grateful you shared it!! 🙂

  2. Paulo says:

    Extremely Helpful! Easy to follow steps. Thanks!

  3. Wasim Zoghbi says:

    Excellent stepwise for creating a metallic gold star in Adobe illustrator! I was looking for one on the web so that I can use it for a roll-up banner and many had background and were low quality. This one is raw and scales perfectly. It is good if the steps for making the star 3D is explained here in the same page. Many thanks.

  4. James says:

    Greatly helpful.Keep on the good work.

  5. Abhijit says:

    Its very nice creativity and golden effects. Thank You!


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