I'm an architecture student looking to add more of an artsy touch to my floor plans. Traditionally, the plans are exported as vector lines from the arch program I use, which I take into Illustrator to clean up. I'd like to lend more texture to the lines and have a black watercolor wash that would look neat--like the floor plan was painted very cleanly. I often get this effect with text by converting the letters to outlines (cmd-shft-O) and then make a clipping mask out of the watercolor wash.
The problem I'm having is that "make clipping mask" doesn't do the trick, since the image is made of lines rather than shapes. Said another way, Illustrator wants to make a clipping mask out of the shape defined by the line, rather than the lines themselves. Is there a fast way to lend a clipping mask effect to just lines?
Thanks for the help!
edit: The "outline stroke" move Cakey suggested worked perfect to turn the lines into "shapes" that can act as clipping masks without bulking anything up. Unfortunately another problem arose.
I included an image to show the process. In 1 and 2 I have a before and after of text with the background wash applied as a clipping mask.
In 3 and 4 I have an example of random shapes that would be encountered in a floor plan and what happens when I try to set a clipping mask with all the shapes: only the last shape to be created acts as the mask. If I group the shapes to form a single masking element, Illustrator tells me the mask is too complex and everything disappears--no fill or lineweight. Ideas on how to simplify or bypass this warning? I'd like to avoid just taking all of this into Photoshop and losing image quality.
Thanks for your patience and encouragement.