So I have this tear shape which has a black fill and no outline. I added the following shapes on top of it in sequence:

  • 2nd largest circle with black fill and white outline
  • 3rd largest circle with black fill and white outline
  • Vertical rectangle to create the two semi circles in the 3rd largest circle
  • Smallest circle in the middle with no outline and white fill

I been trying to get the white areas to be transparent for many hours. I tried changing the black fills of the circles to transparent fills when combining and subtracting them. I tried separating the circles, I managed to do the small circle transparent in the big tear shape but when I try to do the rest of the bigger circles, I lose the black areas. Then I tried working with the big circle first, the entire tear shape got a white outline.

Any help in me figuring out how to do this will be much appreciated. Thank you.

The shape that I am trying to make the white rings and the circle in the middle transparent


3 Answers 3


AndrewH is right, the Pathfinder palette is your friend here.

  • First, remove the fill from the two circles with white strokes and convert the strokes to outlines (Object > Path > Create Outlines).

  • Next, select the black box and the smallest white outlined circle (making sure the black box is at the top) and, using the Minus Front tool in the Pathfinder palette, cut it into two semi/circles.

  • Select both of these and the smallest solid white circle and create a compound path.

  • Then, select the teardrop shape and the largest outlined white circle and once again use the Minus Front tool. This will create a smaller black circle inside the teardrop shape

  • select this and the compound path you created at the last step, and once again use the Minus Front tool.

This should do the trick.

  • I was struggling to read the one long paragraph so I edited your answer in to a list for easier reading :) hope you don't mind!
    – Cai
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 12:36
  • 1
    Of course not! I wrote it from the couch, not even sitting in front of the computer so hopefully it makes sense!
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 12:49

First, make sure you Expand all strokes to shapes. Select the objects with only a stroke and no fill and select Object > Expand...

Second, select your shapes, open your Pathfinder window (under Window > Pathfinder), then select Minus Front.

I quickly recreated a few shapes that look like yours to give you an idea of the procedure:

Illustrator cutout

  • the 'OK' and 'Cancel' buttons are the other way round in my AI...
    – Cai
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 12:33
  • Really? That's funny... and weird... I'm on 19.0.0
    – PieBie
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 12:39
  • I'm still on CS6, I'm guessing they swapped them in CC... which is weird
    – Cai
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 12:43
  • Yeah, they changed many of those small things from CS6 to CC, I dunno why...
    – PieBie
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 12:44

Non destructive way to achieve this with the help of Knockout option available in Transparency Panel.

Follow the instructions below...

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

The circles are still editable, like line width, re-sizing, reshape and further add objects or remove from the group too.

enter image description here

  • This is a great answer! I struggled to follow your GIF though. I would forget about the GIF and upload each image with instructions separately. Just a suggestion :)
    – Cai
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 13:51

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