Introduction: Pokemon Birch Keychains

I love Pokemon, so when Pokemon Go came out about a year ago, I made these super cute keychains out of birch! I figured I'd make an Instructables on them so you guys can make them too.

Step 1: Choose Your Image

I found this piece of art by Hoshiko of the Pokemon starters! Unfortunately I couldn't find a link to the artists original website with the photo, but I wanted to use these to make my keychains.

Step 2: Image Trace

You'll want to Image Trace your image, a choice that should show up as soon as you select your image. In our case, since there are so many different colors of starters, we'll use 16 Colors. You could also do Grayscale or something similar, but I like keeping the original colors so as to better recognize what should stand out and what should be lighter. Don't forget to Expand!

Use the Direct Selection Tool (white cursor) to clear away stuff not related to the pokemon themselves (the numbers at the top and the artist name), and we'll move onto the next step.

Step 3: Ungroup and Re-Group

Now, to make later work easier, you'll want to Ungroup the results of the Image Trace, and re-Group each starter pokemon in its own group of shapes/vectors. This is important for creating the outlines that allow you to create the keychains!

You'll need to do this for each pokemon, so it is a bit tedious.

Step 4: Create Outline Pt. 1

Now, you can follow the steps I provide, or read up on the technique through another guide I found.

We'll want to create a copy of our pokemon to adjust so that we can properly create an offset path and while the new layer is selected, you'll select your group (a specific starter, Cyndaquil in this case) and Edit -> Paste in Place.

You should notice that your new pasted group is highlighted in the color of the new layer (red, for this example), and that you are still in the new layer.

Step 5: Create Outline Pt. 2

Creating the offset is quite a few steps, but hopefully the images make it clear where exactly you can find each option and what the results should look like.

  1. Object -> Path -> Outline Stroke
  2. Window -> Pathfinder -> Unite
  3. Object -> Path -> Offset Path
  4. Select result of Unite and delete it

Step 6: Create Keychain Hole

Then, to create the keychain holes, you'll want to create your ellipse of some desired size with the Ellipse Tool, then use the Scissors Tool to cut the lines around where the circle and the outline intersect, then delete it.

Make sure Smart Guides is selected, then use the snapping points to connect the endpoints of the cut lines. You'll want an image like the final one, where you now have a "keychain hole" to use to attach your keychain! Please let me know if you run into any issues here, I can help you through them.

Step 7: Adjust Colors

Now, you'll want to repeat the previous steps for each item in your set! I had to do this for every pokemon and it was definitely pretty tedious, but it was worth it in the end! I've included my files for this particular set of keychains in case you would like to make them!

Step 8: Final Product

They came out looking super cute and awesome! I really liked how they turned out, and I hope you guys do too. Good luck making your own keychains!

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Bio: Mechanical Engineering Student at UC Berkeley
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