I know there is a way to do this and it has to be easier than I am making it. I am trying to make this Autism file for my fire department. I want to cut the maltese out. How can I do this? What is the easiest way with AI? I can't attach the AI file for some reason , can someone assist. I have the background image i want to come thru but I want to cut it out from the shape.
Can you show some screen shots? Use the image icon to embed them in your post
Select everything but the jigsaw pieces (hopefully they are on their own layer?), either copy and paste in place or move 0,0 and duplicate, fill with any colour, convert paths to outlines, go to pathfinder, select merge - let's call this Mask.
Select all (but only) the jigsaw pieces, shift select Mask, hit Ctrl-7, or Object->Clipping Mask->Make.
I don't understand I guess, can not get it to work.
Are all your puzzle pieces on their own layer, or grouped? You need to isolate them somehow - you can select each of the four different colours, select same fill, move to a new layer, repeat for the next three - for yellow you will have to deselect the yellow around the text.
Turn off that layer, all you should see is your black and white image (plus yellow around text)
Select all, and repeat my previous post - you do not need to select or deselect between each step.
When you get to the "mask" stage, move it to the Jigsaw layer, turn all layers off, turn jigsaw layer on, make sure "mask" is upper most, select all, make a clipping mask...
Oops, that's actually wrong, sorry missed a stage, rushing the answer, when you get to the finished mask draw a box full size of your art board, select that and mask (with mask on top) then select in Pathfinder Minus Front, then use that as the mask for the clipping mask...
As I (mis)understand it, you can:
1) Select the four black paths, then Ctrl/Cmd+8 to turn them into a Compound Path;
2) ShiftClcik the jigsaw artwork to also select that, then Ctrl/Cmd+7 to make a Clipping Mask.
I can not get it to work
In which parts of your foreground motif should the puzzle pattern remain visible?
Please show it again (maybe as a sketch)