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write with the text tool T Use Type menu (on menu bar) to chose font & size - deselect text by clicking black selection tool or (v) With text selected go to the menu bar - select object - envelope distort - make with warp - Choose which warp - think the one you want is shell lower,u can alter the amount of warp in settings menu which pops up.. tick preview box to view warp... :)
 

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what do you have to do to then make it vector again?

i went to preview mode after applying the warp effect and the text was shown in it's original state. tried creating outlines on the text after applying the effect and it goes back to it's original state again. do you have to rasterize then live trace?

want to make this cuttable.
 

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what do you have to do to then make it vector again?

i went to preview mode after applying the warp effect and the text was shown in it's original state.
When you say preview mode, I think you mean "wireframe" which will indeed "show" the text without envelope.

tried creating outlines on the text after applying the effect and it goes back to it's original state again. do you have to rasterize then live trace?

want to make this cuttable.
So here's how it works. Take some live text and put it in one of the envelopes. The text is still Live and you can change the text afterwards. You have some options now. You can turn the Live text into vector paths while leaving the Envelope Live and editable, or you can convert both the envelope and text to uneditable vector paths.

1. In order to turn both envelope and text to permanent vector paths, you use "Expand Appearance" under the object menu. This effects is an "Appearance", because in that state it's literally just an appearance. (It can be visibly turned on and off with the eye in the Appearance palette, like turning layers visible and invisible.)

2. If you want to convert the text to paths while leaving the envelope still Live, you can just use Convert to curves under the text menu. You can still go back and edit the envelope but the text can't be changed to another word any longer.
 
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