How do I outline a clipart image like this to engrave and cut

My monster image only engraves - I’ve tried following all the advice on here about stroke and paths. It’s so confusing - help!

Thank you,

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What design software (program) are you using?


Sometimes when you are beginning, it’s hard to know what terms to search for in the forum for the techniques and workflow required.

You would want to look at “cut outline” or “trace outline” in the forum posts. There are several tutorials in the Tips & Tricks that walk you through using a trace feature in design software to get an outline of the bitmap shape.

You have run against a fundamental distinction in digital design: rasters/bitmaps versus vectors/paths.

As @Jules would note by asking you about what design program you use, the technique is similar for all design programs, but the terminology can shift from one program to another.

In Inkscape you would open the bitmap, select it, and then to a bitmap trace. I’d use edge detection.

You would then clean up the vector outline by breaking it apart/ungrouping it, and then take out the inner vectors.

There are other workflows that make it easier to trace and just get a single outline, but for a quick outline, this works great.


Right click to download.


Thank you! Yes, I am using Inkscape - I will try this when I get on next, and see what I can do! I really appreciate all the help users provide, but it sure can be frustrating.


It certainly can be frustrating when you are starting the learning curve, but this is one of those things you can easily find yourself doing over and over - so a must to learn. Luckily, for learning the technique this is actually a pretty good image. There are many, many images out there where the trace and cleanup is very difficult and time consuming. Good Luck!


OMGosh, your monster is friggin adorable! Have you engraved it yet and did it work out OK for you? I ask becasue some of those grey tones are pretty close together and the engraving may be only subtly different. (Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing .) It’s tough becasue what looks pleasing to our eye doesn’t not always translate to burning well in the laser so I just wanted to mention it in case it didn’t engrave as you expected.

The designing learning curve can be steep, but it will get easier, I promise. You got this, hang in there!


Did you draw this yourself in Inkscape? It looks like there’s a red line around the outside. It might be the case that you already have a border to cut, you just need to export the file as an SVG vector rather than a bitmap JPG. As others have said, the exact instructions for what to do depend somewhat on the situation.


This question gets asked all the time by new users. It’s one of the first things people want to do, before people get familiar with the terminology that would make it an easily searchable thing.

It’s probably covered in one of the big skills roundups, but when you just want to cut your monster out right now it might as well be a state secret :slight_smile:

You might find one of those roundups really useful though. If you take the time now to read through it, it’ll pay you back later… a great investment.

Here’s one:


No, not yet, but I will post progress here!:smile:

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No, it’s just an image I have purchased (I have commercial rights). It said it was an svg.

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I get to the point where I have the outline and the middle stuff - but breaking it up and ungrouping throws me for a loop, lol. (pun intended).

I was able to do this with @markmak3261 's help








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