Inkscape Cut outline

In reading through this post, I figured that I wanted to see how to do something similar in Inkscape. A quick search didn’t bring up anything, so hopefully I’m not duplicating efforts here. There is no Shape Builder in Inkscape so it is a little more manual of a process.

  1. Draw a box that is larger than the shape you want to outline and give it some sort of fill
  2. Make a copy of your vector shape in Inkscape (You should have two copies of your shape)
  3. Select the new version of the shape
  4. Ctl+Shift+F to bring up the Stroke and Fill menu
  5. Add a stroke to your vector shape (Stroke Paint, select a color)
  6. Set stroke to a larger Width (Stroke Shape, increase Stroke Width, choose a width that is slightly larger than what you want to end up with)
  7. Path --> Stroke to Path (puts nodes on both sides of the stroke lines
  8. Move your new shape on top of the previously made square and select both shapes
  9. Path --> Difference (Should leave a cutout of your shape in the square)
  10. Delete all of the interior nodes, leaving only the outline of the shape (This may be the tedious part)
  11. Choose the fill bucket, click in the “empty space” and select whatever color you want
  12. Click on the fill, and move it off of the square
  13. Ctrl+Shift+F to bring up Fill and Stroke Menu, add a stroke to your shape, remove the fill
  14. Move your new outline around your original shape and align as necessary!

Awesome…just got the hang of it in illustrator from @Jules sending me a link…now inkscape. I’ll be proficient in all this programs…whoohoo

Did you actually try my inkscape steps? They make sense to me, but until someone else tries them, I don’t know if I’m making an assumption that I shouldn’t be making.

If they worked for you, then I’m super happy they could be of use!

I am going to try this when I get a chance but just looking at the steps it looks tedious.

I’ve gotten where I am not above jumping from program to program so I’ve been using the offset command in Fusion 360 a lot. You need to get whatever you are working with into a vector first but after that offset works great.

I think that I’ve just never figured out how to make offset work for me all that well. I’ll have to look into more tutorials on it. I can’t control how far out the stroke width goes, and it usually just messes up whatever image I’m trying to outline.

All I’ve wanted is something that will create an outline a user definable distance away from the image, and as lines overlap, they would combine intelligently into a more and more “soft” outline.

The steps I outlined above are on the tedious side of things, but I do get the outcome I’m looking for.


For you to get just the “softness” you want you may have to let your inner artist out and use the Belzer tool or link arcs and then add fillets to further soften. I’ve gotten some nice results this way when the original art was going to make the outline too busy. You can always start with the offset to get everything the right distance. The key to consistent distance it to use numeric values instead of just eyeballing it.

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That used to be what I ended up doing, and it ended up being more tedious than what I’m doing now. ESPECIALLY if I wanted it to be symmetrical so I could turn the piece over and do something on the back.

EDIT: Assuming the design I’m starting with was symmetrical

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Is there a similar procedure for getting a cut line around a bit mapped image?

I’m right there with ya…everthing gets wonky when I use offset

My steps only work if you have strokes. I don’t think you get access to strokes on bitmaps. I’ll give it a shot and see if I can’t figure something out.

(My current thought is that you could take your bitmap, do a Path–>Trace Bitmap to turn it into a vector, and then follow my steps to get your outline, then add it to your original bitmap. But I’ll have to try it and see if that will work)

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I have not seen any of programs do this directly with rasters you always have to convert them to vectors first.

The only success I’ve had with a bitmap was to use the Magic Wand tool in Photoshop to get an outline, then copy/paste into Inkscape. It comes across funky and required a lot of manipulation to get a single cut line. Not sure I could do it twice though. After getting my cut line I was not able to create an offset in Inkscape. I need to look at tutorials on how to do this.

In InkScape you can Trace the bitmap (under Path menu) to get a vector, which you can use for this set of steps, but then just delete it after you have your outline (keeping the image).

I tried this again and was able to select the outside vector after the Trace when I zoom way in. I then deleted the rest of the trace vectors, leaving only the outline vector. Re-imported the bitmap image and aligned. I was able to use Outset to offset the vector. Guess I just needed to persist to make it work. Way better than using Photoshop to get an outline. Thanks for your advice.

Your instructions are good and clear and work well. This is the better way to do an outline rather than offset. Offset does not make an exact shape of the original. Stroke to path and break apart is the way to go.

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8a needs to be Select both images

  • after dropping the one on the other Path > Difference doesn’t do diddly if you’ve only got one selected!
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Change made. Thanks for helping it be more accurate!



    September 26

Change made. Thanks for helping it be more accurate!

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    September 26

8a needs to be Select both images after dropping the one on the other Path > Difference doesn’t do diddly if you’ve only got one selected!

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i actually am having a issue im looking to engrave an imace but cant make a cut line for it and i followed these steps still cant get it