Inkscape question - putting background on object


Hi, newbie here. I’ve spent the last couple hours on inkscape and YouTube trying to figure this out with no luck…so I hope someone on here can help.

I’ve created 2 objects - a heart and puzzle piece grid (made from a bunch of duplicates from a puzzle piece), both of which I converted to paths. I want the heart to have the puzzle grid background but none of the options under the “path” menu seem to do the trick. Can someone help? Thank you so much.


Most likely you need to:

  • combine all the puzzle paths into one single path,
  • place puzzle path “under” the heart path. (Raise/lower)
  • select heart, copy
    -select both heart and puzzle, path->intersection or maybe division, it depends on if your shapes are closed or not. This will likely cause the heart to disappear and may require cleanup of loose ends in the case of division.
  • paste in place (should put the heart back)

… and done?

There are a few variables here that we can’t help with until you share the file. If you want a truly proven solution, you’ll have to post your file.

I will say if you copied a puzzle piece over and over it sounds like you might have a bumch of overlapping lines, which will lead to double cutting — not ideal for a few reasons. Again, without your file there isn’t much more help we can offer… but I believe there may be an inkscape puzzle generator plugin? Search the forum for “inkscape puzzle”, I bet you’ll find it.

So. Hopefully this helps but next time definitely provide the file.


Further reading:


Is the goal to make a puzzle that when assembled is in the shape of a heart? If so, then just cut it. It doesn’t matter if you have pieces that extend beyond the outline of the heart; they’re scrap. There are several threads about making puzzles as evansd2 has pointed out.

If the goal to make a heart with a puzzle grid engraved on it? If so, then you can do the following or, just go for it like above. If you just go for it, it’ll take longer in the glowforge and you’ll have engraved scrap, but it’ll be done. The following is particularly useful when part of a larger piece. I’ll illustrate with a heptagon and a pattern of stars like so:

Step 1: Select all of the stars (puzzle pieces) and go to Object -> Group

Step 2: Select the single star object and go to Object -> Pattern -> Objects to Pattern.

Step 3: Select the heptagon (or heart), go to the Fill and Stroke menu, select Fill and select Pattern. This will fill the heptagon with your new pattern. If it doesn’t automatically select the pattern you just made, it’ll be in the drop down box with some name like pattern972.
At this point it is easy to think you have what you need. You’re wrong. If you upload this to your glowforge all you have is a heptagon (heart) to cut. Go back to the Fill and Stroke menu and select Stroke Paint - select none. The outline of the heptagon (heart) will disappear.
Step 4: Go to Edit -> Make a bitmap copy. You will now have an image (raster) over a vector. At this point you could go back to the Fill and Stroke menu, turn the stroke paint back on and upload to the GFUI. This should work because the glowforge will ignore the vector pattern. However, since this is something they will probably “fix” in the future, instead go to the Transform menu. and shift one of the two objects like so.

Step 5: Select the vector object and go to the Stroke and Fill menu. Change the Fill to none and turn the stroke paint back on. Then use the Transform menu and shift the heptagon (heart) back over the rasterized pattern. If uploaded to the glowforge, the blue line will want to cut and the stars will be engraved.
Note 1: You don’t have to move the raster in step 5. You could just turn the pattern off and the stroke paint back on. I did it to illustrate what needs to be done. Also, it can be difficult to tell what exactly is going on when you have objects directly over objects in Inkscape, especially for a noob.

Note 2: If you don’t set the stroke paint to None before you make the bitmap copy, the bitmap copy will include the outline of the heptagon (heart.) This is a rookie mistake (yup, I made it.) The glowforge engraves the outline and then it cuts it.


Thank you so much for your detailed response! I haven’t printed out anything on my Glowforge yet except for the initial ruler, box, and gift tag - I’ve been trying to teach myself Inkscape and it’s been quite the learning curve, so I appreciate your help.
I tried the pattern approach using this puzzle piece pattern: puzzle%20piece%20pattern

But it just gave me this: puzzle%20heart

Which is kind of what I wanted, except not as small and not with the gaps.

I didn’t think about just letting it be engraved outside the lines. I guess that would work even though it sounds bit wasteful with materials.


Thank you for your response! I tried again and unfortunately neither ‘intersection’ or ‘division’ seem to do anything to the objects. Hopefully I can get them to upload right (complete newb at Inkscape), but here is what I’m working with: heart%26puzzlepiece
However, I see only a half a puzzle piece has been uploaded. Maybe that’s my problem. I used a YouTube tutorial to make the puzzle piece, may have to go back and make sure I did everything correctly.
Thanks again for your help. I really appreciate it.


OK so there is definitely something wrong with the file, which means I have a lot more problems than just getting the puzzle pieces to fit in the heart. Lol. Back to the ‘drawing board’


Thanks. I’ll try the puzzle generator next!


Hmmm, I don’t use that tool much, but I’ve never seen that. I downloaded the svg and tried a few things. Not sure what’s happening. Hint: if you add the svg files to a zip file it’s easier for other people to grab them.

When I selected the individual puzzle pieces and turned the fill color off there is some line overlapping. If all you wanted were the lines you may want to clean those up.

One idea I have, inspired by the Tile Etching thread:

Is when you get the pattern inside the heart to work, turn off the lines and only use the fills. Engrave a color and then sharpie it. Give it a few minutes and engrave another group of puzzle pieces, color, repeat. You do this by using different fill colors for the puzzle pieces and use of the ignore option in the GFUI. There are other methods. The point is you would get colored puzzle pieces inside a heart (on a white tile.)


brilliant idea. My son has autism and I was going to use it as the “O” for a LOVE wall hanging etched out of wood, but I love the tile idea.