Joining Shapes in Inkscape

Does anyone have a solid workflow or tutorial for designing boxes to laser cut in Inkscape?

On a number of occasions, I’ve had problems lining up two rectangles - a large one for the side of the box, and a smaller one for the tab where other box sides will fit in. But for some reason, when I want to align the small rectangle exactly next to the large one, Inkscape won’t quite line them up - there will be an overlap or space in-between. I can see the alignment clearly because I’ve got both rectangles set to a solid fill with no stroke.

How can I get the darn things to line up?

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This is a bit tricky to answer, as there’s no one way to do it.

I mean generally you would use the snap to align one corner to another, then use the alignment tools or manually move one box in a constrained direction (hold control, then move vertically or horizontally, it’ll keep it in line). If you’re not familiar with the “align and distribute” dialogs and the “arrange” command, research them a bit, you’ll get a lot of use out of them.

Since you are using no stroke and have just two filled boxes, inkscape will sometimes represent the division between the two with a very thin line that doesn’t really exist. You can either trust this, or use the union command under the path menu to make a single shape. Once unioned, they will be a truly single path.


Oh as for boxes, there are lots of generators out there. Search the forum for “box generator” or “box template”, there are bunches of posts. :slight_smile:

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One option is to use the Tabbed Box Maker extension for Inkscape. See this post here for downloading, installing and using:

If you search on Tabbed Box Maker there is at least one, and I believe more, examples of people using it.

Otherwise, to line things up in Inkscape select the object and then type in the x and y coordinates at the top of your Inkscape screen. This will exactly place the object. You can then use the same x or y to line up your second object. Some simple math may be required for the other coordinate. Note that Inkscape includes the width of the line in the object’s dimensions.


Another vote for using one of the box generators (festi’s online version is for me). If you’re doing it with individual rectangles you’re working way too hard. (there are also tricks for subdividing a line to make extra nodes that you can select and drag to make tabbed or otherwise-non-straight edges, and there’s also a downloadable extension – quickjoint iirc – that will automagically put tabs on the edge of your choice.)


Makeabox is really basic but if all you need is a basic box, it’s dead simple, a lot easier for me to figure out than I tend to use kerf 0.007 or .008 and they are hammer-tight.

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The box maker extension does look really cool. Unfortunately, I need more complex box inserts that it seems capable of designing. I’m doing a board game insert, and of course the fiddly bits are different widths.

Try then. It can do tray inserts.

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