Create a Single Cut Path Around an Image

I occasionally see people ask about how to create a single cut path around an image. This is usually because they want to do a “Print and Cut” with an electronic cutter such as the Silhouette Cameo or KNK Zing. I have used both Inkscape and Make The Cut to accomplish this task. Each has its benefit. Today, I’ll  show you how to do this using Inkscape.

Here’s a PNG that I downloaded from

Here's a simple dog drawing downloaded from

First you’ll need to import your image into Inkscape.  File > Import. Find your image and select it. A box like this will pop up. Say OK. (You can click on either Embed or Link. You can see more info on this subject here.)

Create Single Path

Now select your image. Path > Trace Bitmap. You will get a box that looks like this. You might need to experiment with your settings. But you’ll probably want to use Brightness Cutoff, with a Threshold around .900. Click on Update to see how it looks. If you think it’s good, click OK.

Trace Bitmap

Now click on the new image in Inkscape and go to Path > Object to Path. Next, Path > Break Apart. The object will be all one color and you will see dashed lines around all the individual parts.

Break Apart Image

Next is the part that I think is easier in Inkscape than in Make The Cut. It may or may not be an issue for the image you choose.

I want to leave this part of the picture transparent because when I cut around it, I think this part should be cut out.

I want this portion to be transparent.
I want this portion to be transparent.

If you need to cut out a portion (make it transparent), find that part and select it. I like to turn it white so that I can make sure I have the right area.Select the area and change to whtie

Now select just the largest portion and the white piece that you want to be transparent. Path > Difference.


Next, drag to select around all. Path > Union.

Select all and Path > Union

Now if you like, you can use your Fill and Stroke Box to delete the fill and create a Stroke. This will be your cut line.

Cut Line

If you want to make the path a little larger than the original image, Ctrl + ). However, keep in mind this will make any area that you are cutting out get a bit smaller.


And there you have it!






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