By Mary Zimmerman

Select an image
–Select & open the image into Inkscape •Jpg, gif, bmp, anything –Make sure the image itself is selected (look for the BLACK arrows around the image). –Go to <Edit> <Make Bitmap> –Delete the original (move the ‘new’ image, then select the original & delete)

Trace Bitmap
• Select the ‘new’ bitmap image (black arrows) • Go to <Path><Trace Bitmap> • Select <Brightness Cutoff —Threshold>
– Play around with the Threshold #s: you will need to reselect the bitmap each time you change the numbers. Cont. playing with these numbers until you find something that works for you.

Break Apart
• Move the Bitmap image out of the way • Select the ‘traced’ image (black arrows) • Go to <Path><Break Apart> • Deselect the entire ‘traced’ image, then click somewhere near the edge of the image-this should select the ‘base’, the largest piece from the break apart.

• If the ‘break apart’ doesn’t pull all the pieces you want (the eye, the nostrils, the hair, the shadow, etc…) Reselect the starting image and repeat the ‘trace’-change threshold #s, & ‘break apart’.


Nodes allow you to move and adjust the ‘traced’ piecesreshaping parts as you desire. Once you select NODES zoom in to see up close what you are moving. If you need to, you can move your ‘traced’ piece over your image to see where you want the lines to be. I try to keep the pieces just slightly smaller than the outer edge, as I like to see the outline of the base when it is all put together.

More of NODES
• If you have same color pieces that ‘broke apart’ and you want them to be one piece (easier when cutting & piecing together!) • Select the pieces: hold shift and select each piece you want to make into one. • Once they are all selected <ctrl><K> at the same time (this combines them. • Now-if there is space between the pieces, and you want to attach them to each other, go ahead & move the parts, add nodes, etc… to where you want everything. • Select the pieces that you have adjusted and that you want to be ‘joined’. <Path><Union> then <Path><Combine> I have found that if I don’t do both Union & Combine, when I cut the piece out, the separate pieces cut out, not Unioned/Combined.

Pieces that Wouldn’t Trace
• Cont to ‘trace’ & ‘break apart’ until you have what you need. If you find that no matter what Threshold you try, you can’t get a piece or two, you will have to create your own piece. • The simplest way I have found is to copy a piece you already have, move it over you image, to the spot that did not trace. Here you will use the NODES to adjust it to the shape you need.

• Place your pieces togetherto see how they fit (don’t use the base) You can change the color of the pieces by Rt clicking on the selected piece <fill & stroke> select color • You can adjust your pieces to fit tight or loose (so that you can see the base between the pieces), it is up to you.

Saving the File

• Remember to Rt Click, <Fill and Stroke> change the piece back to black. Separate the pieces. • <Save as> where ever you like, Name it what ever you like. This is saved as .svg. • IMPORT into SCaL, adjust to the size you want, and Cut Away!!!