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Tutorial – How to make a silhouette using GIMP January 20, 2010

Posted by hollyspinner in Craft, Tutorial.

How to make Silhouettes using a digital photo and Gimp 2.6. – my favorite free photo manipulation program.

1. Find a photo – If you don’t have a photo handy Flickr has a ton of great photos that have creative commons license that you can use. For this exercise I am using a photo of a shoe from the Northhampton Museum collection over on Flickr

2. In Gimp open your photo – this is your background layer.

3. Under windows, dockable dialogs, open layers (or hit ctrl + L) this will open a small window with all of your layers in it.

4. By clicking the icon at the bottom left of the layers window, add a layer, name it fill.  Add another layer, name it shadow.  You now have 3 layers (background, fill, shadow)

5. Increase your zoom to 200%.  This make small details easier to outline.

6. Open the path tool.  This can be found in the toolbox or under tools.  Make sure your path tool has the design button selected.

7. Using the path tool outline your object.

8. When your object is completely outline, hit enter. The line will blink.

9. In the path tool click “selection from path”

10. Choose the bucket fill.  Make sure that “fg color fill” is selected.   Your foreground color should be black, your background color should be white.  Affected area should be “fill whole section”

11. With the bucket click on your object filling it with black.

12.Click on the fill layer.

13. In the select menu click “none”

14. Change your bucket tool selection from “FG color fill” to “BG color fill”.

15. Click over the background with your bucket filling it with white.

16. If you wish to have a silhouette of more than one object in the same picture, put each object in its own layer.

17. There is a sillouette.  You can flatten the image to save as a jpg file in the image menu.


1. Kella - February 5, 2010

Such a cool tutorial thanks for posting.

2. Diane - February 5, 2010

Wow, great job! Thanks for sharing!

3. Angie Neil - February 5, 2010

So cool! Come link your tute at my party: Thursday’s Treasures!!

4. MichelleD - February 5, 2010

this is awesome! i love GIMP too and want to learn how to use it beyond photo editing… so, thanks for sharing!!

5. meandmybucket - February 14, 2010

this is totally awesome, but im’ having a hard time figuring out how to fill the bg in white
when I do it, it fills in the whole screen white … can u help me?


6. How to make a silhouette using GIMP « Hollyspinner | Get Caerphilly OnlineGet Caerphilly Online - November 20, 2012

[…] Here’s a great tutorial for making a silhouette using free software called GIMP.  Tutorial – How to make a silhouette using GIMP (via Hollyspinner) […]

7. Clare - March 1, 2016

After I finish outlining, I do not get the dialog box that allows me to choose “Selection from Path”. I’m stuck. Lol. Otherwise, it seems pretty simple.

8. Guadalupe Valenzula - June 22, 2017

I like the helpful information you provide in your posts. I will bookmark your site and check again here frequently. I’m quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

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