Inkscape Tutorial Effects: Placing an Image Inside a Shape – Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, we created a tutorial here on the Blog where we showed you how to place an image inside text using Inkscape.

If you missed this tutorial, click on the link here to find this cool text effect.

Well, one of our lovely Facebook fans made the following comment:


I love using this in Inkscape, I wanted to use shapes instead of text but couldn’t get that to work so I have to cheat and do it in PS (Photoshop)”Nanny Paddy

Ah well, the good news is that it is possible to create this effect using a shape instead of text in Inkscape, and in this second tutorial we show you how.

The image we are going to end up with is the thumbnail on the top right here.

I’ve tried to show you different techniques in each tutorial, so you may want to refer back to this other Inkscape tutorial several times.

You will need to download Inkscape if you haven’t already. This is very straight forward, however we do have an Inkscape video tutorial on this, if you need it.

Step 1 – Import your image into Inkscape:

Try and choose an image that has fairly simple, but dramatic shapes and/or colours.

The reason for this is that you want your image to look as though it has been placed on top of a continuous image, and not just been filled in with the image.

We got this background image from

Night Skies


File>> Import >> Select your image from the place it is located and Open.

A Dialogue box opens and the default is ‘embed’, so leave it as this and Click OK.

Resize the image (select it and grab hold of the resize handles and pull – see Screenshot #1 just below)


Resizing your image





Step 2 – Create Your Shapes in Inkscape

Next create a shape/s  using Inkscape. This could be either a simple star shape or a half circle.

However, the shapes you use have to be in a vector svg format. If you simply upload a shape in the jpeg format, it won’t work.

Select both shapes and then group them together.

Select the star >> Hold down the shift key and also select the Moon >>

Up to the Group Selected Objects together icon and click on it to ‘join’ the two images together (See the image below)

Selecting both the shapes



Step 3 – Select Object to Pattern

Select the  background image and go up to the Menu Bar and choose:
Object >> Pattern >> Object to Pattern (you can see the detail of this on our previous Inkscape tutorial post)


Step 4 – Move the shapes on to your image

Move the star and moon shape on to the image and position how you want to image to be on the shapes. (Again see the previous post on what we mean here)

Select both the shapes and the background image, using the Rubber Band technique we show you in our Free Video Tutorials videos.

If you missed this or can’t remember how to do this, then you will find it on this Inkscape tutorial video at 4.25 minutes.

Or you can just select the image, and at the same time hold down Shift and select the moon and the star shape at the same time. Both should now be selected (they will have the select handles around them)


Step 5 – Select Object to Clip & Set

Go back to the Menu Bar and choose Object >> Clip >> Set

The starry background should now appear in the moon and star shapes.


Step 6 – Creating a Drop Shadow

If you want to create a drop shadow around both shapes:

  • Duplicate the moon and star shape by using Control+D
  • Move the top image away from the bottom image
  • Select one of the images and then click on the colour you would like
  • Place this image beneath the other one

Creating a drop shadow with the shapes

Move this coloured image to lie below the starry image and then using the keyboard keys, just gently move the bottom image down a couple of points and across to the right a couple of points so it just peeks out from beneath the top image.





If you’ve used Inkscape before and have followed our tutorials, this tutorial should take you about 10 minutes, tops.

However, we know that it’s easy to forget  things, so if it takes a little longer, don’t sweat it!

If you’d like to spice this image up even more, here’s an example of what you could do:


Special Text effectThis image was created using Pixlr Express – and applying the following effects:

  • Effects >>Overlay >> Canvas >> Skin >> then apply this effect
  • Effect >> Creative >> Artfunkle and apply this effect
  • Save the new image



For those of you that are not quite sure how to create simple shapes using Inkscape, watch this space as in the third part of this series, I’ll show you how to make 3 simple shapes.

If you’ve never used Inkscape before and you’d like to have a go, then click on the link below to get access to our free video tutorials!

Click Here for the free video tutorials






Please leave a comment below and let us know if you liked this tutorial and would like to see more of them!

About The Author

Caroline Jones

I'm Caroline and I look to help small business owners create their own graphics by writing tutorials and tips on graphics editing software. I live in Wales , love Tartan and Coffee Ice Cream. You can read more about me here