Remove Image Background and Turn It Into Silhouette (for Free!)

Introduction: Remove Image Background and Turn It Into Silhouette (for Free!)

In this tutorial I will go through the steps needed to remove the background from an image, and optionally turn it into a silhouette, using only free software and very little skills.

Step 1: Choose Your Image & Download the Software You Need

- Choose your image, if you are taking the image of a family member make sure that the background is as white as possible (or any other color that can really standout next to their skin) - this will make selection a lot easier

- Download your software, for this tutorial I am using Gimp, it is a 100% free software that has very good image editing capabilities.

You can get it from

Step 2: Open Your Image With Gimp

- After downloading and installing Gimp, go to File->Open

- Browse to your image

Step 3: Select Your Foreground Object

Click on the "Scissors Select Tool" located in the main toolbar.

Outline the foreground selection you want to keep, clicking down at every angle and corner present in your image to help the edge-fitting tool wrap around your foreground.

When you are happy with the selection, press the "Enter" button on your keyboard, the image will turn into a dotted line

Step 4: Remove the Background

Go to "Select" menu and click "Invert". This will change your selection from the foreground to the background so you can delete the background.

Press the Delete key or click on "Edit" and "Cut" or ctrl + x to remove the photo background.

Step 5: Optionally Fill the Image in Black

- To turn the image into a Silhouette, Invert your selection again to select the foreground object

- Choose the Bucket fill tool from the menu

- 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”

- Click inside the selected area and it will get filled with black

Step 6: Touch Ups and Saving

If there are some touch ups that are needed, you can use the pencil tool to make any fixes

Go to File->Export As->Select file type and save your image, png files will preserve transparency

Step 7: You Are Done!

You can now use the silhouette for any crafts projects, I used a Silhouette cutting machine to cut various family members silhouettes and frame them, there are so many things you can do with these silhouettes :

Formlabs Contest

Participated in the
Formlabs Contest

3 People Made This Project!


  • Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge

    Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge
  • Leather Challenge

    Leather Challenge
  • Digital Fabrication Student Design Challenge

    Digital Fabrication Student Design Challenge



Question 4 years ago on Step 3

hhhheeelllpppp! I am the most technically challenged person...and totally freaking out right now that I even managed to use the scissor tool to make little dots all around my image. Now I pressed "Enter", but, the dots are still there. The dotted line step is not happening. I am terrified I will mess it up....what would you suggest I do? Any input is much appreciated :)

hmm, i got the scissor clicking done, and these big white dots appear and then I press enter and nothing happens.. (it already is a line with those big white dots.) and then even if i continue onto invert selection, the whole image is gone except for the white line with dots i created. . then i do the bucket fill and the whole screen gets filled. so somehow im missing a few clicks in places i think.


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

nvm, fig it out. you have to make selection a full circle! got it!


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Thanks, me too, it is also very easy to use even for someone with no photo editing experience at all like me


7 years ago

That's awesome