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How to cut out a border using GIMP

Three easy steps to cut out a border using GIMP. This is necessary for putting images into web pages and online instructional documents. Read through these super easy to follow screenshots and watch the instructional video at the bottom.  

This is an example of an image with a border that has a colour and a clean edge.

san-francisco-210230_1280 finished

This is an image of houses in San Francisco. The image has a light green border with curved edges. You hardly notice this due to the size, but, it makes the image stand alone on the page.


First things to do are:

Open the image in GIMP. Make any necessary edits – text, arrows, etc.

Select the layer that you want to crop. The layer is selected when the colour is highlighted. In Ubuntu this is orange, in Windows this is blue.

SF selected layer Windows is blue cropped

– If you want a transparent background behind your cut out border right click on the layer and click ‘add alpha channel”.

SF right click layer add alpha chanle to get transparency cropped

Select the colour that you want to use for your border.

Go to the colour selector and click on the top colour. This opens the colour dialogue box. Select a colour to use. It is recommended to use a colour that ties in with your overall colour scheme and is slightly muted. You want the image to stand apart from the text, a dark frame can attract the eye and disrupt the flow of the page.

SF select colour cropped

Here are the THREE easy steps:

1. Rectangle Select.

This is the rectangle shape in the top left hand side of the tools box. Click on this shape and you can draw a rectangle across your image.

Drag the sides of the rectangle to reshape.

Select rounded corners if you want a rounded edge to your image.

SF select rectangle with rounded corners cropped


2. Stroke Selection.

Go to ‘Edit’ on the top menu drop down, then, click ‘Stroke Selection’. This will put a stroke around the marching ants (or dots) of the rectangle select.

The options are for stroke thickness, different kinds of stroke. Click ‘Select’.

SF edit stroke selection cropped

SF stroke selection box open cropped

3. Select>Invert.

Go to ‘Select’ on the top menu drop down, then, click ‘Invert’. This changes the selection from inside the rectangle to outside the rectangle.

Now go to your keyboard and press the ‘delete’ button.

SF Select invert cropped small


Voila! A beautiful border around a cut out image.  

Use the crop tool to get rid of the excess transparency.

Export as a .png and you’ll keep the transparent background.


SF crop tool with transparency cropped




Any questions, please drop me a line or add to the comments below.



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