How to Make a Star in Gimp

Updated July 20, 2017

The GNU Image Manipulation Program, or Gimp, is a free, open-source, cross-platform graphics editing program. Its features make it a popular alternative to the commercial industry standard, Adobe Photoshop. Gimp was not designed with drawing in mind, and its interface can be a little confusing to computer beginners and Photoshop veterans alike. However, with some patience and thoughtful use of the available tools and features, you can draw shapes like stars using Gimp.

Launch Gimp and choose "New" from the "File" menu to create a new document. In the dialogue that appears, type "400" into the "Width" and "Height" fields, then click "OK."

Click the "View" menu, then click "Show Grid." The grid is overlayed on the document. Click the "View" menu again and select "Snap to Grid" to enable it.

Click the "Paths" tools in the Toolbox, or press "B."

Move the cursor onto the document. The coordinates in the lower left corner of the window only change in multiples of 10, because you've enabled "Snap to Grid." This helps you draw more precisely.

Click the document at the point "100, 300" as indicated by the coordinate display to place the first point of a path. Now move the cursor to "300,300" and click again. Finally, click the document at "200,130." You've drawn two sides of a nearly equilateral triangle.

Click the "Windows" menu, then the "Dockable Dialogs" submenu, then click "Paths." The Paths dialogue is revealed in its window on the right; you can click its icon there to quickly reveal it in the future.

Right-click the "Unnamed" path which you just created and choose "Duplicate Path." A new path called "Unnamed copy" appears in the list.

Click the "Rotate" tool in the toolbox. In the tool's options below, click the third button next to the "Transform" option, which looks like part of a path. Click anywhere in the document to rotate the currently-selected path. In the dialogue that appears, type "180" into the "Angle" field, and "242" into the "Center Y" field. Press "Rotate."

Right-click "Unnamed copy" in the Paths list on the right, then choose "Path to Selection" from the drop-down menu. Right-click "Unnamed," then choose "Add to Selection" from the drop-down menu.

Click the "Paint Bucket" tool in the toolbox or press "Shift" and "B" at the same time. Click the black rectangle beneath the tool icons -- the foreground colour -- then choose a colour for your star and click "OK." Click within the star-shaped selection in the document area to fill the star with the colour you chose.


Note that the star you drew is not "perfect" in the mathematical sense, because in a computer graphing system irrational numbers must be rounded to integer values. Remove the grid using the "View" menu and judge for yourself if the star is satisfactorily "perfect."

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About the Author

Michael Carroll is a high school mathematics teacher. He has written for various websites since 2010, specializing in programming, web design, electronics and various pieces of software. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas, with specialization in embedded system design.