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Thursday, April 9, 2015

9) Black and White Split Rings

In my previous posts, I talked about how to draw split rings in two colors. Here are a few options if you are working with a black and white diagram. This is not an exhaustive list, so feel free to use this as a jumping off point to play around with Inkscape and come up with methods of your own. You can also use these techniques on split rings with color, as shown at the bottom of the post.

Drawing Lines

If you are working with a black and white diagram, you may simply wish to include a line to symbolize the split. This line can be drawn with the Pencil tool or with the Bezier tool. If you use the Bezier tool, remember to press Enter on your keyboard (or double click on your mouse) when you are finished drawing your line.

Guides come in handy when trying to draw straight lines. (Though if you prefer to hold the CTRL key down while drawing, that works too!) Click here to read more about using Guides.

In the example below, I've placed a vertical guide on top of my ring. I used the pencil tool to draw a line directly on top of my guide, allowing it to snap into place.

To create a ring with an uneven split, you might use a combination of vertical and horizontal guides:

If you want to be sure that your guides are aligned with the center of your ring, click on the icon to "Snap centers of objects" found on the right side of the screen.

You can also double click on your guide to change the angle of rotation. Below, I've changed the angle of one of my guides to 60 degrees:

If you prefer curved lines, use the Bezier tool to create an arc (in the same way we did on Post #2 Another Way to Draw Chains)

Once you have finished, you can remove your guides by dragging them off of the screen, or by hovering over them and pressing delete on your keyboard. Also, don't forget to press CTRL+G to group your ring and line together when you are done.

Dashed Lines

If you don't want to use a solid line in the middle of the split ring, you can experiment with Dashes. These can be found on the Fill and Stroke menu, under the tab called "Stroke Style"

Make sure you have your line selected first. Then click on the drop down menu for Dashes and choose from a variety of styles. Please note that you will have to access the Dashes menu again when you want to go back to drawing solid lines. Here are some examples of rings with dashes:

Again, these need to be grouped so that everything moves together.


As I was looking at a post on Ninetta's blog, I noticed that she used arrows to designate directions on her split rings. Clever!

Arrowheads are called "Markers" in Inkscape, and can be found just underneath dashes on the Fill and Stroke menu, on the tab for Stroke Style:

Just as we did with Dashes, we will be drawing a line first, then adding the marker to the selected line. Arrowheads work best on straight lines. They don't rotate correctly when moving around curves.

There are three drop down menus for Markers. You can choose between Start, Mid, and End Markers. (For Mid Markers to work you must have a middle node). Make sure that you have updated to the current version of Inkscape, where they have fixed an issue with arrowheads not conforming to fill and stroke colors.

Here are a few rings with arrows.


If you split your ring into two equal parts (click here for the tutorial), you can set the Fill to a light gray color as I have done below. (Set Fill through the Fill and Stroke menu, or by clicking on a color from the palette at the bottom of the screen). I added a dashed line to one of my examples, but this is optional.

This method only works if you have a ring split down the middle. It doesn't fill properly with an uneven split ring:

To fill uneven splits, you should use the Paint Bucket tool.

Paint Bucket Fill

Any areas that are bound by solid lines can be filled with the Paint Bucket tool. This will not work if you are separating your split ring with dashed lines.

To use this tool, click on the Paint Bucket icon on the left side of your screen. Now choose a color from the palette on the bottom of the screen, and click on an area of your ring that you would like to fill. (Paint bucket fills have a Stroke color, which can appear as an unwanted outline. If you see that outline, go in and change the Stroke to the same color as your Fill.)

Sometimes, the paint bucket tool can be a little overzealous and fill your entire shape before you are ready. If this happens just press CTRL+Z on your keyboard to Undo.

A note about using the paint bucket tool: the closer you are zoomed in, the more accurate the fill. For some reason, this tool does not fill correctly when zoomed out. (Click Here to go to an external site that talks more about this limitation and how to fix it)

Here are a few uneven splits filled with the paint bucket tool:

When you are done, remember to CTRL+G to group all of the elements of the ring together. Otherwise, Inkscape will treat the paint bucket fill as a separate part, and move it independently of the rest of the ring.

Rings with Color

If you are working with color, you can still use the above techniques to dress up your split rings.

Here are a few examples:


  1. This does seem like an exhaustive list, Robin ! I can't think of any other way(s) ;-P
    I, too, had noticed the arrows in Ninetta's diagrams. I think her diagramming, overall, is brilliant & kind of flows. It takes a little getting used to at times, but then it flows easily.
    A lot of new options/commands to learn here, opening up Inkscape further. Thanks for all these tuts :-)

    1. I had this post on the draft board for about a week, and I kept thinking of more things to add to it! Well, now that it's posted, I can move on :)

      If I can muster it, I will be talking about Layers and Pattern Repeats before my next Inkscape break. However, there's a very good chance that I will get distracted by the ever increasing amount of other tatting projects I have going on :)

    2. I know the feeling .... ideas & options keep elbowing their way into a draft ;-)

      Layering & pattern repeats would be very helpful. Just this evening I was helping out a friend with some sewing & it struck me how much easier it would've been if I'd taken the time to go thru my initial trials of layering. I do hope you can squeeze those in :-D
      Either way, your tatting & designing are Equally enjoyable & inspiring :-)

  2. You have worked it out well and this will make a great reference someday for me, and I know others love to know how too. I will have to mentally prepare myself and that may take years I am an old dog and this would be a new trick. It is way nicer to have patterns with diagrams :)

    1. It will take me quite a while to finish the rest of the posts in the series, so maybe it's good to wait and start when all the information is up. I have a feeling I will forget how to do some of these Inkscape tricks in the future, if I take too long of a break from diagramming. I will have to start using my own tutorials when that happens!

  3. You make it seem so easy! ...time consuming, but easy! When I don't have so much going on, I'm going to have to give this a try.

    1. Like tatting, learning Inkscape was VERY frustrating at first. It gets easier with practice, after understanding the basics of how the program works. I keep remembering when I first learned how to tat...I wanted to throw the shuttle across the room on more than on occasion! Inkscape wasn't quite that bad :)

  4. Another great tutorial! Thanks Robin :). Looking forward to some free time so I can do more of your tutorials :).

    1. Take your time, you move through these much faster than I can write them! ;)