Anybody Using Sketchup For Marquetry Design?

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Forum topic by stefang posted 03-13-2012 09:27 PM 4065 views 2 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3817 days

03-13-2012 09:27 PM

I want to try doing some marquetry work. My drawing skills aren’t too good so I thought I might be able to use Sketchup to help design my projects. I have two basic questions:

1. What is the best way to create line drawings from photos imported from Sketchup?
I have already tried this as you can see from the before and after pics below. I used the Line and Freehand tools to create the Sketchup rendering.

2. Is there a way to add to my wood selection in the Sketchup program? There weren’t many woods to choose from in my free version. That’s why I used colors on the two experimental pics below.
I want to build up a library with the woods I have and can get, so I can use them instead of colors.

Any help with the above questions would be welcome and fully appreciated. Thanks for reading.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

12 replies so far

View shipwright's profile


8358 posts in 3281 days

#1 posted 03-13-2012 10:30 PM

Welcome to marquetry Mike. You’re going to get addicted like the rest of us…....... but that’s a good thing. Forget sketchup. Download the free version of inkscape and then go to here for all you need to know about making patterns from photos.

Have fun.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3817 days

#2 posted 03-13-2012 10:44 PM

Thanks Jonathan for the links. I did try to put it out, but I have Sketchup 8 and it doesn’t seem to work in the way described in the ‘how to’ I work on it further if I don’t go with the Inkscape solution.

Thank you Paul for the Inkscape suggestion and the info link. I have to go to bed now, so I will check it all out tomorrow and let you know how it went.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dave's profile


11432 posts in 3323 days

#3 posted 03-13-2012 11:14 PM

Mike good luck and I will be tuned in to see what you come up with. Sorry I am no help. I know zero about marquetry.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View JAAune's profile


1866 posts in 2800 days

#4 posted 03-14-2012 02:03 AM

I’d not use Sketchup for that type of work. It’s not designed for artistic, 2d drawing so I doubt it’s as good as other programs. The other problem with Sketchup is that it doesn’t do real curves. Everything is a straight line.

I’d probably be more inclined to use a graphics program like Gimp. The learning curve is steeper but there are lots more tools available for 2D drawing.

-- See my work at and

View ruel24's profile


79 posts in 2776 days

#5 posted 03-14-2012 04:26 AM

I’m an Inkscape artist, and I second Inkscape. It may take people a minute to figure out vector drawing, but it’s unbelievable what you can achieve once you do.

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2985 days

#6 posted 03-14-2012 08:49 AM


I can’t answer your first question, but I can answer the second. Yes there is a way to add to you wood selection in Sketchup. Chiefwoodworker has a series of tutorials on Sketchup, and textures are covered in one of them.

Hope this helps

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Roger's profile


21010 posts in 3287 days

#7 posted 03-14-2012 01:00 PM

interesting subject and questions. I’ll be followin along

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Dave's profile


11432 posts in 3323 days

#8 posted 03-14-2012 02:28 PM

Mike here is a thought. Some guys take a photo and open it in some software like photoshop. They will change the photo to black and white or cartoon it. Then the play with the lighting levels, chroma etc… when they get it to a point that they can cut it on a saw they print the pattern. Portraits are done this way.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3817 days

#9 posted 03-14-2012 07:16 PM

My thanks to everyone for these thoughtful suggestions and links. For the time being I have taken Paul’s (Shipwright) suggestion to download inkscape and used the link he provided in his comments above to watch the first tutorial of a whole series on how to use the inkscape vector program. It looks like just the thing for my purposes.

Dave Your suggestion about Photoshop was excellent, but the few times I tried it, I found it very difficult to learn. The Inkscape program is probably the best for me, plus it has some similarities to Sketchup which helps me learn it quicker.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View LNRR's profile


19 posts in 1351 days

#10 posted 02-23-2016 06:52 AM

Go to Amazon Canvas and I think there will be a large selection of wood you can download.

-- David Tenn.

View DrTebi's profile


305 posts in 3749 days

#11 posted 02-23-2016 07:59 AM

I “third” on Inkscape!

I am very happy to see that there are other woodworkers that use Inkscape. It’s a great—and free—program, perfect for any 2D layouts. It works on Linux, Mac, and Windoze.

Here is a link to a website with many video tutorials, where I learned quite a lot of tricks:

For wood samples, I simply search with google images for wood samples. For example:

Good luck!

View rustynails's profile


851 posts in 3012 days

#12 posted 02-23-2016 12:43 PM

Depending on what kind of pictures you are trying to cut there are a lot of free images on the web that can be used as well. Coloring books, stain glass, tattoos, quilt designs, line drawings, scroll saw patterns, ect…. Are just a few. What form of cutting method are you planning on using to cut the veneer with?


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