artwork, Inkscape

Using Inkscape to Create Patch Artwork

My friend Shannon is involved in a Cub Scout pack and had asked me a while back if I had any interest in designing cub scout patches for their upcoming pinewood derby event (he is the event master) using Inkscape. I am always up for seeing what cool things can be made with Inkscape; Shannon and I have tested out Inkscape in other off-work projects including the jar labels for his honey business, Hughes Honey. (I especially like working on these side-projects with Shannon because he pays me in delicious honey 😉 ) I had some free time so I agreed to do it. Here’s what we came up with, using the Cub Scouts’ official blue & gold colors, the troop number, and of course an OFL-licensed font (Chunk Five)…

I created a new document in Inkscape that was 3″ x 3″, created a circle using the ellipse tool and centered it within the document using the Align & Distribute tool, and kept layering artwork into it. I got the artwork for the flags and the fleur de lis from Open Clip Art, and I drew the derby car using pinewood derby car photo references I found via search. I rotated the text around the circle using the “Put on Path” tool under Inkscape’s text menu. To keep creating circles within circles that are perfectly centered, the trick I used was to Ctrl+D the outermost circle and hold down shift while I scaled the circle down – this scales from the center of the circle rather than from the point you’re dragging the scale edge from.

Anyway, after a few iterations we got to the mockup above and sent it over to the patch makers, Stadri Emblems. They took our Inkscape-produced artwork and created this proof:

I thought it came out pretty awesome so I figured I’d post it. So now you see Inkscape is not just awesome for Girl Scouts, but for Cub Scouts too! 🙂

About Máirín Duffy

Máirín is a principal interaction designer at Red Hat. She is passionate about software freedom and free & open source tools, particularly in the creative domain: her favorite application is Inkscape. You can read more from Máirín on her blog at


7 thoughts on “Using Inkscape to Create Patch Artwork

  1. The “Pack 320” text looks a little flat compared to the circle containing it, but that might just be me. Looks great, though.

    Posted by Ben | February 16, 2011, 5:35 pm
  2. Fantastic work. I was a Cub Scout myself decades ago and would have really been excited if free software had been around at the time. And would have loved a patch life this for our Pinewood Derby races!

    Posted by Paul Frields | February 16, 2011, 8:41 pm
  3. Very nice . I want one with TUX or Fedora logo…

    Posted by Catalin | February 17, 2011, 9:24 am
  4. Wow, never thought Inskape could do that.

    BTW, what comment system are you using?

    Posted by frustphil | February 18, 2011, 4:39 am


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