How To Use The Clone Stamp in Paint.NET

by dustytoes

A tutorial on how to use the clone stamp to enhance and fix photography pictures.

If you have been wondering what the clone stamp is used for, I will show you what can be done with this useful tool. I am specifically talking about the, free graphic program in this tutorial.

I have used to create my designs for selling at my Zazzle stores, but I will admit that I am still learning about all the tools available in the program and recently I discovered a very helpful way to fix and repair a picture or photo using the clone stamp.

It's also very easy to do, once you know how. On this page I will show you in a picture tutorial how to use it to remove an unwanted part of a photograph.

What The Heck is a Clone Stamp?

Don't worry, the clone stamp is easy to use.

Any photograph or image that is not quite perfect can have it's imperfection(s) taken out with careful use of the clone stamp.  It takes a clone, or copy, of one section of your image and adds a duplicate of it someplace else.  It incorporates the brush tool to do this.

Basically it is stamp and paint.  You'll love it!

I have used it to remove a telephone wire from a scenic photo, erase a dark spot on an otherwise perfect flower bloom, and so on.  It can be used to add a portion of the picture that is missing in some cases.  It does not clone sheep.

In other words you don't have to settle for an almost okay picture.  Erase and replace what you don't like using the clone stamp.

In my tutorial I will use the yellow tulip photo below and remove that brown line that runs through the picture.

(Photo of sheep from Pixabay)

Removing an Unwanted Line.

The yellow tulip photo is marred by an unsightly brown line in the background.
Tulip photo with brown line.
Tulip photo with brown line.

Zoom In On the Area You Will Fix

A close up view of the area is helpful in getting the cloning to look right.

I am using the image of my yellow tulip, which would look a lot better without that brownish line marring the background.  So I will remove it.

First you should use the magnifying glass to zoom into the area of the photo you will be working on.

As you can see in my tulip photo below, I am zoomed in on the bottom right side of the photo where I will begin removing the brown area by replacing it with another section of the photo.

We can't just erase the line.  Exchanging it for the light blue background, that is close by, makes more sense and will look more natural.

The Magnifying Feature Let's Me Zoom In Close

I need to work up close to get the color replacement right.
Close up, bottom right.
Close up, bottom right.
Find the clone stamp tool in your tool box.
Find the clone stamp tool in your too...

Let's Begin Fixing Our Photo

Find the clone stamp tool in your Paint.NET toolbox.

Open Paint.NET on your computer and find a picture that has an imperfection.  Don't try to do something too difficult.  Removing a single item from a photo with a blank background is easiest.

Play around with an image until you get the hang of it.  I think you'll have fun seeing the results!

Once you have a picture ready to go, find the clone stamp tool as shown in the picture here and follow my directions below.


Chose a Brush Width Before You Begin

You can always change the size as you go.

brush tool widthAfter clicking on the clone stamp tool, you will see the Brush width indicator at the top of the screen.

Depending on the size of the mistake, or imperfection you want to fix, you may have to do these steps more than once with various sizes in brush width.

As the numbers in the drop down menu increase, the size of the "dot", or brush area, you will use will increase.

Because my image has a mostly blank background I can choose a high number and use a larger "dot" to begin with. If the part you need to replace is small, choose a small number.

Your First Click Will Set the Stamp

The second dot will show the area that will replaced with the pixels from the first dot area.
Clone stamp tool tutorial picture.
Clone stamp tool tutorial picture.

Repeat This Process As Needed

Change to a smaller brush size for more intricate areas of the image.
  1. Click on the clone stamp tool.
  2. Choose a brush size from the drop down menu at the top of your page.
  3. Hold down the CTRL button on your computer and place the brush dot on the area of the photo you will use to copy - wherever you click, that is the part of the image that will be used to paint with and it will move simultaneously with the second circle you make - and click with your mouse.  A blinking dot will show up and remain there.
  4. Place the mouse (the second circle you will see on the screen) over the area you wish to clone, or replace.
  5. Click and hold, then drag the mouse over the area to be changed and you will see the color from the first circle replace the image you are brushing over.


Both Circles, or Brush Areas, Will Move Together

For best results, do small areas at a time.

The first circle you place with the clone stamp will move as you drag the second, painting circle and it will copy what ever color and image is in it's path.  Always make sure it, the first circle, is located in the correct position on your image to replace or cover the problem.  If not, simply start at step #3 again.

If you make a mistake, hit the "back arrow" at the top of your screen to undo whatever you just did and begin again.

In my picture I am replacing the brown with the light blue background color.  You can see how part of the brown line is gone as I've moved my "brush" down the stem and copied the blue onto the image.  As long as my first circle was over the blue, I could easily cover the line.  I used a large brush for removing most of the line, but had to change to a much smaller one when removing the part of the brown line that was near the flower petals. 

A Tulip Photo Enhanced by the Clone Stamp

The finished product is much better looking without the imperfection.
Final Picture Without The Line
Final Picture Without The Line
My tulip photography, graphically enhanced using the clone stamp.

The Final Photo of the Tulip With Line Removed

I am happy with the finished product above.

Above is the final product after I removed the brown line from the tulip photo.  Near the bottom, right side there are some blue smudges which I could go back and remove to further enhance and fix the picture.  In this case, they really don't take away from the overall photo, so I don't mind them there.

Using the stamp gets more tricky when you try to replace part of the image itself.  You will want the end product to look as close to real as possible.

For more information and steps to further ensure your picture will look great, read this Clone Stamp Tutorial by Ian Pullen, and specifically numbers 5 and 6 which goes into detail about further work with opacity to make the fix look more realistic.  (I need to try this as well.)

Wasn't That Easy?

The clone stamp shows up in many other graphic programs as well.

After downloading Paint.NET, I wasn't able to find out what that little (clone stamp) icon was called, and therefore I couldn't very well find a tutorial for it, so I ignored, what turned out to be the clone stamp.

A few years ago I purchased an old, used PhotoShop book and one day as I was looking through it while waiting for my car to be repaired, I came across a section about using the clone stamp.  Since I don't use PhotoShop, the directions didn't make a lot of sense to me, but I got the general idea of what the clone stamp would do, and then I knew what that little icon was!

I went home and tried it out right away.  I had fun playing with some images and I now use it frequently to fix up a photo.

(Very cute chipmunk photo credit belongs to LoggaWiggler at Pixabay.)

Interesting Pages About Zazzle

Do you sell at Zazzle or would you like to?
Artists have many choices of products to use for advertising and selling their artwork at the Zazzle site.
Make Zazzle products easy to customize by creating text templates.
I use a free software program to remove the background from my photos for use at Zazzle and this picture tutorial will show you how.
About Zazzle, how to open a Zazzle store, getting paid from Zazzle, promotional tools, referral and volume bonuses, Zazzle links and more.
Updated: 03/19/2013, dustytoes
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?

Do you ever use the clone stamp?

Only logged-in users are allowed to comment. Login
MBC on 08/15/2015

Not yet, but thanks for the tutorial.

BrendaReeves on 09/08/2012

Thank you for the tutorial Pam. It reminds me that I need to learn how to use

Ragtimelil on 07/20/2012

It works the same in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. I use the clone all the time. Once I was asked to remove a bucket that looked like it was growing from someone's head. It actually was hanging behind the guy on a barn wall. I removed the bucket by cloning the wall. My boss was amazed. She asked me how I knew what was behind the bucket! HA.

lobobrandon on 06/09/2012

Amazing!! Not just the way you did it. But the level of perfection that you managed to achieve. I've cloned using Photoshop before (Not that I was good) never tried it on this software yet, as I've just got it. But, there's absolutely no trace of the brown wire or line. Seems so real.

dustytoes on 05/16/2012

Thank you Katie, I am always trying to learn new things which will help in the area of design. It's a must to keep improving.

katiem2 on 05/16/2012

WOW you're amazing, just think about how far you've come and what you've mastered. You are such an inspiration to me. I've been taking pictures, having fun, and uploading them just for Zazzle. I've been learning myself and fell I soon will create a few products. It's amazing what you can do there at Zazzle, I think I'm getting the bug... As always I appreciate your helpful insights and tutorials, these are priceless.

Marie on 05/02/2012

I've never actually used the clone stamp - I use Gimp and I assume it's in there too because that's quite a powerful photo/drawing package. I don't do much touching up or manipulation of photos but you've inspired me.

sheilamarie on 04/27/2012

Very useful technique! I can see how many photos could be improved by using this tool.

Sheri_Oz on 04/23/2012

I have been playing around with the clone stamp for a few months now and it is great. It is amazing what you can do with it when you practise.

dustytoes on 04/23/2012

Thank you ohcaroline for the feedback. The clone stamp takes a little getting used to, but it can really be a big help.

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