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How do I create a canvas to sit behind my images with GIMP

Problem: I have a bunch of images which I want to use in either an image gallery or a slideshow. To do this the images all be of dimensions 360×270 pixels, however the images were previously cropped so are all over the place.

You can create a canvas the size you need to sit behind the images and fill to the required dimensions using GIMP. Here’s how.


  1. Open GIMP
  2. Select Tools –> Toolbox to make sure the toolbox is displaying
  3. In the toolbox move the cursor over the top-left selection item and select it to ensure that the Rectangular Select Tool is active.
  4. Open the image File –> Open

Note: Size given as Width x Height; the image’s size will display in the top of the palette toolbar.

Example sizes: 360×240, 290×250, 290×270

If either or both dimensions are smaller than 360×270:

  1. Select Image –> Canvas Size
  2. Break the chain link and raise the number up to 360 Width adn 270 Height
  3. Select Resize
  4. Select Save (or Save as if you want to change the name)
  5. If you get a quality dialog box select 85%, then finish the save.

Note – Yes you could theoretically increase the size using the Scale option, but if you increase a dimension more than a couple pixels the qality breaks up.

Example sizes: 327×360 or 400×200

There are a couple ways to bring an image to proper 4:3 ratio if either dimension is greater than its requirement. The easiest:

  1. After opening the image select Image –> Scale Image
  2. Leave the chain link intact and scale the height down to 270 and select Scale; if the width were the large you would be adjusting it to 360.
  3. If the image loses clarity and this is common, select Filters –> Enhance –> Sharpen
  4. Adjust Sharpness to about 50 and select OK
  5. Select Image –> Canvas Size
  6. Break the link on the chain and adjust the Width to 360
  7. Select Resize
  8. Select File –> Save as, adjust the Quality to 85% and Save
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