Superimposing a Grid onto an Image using Free Tools

For the group exercise, I wanted to superimpose a grid over my painting piece to make it easier to get the position of elements correct in my painting. You can do this using Photoshop, but for those of us who don't have it, there is an alternative. My husband found a free tool online that you can use to do this very easily.


1. Install Paint.NET

a) Go to

b) Click on the big green "Download Now" button. Save the file somewhere easy to get to (like your Desktop)

c) Double-click on the file to extract the installer

d) Double-click the installer file to install the program

e) Follow the instructions. On the last page, deselect the option to "Start Paint.NET", as we need to install something else first.


2) Install the GridMaker plugin.

a) Go to

b) Click on the link in the first post that says "> Here is the DLL <". Save the file somewhere easy to get to (like your Desktop)

c) Double-click on the downloaded file to display the "Gridmaker.dll" file. Keep that window open.

d) Open "My Computer", double Click on your system's disk, and navigate to Program Files -> Paint.NET -> Effects

e) Copy Gridmaker.dll into the Effects directory.


Okay, that's all the installation done. You don't need to do any of that again. The next set of instructions explains how to superimpose the grid over an image.


1) Start Paint.NET (there should be a shortcut on your desktop)

2) Go to the File menu, choose Open, and load your image. It should appear in the window.

3) Go to the Effects menu, and choose Render, then "Grid/Checkerboard Maker"

4) A grid will cover your image, and a settings window will appear. On the settings menu, click the box next to the "Foreground only" option. This makes the grid transparent.

5) To change the size of the grid squares, use the "horizontal grid step" and "vertical grid step" sliders

6) Save your image as a different name, or print it straight from the program.


That's it. I know it sounds complicated, but it's really very simple once you start the program and can see the windows and controls I'm referring to.


If you get really stuck, there's a Youtube video that takes you through the installation and image editing steps:


Good luck!



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Comment by Jocelyn Arsenault on March 15, 2014 at 16:29

You can also use the grid tool from Tim Gagnon an artist that share this tool that is very easy to use online.

It is free to use


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