K5 Computer Lab Lesson Plans

Remove Photo Backgrounds with Magic Wand and Eraser

Students Remove Backgrounds from Photos with the Magic Wand and Eraser

In this assignment students remove a background from a picture of a dog catching a frisbee.

The background will be completely transparent (clear).

Students then add the dog into a completely different picture.


The program used here is the free graphics program Paint.NET


Grades 4 +



The magic wand is very useful for removing background or portions of an image. It works best when used to remove continuous sections of solid colors, like when removing solid colored backgrounds. More complex backgrounds with varied colors and textures can be removed using a combination of the magic wand and the eraser tool. The eraser helps remove portions of the image that the magic wand tool misses.

Students will use the magic wand to remove as much of the background behind the dog as they can. Then they will use the eraser tool to remove the extra detail. To remove fine detail, magnify the dog photo to 200% or greater and then try changing to different eraser sizes (2px to 10px) to erase hard to get to places.




magic wand lesson background image




Paint.NET magic wand activity

Step One:

Download the picture at the very top of the page with the girl (no dog) to your "my pictures" folder.

Download this picture of the dog to your "my pictures' folder and then open it in Paint.NET.


Background to be removed with magic wand



Step Two:

Use the magic wand tool to remove as much of the background as you can. Adjust the tolerance settings to remove more or less. Use the eraser for more detailed background removal.


magic wand and eraser



Step Three:

Save the finished picture as a .png file. This will make sure that the background stays transparent when saved.


transparent dog



Step Four:

Open the picture of the girl in the grass with Paint.NET.
(File > Open).

magic wand and eraser background image



Step Five:

Add the dog to the picture by importing it as a layer.
(Layers > Import From File).


Magic wand Paint.NET activity


Step Six:

Adust the position and size of the dog to your liking. Save the finished picture as .jpg or .png file and upload it to your website.



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