Create Stunning Lithophane 3D Prints with These Easy Steps

Posted by

Lithophanes are a unique and beautiful way to display your favorite images. These 3D printed objects use varying thicknesses to create a grayscale image that appears when backlit. While they may seem challenging to make, creating a lithophane 3D print is actually quite simple.

There are a few different methods to create a lithophane 3D print. Some involve using free online generators, while others require image-editing software. Regardless of the method you choose, the process involves converting your image into a 3D file that can be printed on a 3D printer. With the right tools and a little bit of patience, you can create a stunning lithophane that will impress your friends and family.

What is a Lithophane?

A lithophane is a unique type of 3D print that creates a three-dimensional image by varying the thickness of a flat surface. The thickness of the surface is adjusted to create a grayscale image that can be viewed when backlit. The darker areas of the image are thicker, which restricts the light passing through them, while the lighter areas have a thin cross-section that allows for more light to pass through.

Lithophanes have been around for centuries, and they were originally created using porcelain or other materials. However, with the advent of 3D printing, it has become much easier to create lithophanes at home.

To create a lithophane, you need a high-resolution image with high contrast features. There are several free online tools that allow you to convert your image into an .STL file, which can then be imported to the slicer of your choice. Once the file is loaded, you can adjust the thickness of the lithophane to your liking.

Lithophanes are a unique way to display your favorite images, and they make great gifts for family and friends. They can be used to create custom nightlights, lampshades, and other decorative items. With a little bit of practice, you can create stunning lithophanes that are sure to impress.

Materials and Tools

To create a lithophane 3D print, you will need a few essential materials and tools. Here are the key items you’ll need:


The filament is the material that your 3D printer uses to create your lithophane. The most common filament used for lithophane 3D prints is PLA, as it is easy to work with and produces high-quality results. Other filaments, such as PETG, can also be used.

When choosing a filament for your lithophane, consider the color and quality of the filament, as well as the temperature at which it melts. It is recommended to use white filament for lithophanes, as it produces a translucent effect that works well with the lighting.

3D Printer

You will need a 3D printer to create your lithophane. Any 3D printer that can print with PLA or other suitable filaments can be used. It is recommended to use a printer with a high resolution, as this will ensure that your lithophane has sharp details and a smooth surface.

Lithophane Generator Software

To create the 3D model of your lithophane, you will need a lithophane generator software. There are many free and paid options available online, such as 3D Lithophane Maker and Lithophane Generator. These software programs allow you to upload your image and generate a 3D model of your lithophane by adjusting the depth and thickness of the model.

Image Editing Software

Before you can create your lithophane, you will need to edit your image to optimize it for the 3D printing process. You can use any image editing software that you are comfortable with, such as Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. The key is to adjust the contrast and brightness of your image to create a high-contrast image that will produce the desired effect when printed as a lithophane.

Overall, creating a lithophane 3D print requires some basic materials and tools, including filament, a 3D printer, lithophane generator software, and image editing software. With these tools, you can create beautiful and unique lithophanes that make great gifts or decorations for your home.

Creating a Lithophane

Creating a lithophane is a fun and easy way to turn your favorite photos into a unique 3D printed piece of art. Here are the steps to create your own lithophane:

Choosing an Image

The first step in creating a lithophane is to choose a suitable image. A lithophane relies heavily on the contrast between light and dark areas of the image, so choose a photo with a good range of tones.

Images with high contrast, such as black and white photos or images with strong shadows, work particularly well for lithophanes. Keep in mind that the final lithophane will be a negative of the image, so be sure to choose an image that will look good when inverted.

Generating the Lithophane

Once you have chosen your image, the next step is to generate the lithophane. There are several online tools and software programs available that can be used to create a lithophane from an image.

One popular option is to use a lithophane generator. These generators take your image and convert it into a 3D model that can be printed as a lithophane. Some popular lithophane generators include and Thingiverse’s Lithophane Maker.

Adjusting the Settings

After generating the lithophane, it’s important to adjust the settings to ensure the final print looks its best. Some key settings to consider include:

  • Layer height: For best results, use a layer height of 0.1mm or less.
  • Infill density: A low infill density (around 10%) will help to create a translucent effect.
  • Print orientation: Printing the lithophane vertically can help to reduce visible layer lines.

Printing the Lithophane

Once you have adjusted the settings, it’s time to print the lithophane. Be sure to use a translucent filament such as PLA or PETG to achieve the desired effect.

When printing, it’s important to use a slow print speed (around 30mm/s) to ensure the details of the lithophane are captured accurately. Additionally, printing with a raft or brim can help to prevent warping.

Overall, creating a lithophane is a fun and rewarding project that can result in a unique and personalized piece of art. By following these steps, you can create a beautiful lithophane that will be sure to impress.

Tips and Tricks

When it comes to 3D printing lithophanes, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you achieve the best results. In this section, we’ll cover some of the most important things to keep in mind when printing your own lithophanes.

Choosing the Right Filament

The filament you choose can have a big impact on the quality of your lithophane. Here are a few things to consider when selecting filament:

  • Transparency: For the best results, you’ll want to use a filament that is as transparent as possible. This will allow the light to shine through the lithophane and create a clear image.
  • Color: While you can print lithophanes in any color, white or clear filament is usually the best choice. This will allow the image to show up clearly when backlit.
  • Quality: Make sure to choose a high-quality filament that will produce consistent results. Cheap or low-quality filament can lead to poor print quality and wasted time and money.

Adjusting the Printer Settings

Getting the printer settings right is crucial for achieving a high-quality lithophane. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Layer height: A smaller layer height will produce a higher-quality lithophane, but will also take longer to print. Aim for a layer height of around 0.1mm for the best results.
  • Infill: A low infill percentage (around 10%) is usually sufficient for lithophanes, as the image is created by the varying thickness of the layers rather than the infill pattern.
  • Print speed: Slower print speeds can help improve the quality of the lithophane, so consider reducing the print speed for this type of print.

Post-Processing the Lithophane

Once your lithophane is printed, there are a few things you can do to improve the final result:

  • Clean-up: Remove any excess filament or support material from the lithophane carefully, taking care not to damage the delicate structure.
  • Backlighting: The best way to view a lithophane is by backlighting it. Use a light source such as an LED strip or a lamp to illuminate the lithophane from behind and bring the image to life.
  • Finishing: If desired, you can sand the surface of the lithophane lightly to remove any rough spots or imperfections. Be careful not to sand too much, as this can damage the image.

By keeping these tips and tricks in mind, you can create high-quality lithophanes that are sure to impress.


Creating a 3D printed lithophane is a fun and unique way to display your favorite images. With a little bit of effort and some basic knowledge of 3D printing, you can create a beautiful and personalized lithophane that is sure to impress.

In this guide, we covered the basic steps to create a 3D printed lithophane. We started by selecting an image and converting it to a lithophane using software such as LithophaneMaker or Cura. We then prepared the model for printing and printed it using a 3D printer.

It’s important to note that the success of your lithophane will depend on the quality of your image and the settings of your 3D printer. Experimenting with different settings, such as layer height and infill density, can help you achieve the best results.

Additionally, there are many ways to display your 3D printed lithophane. You can mount it on a window to let the light shine through it, create a LED back light to create a lithophane lamp, or even use it as a personalized coaster.

Overall, creating a 3D printed lithophane is a rewarding and creative project that anyone can enjoy. With some basic knowledge of 3D printing and a little bit of patience, you can create a beautiful and personalized piece of art that is sure to impress.