Introduction: Layered Glass Art

Picture of Layered Glass Art

One day when I went down to the parkade of my condo to throw out the trash, I found a pane of glass leaning against the side of the dumpster. Although it had a few chips along the sides it still looked pretty good, so I thought I would rescue it from a sad (shattered) fate at the dump.

I cut the glass into smaller pieces to make a dimensional glass painting (basically painting on layers of glass to create a three dimensional appearance.) The problem was that I don't have any artistic talents , I could neither draw nor paint well at all. So I decided on something abstract, an imitation of Piet Mondrian, since I could draw lines and squares (provided that I have a ruler, of course).

Although this did not really demonstrate the 3D effect you can get with layering glass, I think it still looks kind of nice in my living room.

Step 1: Material

Picture of Material
  • A pane of glass
  • Glass paint or pens and a sharpie
  • Wood
  • Glass cutter, ruler, board, cardboard or newspaper
  • Saw (and mitre box)
  • Masking tape

Step 2: Cutting the Glass

Picture of Cutting the Glass
I basically cut the glass in half again and again until I could get as many of the same sized pieces out of it as possible.

This was my first time cutting glass so I used this instructable as a guide.

  • Draw a line with a ruler, where you plan to cut.
  • Add oil to the wheel of the glass cutter (I just used mineral oil, sewing machine oil may be better.)
  • Applying steady, even pressure on the glass cutter, score a line along the length of the glass. Use the ruler to make sure it goes straight, and only score once (don't go back and forth with the cutter.)
  • Align the score line along the edge of a board (so that one side of the score line is higher than the other.)
  • Cover glass with cardboard or newspaper (in case it shatters.)
  • Apply gentle even pressure on both sides of the score line on the glass, it should break cleanly at the score line.

Repeat until you have all the pieces you need, I ended up with 11 pieces of 15cmX11cm.

Step 3: Cutting the Wooden Stand

Picture of Cutting the Wooden Stand
To make a stand for the glass, I used two pieces of wood and made some notches in them to create some separation between each panel of glass. I used a hand saw and mitre box to make the notches.

I used two 20cm long (1.8cm width and height) pieces of wood, when sawing the notches I taped them together to make sure each piece of wood was cut the same.

  • Draw 11 marks, 3mm wide, 7mm apart. (The glass I had was 2mm thick, so it fit in the 3mm notches)
  • Saw each notch 1cm in depth.

Step 4: Paint the Glass

Picture of Paint the Glass
I thought about buying glass paint, but it was $5 for 45ml for each colour, being cheap, I just used Crayola Window Clingers (which I already had at home) and a black Sharpie. Before painting the glass I cleaned it first with a glass cleaner to get all of my little finger prints off.

  • Resized the pattern to match the size of the glass panels.
  • Lay the glass panel on the pattern, and with a ruler, draw the black lines with a Sharpie.
  • For the coloured squares use masking tape to tape around the area that you will paint.
  • Paint the squares (try to apply evenly and avoid bubbles).
  • When it is dry, carefully peel off the tape and clean up the edges with a knife.

Finishing up

Place each panel of glass in the correct order into the notches on the wooden stand.

Step 5: Other Things I Tried

Picture of Other Things I Tried

I had a few smaller pieces of glass left over, so I tried a few other things...


heymissmurder13 (author)2009-12-20

i like the flower ones

what flower on

ChrysN (author)yellowgirl12010-10-27

It's picture 5,6 and 7 in step 5.

ChrysN (author)heymissmurder132009-12-20

Thanks, I like the way it turned out too.

yellowgirl1 (author)2010-10-27

this will be realy nice to try someday

heymissmurder13 (author)2009-12-20

i love these kinds of things
i like this one, its like tiny and cute lol

Re-design (author)2009-09-11

Pretty coool.

ChrysN (author)Re-design2009-09-11


sierrabravo (author)2009-08-11

Mondrian's been dead since 1944, i don't think he'll mind too much lol :-)

sierrabravo (author)2009-07-07

i like it alot, i looks like a painting that commander data made on star trek i think.

ChrysN (author)sierrabravo2009-07-07

Thanks. I remember Data liked to paint. It is actually an imitation of the painter Pieter Cornelius Mondrian's work.

imakeit (author)2009-07-02

Very cool and most creative work, bravo!

artist without a medium (author)2009-05-25

Love the purple flower. My Mom bought me a folding screen that holds like 15 5x7 pictures. While not quite my cup of tea....I removed all glass, backing ,and added rice type paper to frames to make a Soji type screen. Been looking for something to do with panes of glass.

Cool, with 15 panes of glass, you can make something really nice.

icyice (author)2009-05-04

this gave me an idea..... im going to do this with a multi layer stencil and i will put different parts of one layer to many layers of glass

ChrysN (author)icyice2009-05-04

That sounds cool!

Mander2033 (author)2009-05-04

About ten years ago, I was at a modern/contemporary art museum in Boston and saw something very similar, but on a much larger scale. It included a 3-D effect. Each pane was an image in its own right, but the pane preceding or following it differed slightly. If you stood in the correct spot and looked at it obliquely, it literally was like seeing a real girl laying on the grass with butterflies around her. It was a very impressive piece of work, and I've kicked myself ever since that I cannot remember the artist's name. This is a lovely project; well done!!

ChrysN (author)Mander20332009-05-04

Wow, that sounds amazing!

FeedTheGrid (author)2009-04-24

Totally dig it. Awesome 'ibles-robot, too! I must get a hot-glue gun. FTG

ChrysN (author)FeedTheGrid2009-04-24

Thanks! I thought a hot glue gun was mandatory for instructables membership ;)

ChrysN (author)2009-04-20

Thanks, that is great advice about using dollar store picture frames!

Bindweeds (author)2009-04-20

I love this! If you didn't have a spare plane of glass to cut up, you could go to a dollar store and pick up picture frames. Then you could use the glass for this project, the frame is guaranteed to fit over the top (if you don't mount them in the wood like you did with the hot glue) You could use the extra frames for other projects like making a shadow box, or attach a screen to one and make your own paper. My mind is racing with ideas about what to paint for mine! Like three pieces on one paint a back ground the next a middle ground and the front a foreground...or attach a cut out from a picture of the kids. Hmmm... Thanks for this!

seamster (author)2009-03-27

Love it! Nice effect, with very little cost. I made a Mondrian-based quilt a few years back. After I finished it, I wished I had included a green block just for fun... So I have to ask, did you include green as an ironic jab at Piet? If so, kudos. (Very clever!) Good work. (Here's a pic of that quilt, just for kicks.)

seamster (author)seamster2009-03-28

(He was repelled by the color green. Absolutely HATED it, in fact.) Kind of funny.

ChrysN (author)seamster2009-03-28

That is funny (I didn't know that). I just love the colour green.

ChrysN (author)seamster2009-03-27

I love the quilt!

seamster (author)ChrysN2009-03-28


bulsatar (author)2009-03-26

There is a technique I use in glass etching that works very well for clean lines. After taping the area, use rubber cement and cover the side of the tape where you will be coloring. After the rubber cement dries, rub it off of the glass, there will be enough just under the edge of the tape to seal it off and make a perfectly crisp line. You can do this with paper that has been glued to the surface and then just rinse under water to get all of the glue and paper off, however I don't think that would work for this one :)

ChrysN (author)bulsatar2009-03-27

I did get a bit of paint under the masking tape, I scraped it off with a knife after it dried (the paint I used is easy to peel off), this technique can be useful if you are using other glass paints, thanks!

vanmankline (author)2009-03-26

This reminds me of an Agamograph. Different technique, but similar trick on the eyes. I like it!

Alli_Z (author)2009-03-23

i did one lemon marilyn last year doing this technique its came out pretty sweet i did it in acrylic

maruawe (author)2009-03-20

This is neat! I build one yesterday after I read this. I put mylar on the last piece of glass and as the forward components were transparent the mylar added dimension to the whole thing came out pretty good for the first one that I have made in years . You can light this up by using a piece of frosted glass with lights behind the frosted glass . then enclose the whole thing in a box. usually the interior of the box is painted flat black to avoid reflection. I used to make a box with a mirror in back and a one way mirror on the front to make lighting and 3d type photographs in the middle of the two for the endless look

ChrysN (author)maruawe2009-03-20

Cool, I'd love to see it!

hobbssamuelj (author)2009-03-19

if you're going to copy a piet mondrian painting, at least give credit. regardless, good project.

Squash (author)hobbssamuelj2009-03-19

Wow. Maybe you should read the whole post before you go "postal". This is an awesome idea. Sounds like fun. Bookmarked for later use! Thanks.

ChrysN (author)hobbssamuelj2009-03-19

I mentioned in the intro that it was an imitation Piet Mondrian.

D Jason Payne (author)2009-03-19

This is a cool idea. Although, I wish you had not chosen to recreate a mondrian. I despise his work. When I was in art school, I did a painting in his style for a project. This was because I had waited until last minute to do the project and I was drunk at the time. (Anyone can recreate a Mondrian in 5 minutes) Afterwards, I gave it to my aunt. She then handed it down to her son who hung it above his couch. Now every time I go to my cousin's apartment, I am reminded of how much of a failure I am as a human being. Mondrian's work sucks. And I perpetuated that suckitude by participating in that project. :-( The other ones that you did are much better. The flower is especially nice.

noahw (author)2009-03-18

An artist named Dustin Yellin has perfected this method using resin instead of glass so the structure becomes one solid block at the end. He pours thin layers of resin on top of each other, painting on each layer as he goes, assembling incredible 3D composites out of 2D drawings. Very cool stuff in my opinion, and in person, the effect really takes hold.

Your approach with glass and glass paint/markers is an awesome DIY at home extrapolation of that. Nice work!

ChrysN (author)noahw2009-03-18

Wow, those look really cool!

bowmaster (author)2009-03-18

I have got to do this. I'm thinking of have 3 panes of glass. One for the background, one for the midground, and one for the foreground.

crazycommanche=US= (author)2009-03-18

the return of cubism

John Smith (author)2009-03-18

I did something similar but with plexi. I put them right next to each other, (no gap in between), and it looked kind of cool. This is neater though.

D.A.N (author)2009-03-18

the flowers look good perhaps a flame would look cool aswell

ChrysN (author)D.A.N2009-03-18

That would look really cool!

gmjhowe (author)2009-03-18

A great way to recycle, i love how you saw it, then kept it. The final effects are great, some of those would make great coasters. Also, you could maybe make a picture frame, by having the back layer with a photo, and a few front layers with a fancy border.

ChrysN (author)gmjhowe2009-03-18

Coasters, that's a great idea.

axia (author)2009-03-18

I recently had some glass cut by a professional, and I learned something useful regarding the oil. It may be helpful for someone doing a larger cut to apply the oil with a brush along the line, as it creates a more uniform coat for the wheel.

etlerd (author)axia2009-03-18

I just use my finger to brush the oil along the cut line. Mineral oil works great.

ChrysN (author)etlerd2009-03-18

Thanks for the tip, that's good to know!

Sunbanks (author)2009-03-18

That is awesome :D I really love the flower one too!

About This Instructable




Bio: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and ... More »
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