Transparency Art




About: I have had a few careers so far, soldier, school teacher, arborist, millwright. I love change and I love learning.

My first thought was to try to make pictures of my kids that looked like old Disney animation cells. This just ended up happening instead so I will have to post an animation cell instructable later.

This is really easy and does not take a lot of time unless you do the glass etching I did.

Please check out my other instructables and I also have a diy podcast called

Step 1: The Picture

I just found a great picture of my kids and opened it up with photo-shop. I chose one with a plain background to give the picture more depth and clarity.

click filter, stylize, photocopy. Play with the levels a bit until you are happy and voila! It's that easy.

Step 2: The Frame

I just bought a cheap frame from Wal-mart. I think I paid about $2 for it. I marked a rectangle in the wood back by measuring in from all sides an equal amount. You can do it any size you want. Cut out the rectangle with a jigsaw or whatever works that you have on hand. I spray-painted mine black but any color that goes with your decor is cool.

Step 3: Mounting the Image

Print out your image onto a transparency. Place it onto the back (non painted) side of the frame so it lines up how you like it. I just used masking tape to hold it in place.

Now find a cool place to hang it. Try a wall with some texture to it so it shows through the frame.

Don't hang it in a high traffic area unless you enjoy explaining to people how you did it.

Step 4: Bonus Points

I thought I would go the extra mile and put some text onto the glass via a chemical etch. I just printed out the text in a cool font on a mailing label. After about an hour of carefully cutting and peeling with an exacto-knife, I had a stencil. Apply a glass etching solution available from craft stores. Wait about 20 minutes (read your bottle to be sure) and wash off. Peel the paper and you have an awsome addition to your cool art.



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    12 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Dang it!
    1 day after mothers day I see this great instructable.
    Well, there are birthdays, X-mas.....
    Love it!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    great intructable, just a note that the photocopy is under sketch not stylize.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    hey ,can i ask? what did you use to stick the frame into the glass? what is that called? thanks!

    3 replies
    dave spencerDomengik

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    they are just the spring clips that came with the frame. I don't know if they have a technical name or not.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I do something similar to your etching but I use a dremel tool with a diamond bit and carve into the glass. You can add more texture this way by changing the depth of the cut. I usually use thicker glass than regular pane glass. I also carve on the backside instead of the front.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    You can get a denser image and more saturated colors by sandwiching two prints together. Also printing color images and hanging on a window can give a nice stain-glass effect.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Gimp users: Filters>Artistic>Photocopy. Great idea. I might just do something like this for mother's day next year.