3D Printed Lithophane Art

3d printed white lithophane lying face up on desk

TtM lithophane lit from the front

Original Image for 3d printed lithophone, screenshot from Stardew Valley Video game of a moon and lighthouse

Original art by Freebird Games


3D printed lithophanes are very cool ways to turn 2D images into 3D objects using a regular 3D printer. They make for fun art decoration and unique gifts as any image which looks good in black & white can be used. I love the game To the Moon, so I made a lithophane at the design lab out of a game poster card. My inspiration came from a reddit post where a user made a similar lithophane using a card from Stardew Valley.


How I made this:


A lithophane is a thin plaque of translucent material, which has been molded to varying thickness, such that when lit from behind the different thicknesses show as different shades, forming an image.


There are a few different lithophane model generators online. I used https://3dp.rocks/lithophane/

- Upload image under “Images” (image must work as black-white image)

- Choose “Outer Curve” under model

Under Settings -> Image settings:

- choose “Positive Image” (important)

Under Settings -> Model settings:

- Max size: choose somewhere between 100 and 200 (200 is huge imo)

- Thickness 3mm (impacts how much light needed)

- Border: 4mm (up to you, none if you want no border)

- If you don’t want curve: set curve to 1. See preview on site for more info


Print the lithophane standing up.

In your slicer, set the quality to a high quality (like 0.15mm layer height or less).

Set the infill to 100%. Setting it lower won't change anything anyways, and it is made to be translucent.

Make sure a brim (or raft) is added so it doesn't fall while printing. Adhesion is important. Mine has fallen over before.

Do not add supports.

White filament works best because darker colors do not let light through and the effect will not work.


Printing it standing up means there are more shades of gray the printer can print, because printers have higher resolution/quality in the x/y direction than z (up-down). Make sure the print does not fall over if you don’t make it curved, and assert that the bed is level.

3d printer printing a white model

3d printer in action

This lithophane was printed standing up on the short edge, but I have also printed one standing on the long edge. I can't tell if there's a quality difference. Printing it laying down will look terrible however. A staff member printed one laying down flat after I left and it was bad. But print failures are to be expected, and it will likely take a number of tries to get a clean print (this one took me four tries). Shout out to Erica for her advice! I did most of my research for this project by searching on google and reading forums + watching youtube videos.