The art of making lithophanes is about 200 years old. It consists of etching an image in very thin translucent porcelain and use a light behind it to make the art visible. Historians claim that the idea originated from China, a thousand years ago or even longer. It used to be a manual process with, admittedly, stellar results. It made (and still makes) for great personal gifts.

With the growing popularity of 3D printing we have seen an increase of lithophanes posted on social media. The treshold is lower to start making one and the results can be amazing. Mind you, it still takes some skill to make them truly astonishing. Below are a few of the examples we have seen over the past few years. A special shout-out to Steve McGarr from Carlow, Ireland who has been posted quite a few and offers the designs in his Gadunky webshop. You should definitely check his work out and get his amazing designs.

Not only do our all-round PLA Economy White and PLA/PHA Standard White give great results, as you can see below our users have made lithophanes with nGen and colorFabb_XT as well!




One thing has not changed since the early days: creating lithophanes is still a craft and it takes some skills to make it look great! You can easily click on the images above to go straight to the orignal posts made on social media.

All the mentioned materials are available in our webshop and ship daily, worldwide and from stock. Find out more about the filaments and their properties here:

Our print team is currently working on some prints as well. Stay tuned for more from our print lab.