How To Make 3D Glass Painting: A Step-By-Step Guide For Beginners

Finished 3D anime glass painting - Image by Draw Ninja KC

Finished 3D anime glass painting - Image by Draw Ninja KC 

Glass painting shows you how to work with color, composition, and perspective in a controlled environment. These are valuable skills that not only make this craft an enjoyable endeavor but also transfer over into all forms of art-making, from photography to collage.

To create a 3D glass painting, prepare your reference image and tape the glass to the printout. Work on the details of your foreground painting, then outline it using black paint pens. Next, work on the background image, then seal it with Mod Podge before assembling it into a frame.

Read on to learn more about 3D glass painting and the different techniques you can try.

What You'll Need

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Prepare your reference image

Print your reference on paper larger than your frame. Tape the glass to the image. Be sure to mark the edges, so your next layer fits into the foreground image.

2. Work on the foreground on a glass pane

Paint the details first using a fine-point brush before adding more colors to the back of the glass painting. 

3. Paint the outline using paint pens

Outline your drawing using paint pens. You need to add two layers of the black paint pen before working on the next layer for your anime painting.

4. Work on the background

Tape your background glass to the reference image, then tape it. Fit the second glass into the markers you made earlier.

You may use a regular paintbrush or an airbrush to add the background. For this particular example, the artist added an airbrushed image to have a halo effect on the foreground image.

5. Seal the painting with Mod Podge

Add two or more layers of Mod Podge to the back of the background image to seal it. Let the Mod Podge dry between layers before adding another layer.

6. Assemble the frame

To assemble, lay the foreground image first into the frame. Set it with hot glue to prevent it from wobbling.

Lay the background image over the foreground image, then repeat with the hot glue sealing.

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3D Glass Painting Variations

Lighted 3D Glass Painting

Lighted 3D painting of fishes and seaweeds - Image by Glass Painting

Lighted 3D painting of fishes and seaweeds - Image by Glass Painting 

To create lighted 3D glass paintings using multiple layers of glass, start with a frame that will give depth to your artwork. The extra space within your frame will let you add the light - you can use LED or fairy lights. With the right tools, you can explore the world of arts and give life to your imagination.

What You'll Need


  1. Separate your reference image into layers, then print them separately.
  2. Tape the glass to the reference image.
  3. Fill a needle-tip glue applicator with black acrylic paint or whatever paint you want to use as the outline.
  4. After outlining, fill in with more paint using a thin paintbrush. Repeat steps 2-4 for the subsequent glass panes.
  5. Assemble the frame by gluing the shadow box and the wooden frame. 
  6. Place a glass pane at the bottom of the frame to protect the painting from dust and moisture.
  7. Add enough clear cabinet bumpers around the protective glass to separate it from the glass painting.
  8. Lay the glass painting from the foreground to the background painting, then add a colored acrylic pane to the back.
  9. Arrange the LED strip around the frame.
  10. Add a silver cardstock for more reflection, then the regular backing for the frame. Connect your LED light to the power source and see its magic.

3D Painting on Layered Glasses

Layered painting of Iron Man - Image by DP Art Drawing

Layered painting of Iron Man - Image by DP Art Drawing

This technique is a lot trickier than the usual glass painting, as you can't see the whole image until you have layered everything together. 

Position the glass on top of the other using the same distance you want during the framing process. Otherwise, you won't get the desired effect. Ask for feedback from artists or art critics you respect to improve your 3D glass art.

What You'll Need


  1. Clean the glass panes using rubbing alcohol and a paper towel.
  2. Place a sheet of clean paper under the first glass pane. Draw the details you want on this layer.
  3. Add a wooden block at the top and bottom of the 1st glass layer, then place the 2nd glass pane over it. Be sure that the wooden blocks you use are of the same height to keep the painting level.
  4. Add more details on the second glass pane.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the rest of the glass panes.
  6. To frame the glass painting, you can use a wooden frame with slots to hold the glass panes or use a glass frame with slots to sit your artwork in it.
  7. Slide the 1st layer to the lowest part of the frame (if assembling it horizontally) or to the backmost slot if assembling it vertically.

3D Painting on Perspex Acrylic

3D painting of a Koi fish - Image by 3D Goldfish Art

3D painting of a Koi fish - Image by 3D Goldfish Art

Perspex acrylic is stronger than glass, and you can use it for your glass painting too. You may need extra effort on this artwork to recreate images that will wow every customer you get. 

Once you get better with your art, you can build a website to sell your pieces online. You'll be amazed at the number of emails in your inbox asking for commissioned art.

What You'll Need


  1. Cut your Perspex acrylic to the size you want.
  2. Draw or print your reference image. For this particular example, the artist drew and cut the image for easier outlining.
  3. Draw the first layer on the Perspex after using the cut-out drawing for the outline. Let it dry.
  4. Place the next Perspex acrylic over the 1st, then clip it together to keep it from moving. Add more details to your painting. Let it dry.
  5. Repeat step 4 for the 3rd Perspex acrylic.
  6. Cut the pieces to size for the framing you want to use. To assemble, place the 1st Perspex pane on the bottom, followed by the second and third panes.

3D Painting Using Spray Paint

3D painting of a woman's portrait - Image by Sara Sandoval Art

3D painting of a woman's portrait - Image by Sara Sandoval Art 

This technique uses spray paint and a stencil cut out from the reference image. To deliver the best results, choose images that are not too complicated. 

Check out the website of your favorite glass painter for inspiration, or visit free vector sites where you can download some free pictures.

What You'll Need


  1. Clean your glass panes by adding a few sprays of rubbing alcohol and then wiping them down with a paper towel.
  2. Print your reference image according to the number of layers you want to use.
  3. Cut out the images using a craft knife. Identify which goes to which layer and label them.
  4. To work on the first layer, add the stencil and spray some paint on it. Set aside.
  5. Work on the second layer using the appropriate image, then spray and let dry.
  6. Repeat this process on the subsequent layers.
  7. To assemble, place your glass painting on top of each other, starting with the first layer you made until the last.


3D glass painting is a creative way to get people's attention and promote your business. We hope this article helped you if you wish to create a glass painting for yourself. 

We love hearing from our readers who did exciting projects inspired by our blogs. Let us know what art you did today!

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