Lithophanes are amazing

I made my first lithophane in Aspire today. Carved it into a 5x7x.25 piece of candlestone using a 2mm ball nose for the roughing and a 3/64 ball nose for the detail pass. The total cut time was 5.5 hours

Here is the Aspire toolpath preview:

Here is the unlighted final piece:

And the backlit image

I made a light frame and used a string of LED lights inside. But the frame was only 3/4 inch thick with a 1/2 inch pocket for the lights and a 1/4 inch lip for the candlestone to sit on. But either the LEDs are too bright or I need more distance between them and the back of the picture. Because I am seeing the LEDs as little bright blobs. The picture I have in this post has the picture sitting an extra 1/4 inch high and I can still see the LED’s a bit. I may need some type of diffuser. Any advice would be appreciated.


Very nice!

I make my boxes/frames about 2 inches thick to get the best lighting. I also put a white piece of paper on the inside back of the frame to reflect the light making it more even.

Maybe this will give you an idea. I made a thin frame with a light difusser panel.

John Champlain

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Making a diffuser is a great idea. Thanks for sharing

You can use glacier white corian,it is almost exactly like candlestone


I started with thrift shop and habit for humanity re-stores for corian counter tops and cut out the sizes I needed. Perhaps you can find similar thrifty options in Canada. Good luck!

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I read somewhere about people using PVC pipe…heating it, flattening it…and then using that to do lithophanes with. It seemed to work for them…may be a cheap alternative…

Here is a link to one done with PVC…

For lighting, I find this pictured light frame to be exactly right. You can either mount the final lithophane inside it (with a little trimming of the edges), or tear it apart and use the lighting mechanism in your own custom-cut frame.

I bought several of these frames so when I cut lithophanes for presents, I have them on hand.
BTW, the detail on your cut looks awesome!

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Thank you for that link. The frame looks perfect for displaying the lithophane.

Is the back light bright enough and what type of light does it have? Is it powered by a battery.?

It’s just about exactly right for the lithophane, it plugs into the wall and can be displayed horizontally or vertically. The light source is an LED strip that shines up through a plastic panel that has a diffuser sheet over it.
Here’s one I did and how it looks mounted: First lithophane

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That looks really nice, did you need to modify the frame to accept the thicker lithophane material?

Surprisingly, no - I trimmed the edge of the lithophane enough so the entire thing fit into the frame without modification. I think the plastic that came in the frame was about 3/16" thick, and cutting the edge of the lithophane to that size let it mount securely with no glue or adjusting of the frame, other than taking out the clear plastic

I just did this one In Memory of Taz I did a Lithophane of her in corian with out lighting and with lighting 9/13/2016

Used a 1/8 bit ball nose for the roughing and a 1/16 ball nose for the finish pass


How are you backlighting yours? is where i got the lighting from

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Try this link, maybe some handy software you can find.

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