Add a Lithopane to Student TinkerCAD Projects (Works on a Chromebook!)

This is a great extension to student TinkerCAD projects! Kids are blown away by the example lithophanes that I have printed and really enjoy designing their own.

What is a lithophane? This is an object that looks like a picture when a light shines through it. 

How to make your own!

The process is really simple. There are many online lithopane generators but a great one is After you upload the photo that you want to use, the controls are pretty simple and easy to figure out. 

The first step in getting a lithophane in tinkercad is to choose the right image. I am using the photograph of my great-great grandpa, Johannes Pehrson. He put the “John” in Johnson.

Make sure you choose a picture that has contrast and not a lot of noise in the background. Use the upload tab to upload your picture. 

I did not need to adjust anything in the “Edit” tab.

The “Model” tab is where all the action happens.  Notice a few things (Circled below)

Shape Tool

The “Shape” can be set to all of these options:

I will adjust my project to “Arc” and include it on a cylinder. The options will let you adjust how far around a circle the arc should extend. 

Next, we need to get the lithophane to TinkerCAD

Reduce the lithophane file size before importing into TinkerCAD

The final thing to adjust is the resolution. If the file is too large, Tinkercad will reject it. The limits on uploads are 25MB and 300,000 polygon surfaces. 



Download the image:

Next: Import the lithophane into into TinkerCAD

You need to import the lithophane into tinkercad here

That is how you get a lithophane into TinkerCAD.

Do you work with students in a makerspace or STEM Lab?

I started the Creators Co-op because I could buy materials for my students in bulk for much, much less than retail price. The bulk discount is available to other teachers and Co-op members. I run this because I want to help more students to be able to learn how to create with affordable supplies. 

Sponsors are needed to make it work

Sponsoring the Creators Co-op and Puzzle Shift Create will help bring more materials to the Co-op and help develop the Innovative Arts curriculum. Without sponsors, none of this would be possible. Learn more here. 

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