Copying any Art onto Glass



That right there is a Mark Ryden.  He’s a Pop Surrealist artist from California whose work is often a little less serene than the Fur Girl  you see above.  But for today’s purposes the Fur Girl is a perfect example of what I want to show you even though his Tree Show is more a favourite of mine.

See  how serious I can be when I’m talking about art.  Little Miss. Super Serious.  Because art is serious and meant to be revered and gasped at with a certain solemn nature.  No it isn’t.  Art’s fun. You don’t need to be intimidated by art or artists.  All you need to do is like it or not like it.  And if you don’t like something everyone else thinks you should then that’s their problem.  Place your velvet Holly Hobby next to your Hang in There kitten poster, sit back and admire.

The problem a lot of us face with art is:

Art is expensive and sometimes we get bored with it and want to throw it out the window

Even numbered prints, which really are kind of useless, are expensive and what if you get bored with it? Then you have a $500 photocopy that you resent.

 This is not a $500 photocopy.  It’s a $12 print from the 70’s in a kind of bad old frame.





I got this frame at a local antique mall and I bought it for a few reasons.  It was big, gold, cheap AND it had glass.

And if you want to copy art that’s what you need.


Copying Art onto Glass


A frame with glass.

Dry erase marker

Your imagination OR a piece of art you want to copy

Sketch Me App ($2.29)





As I said you can either decide you’re going to freehand some art onto glass, or you can just copy something really good that you like.  The easiest thing to do is just go to Google Images and type in line drawing.  Picasso and Matisse are famous for simple line drawings that would be easy to copy so you can also Google those.


If there’s a fairly simple piece of art you love (like my Fur Girl) you can Google that in Google images and convert it to a line drawing.  Just download the image, and pull it up in the Sketch Me App.  The app will convert any photo or painting to a line drawing.

Then simply print it out.  I wanted a fairly large image so I increased the size of it, divided it in half and printed it on two different pages.

That’s what you see above.  Mark Ryden’s Fur Girl that’s been run through Sketch Me and then printed on 2 sheets of paper.




Next, tape the image face down onto the FRONT of your glass.  (You’ll be drawing the image onto the back of the glass, not the front because the effect is better and there’s no chance of someone walking by and accidentally rubbing your genuine copied artwork off)





Flip your frame over so it’s right side down on a table.  You’ll be able to see the photocopied artwork underneath.  Incidentally if you want a real representation of the art you’re doing or if your artwork has words/printing you should reverse the image before you print it.   I didn’t bother doing that because my art was fairly symmetrical.  Plus I forgot.


Also as you can see in the picture above, I’ve had to change the position of the  hanging wire.  If the wire was in the position it would normally be, you’d see it behind the glass when the frame is on the wall.  So I’ve moved the wire to the very top of the frame, shortening it and making sure it doesn’t pull above the top of the frame which would make it visible on the wall.


The shot below shows the little nails that are holding the glass into the frame well.  They show a tiny bit when the picture is hung.  It doesn’t bother me, but if you want to make this permanent and get rid of the nails just pull the nails out and carefully run a bead of silicone along the edge of the glass adhering it to the frame (on the back of the frame  not the front).



Now the EXTREMELY fun part.  Take your dry erase marker and just trace the line drawing onto the glass.  I swear to God you’ll feel like you’re the one who actually created this artwork.  You will be proud and you may call in neighbours, the letter carrier, people just driving by to see what you’ve done.





Every once in a while pull the paper back to make sure you’ve copied all the lines.  When you’re done just pull the paper off completely.




Now you hang it.




The look works best on a white wall, but it’ll work on any coloured wall.  Wallpaper might be a bit of a problem depending on how busy it is.

The best part is you can change it seasonally and if you get sick of it you don’t have to throw it out the window risking injury.  To your bedding plants.  You just have to take the “painting” off of the wall, wipe it off with a paper towel and some glass cleaner and do something else.

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  1. Emily says:

    Black sharpie/permanent marker looks great on glass, and clean off really easily with either a wet rag or, if stubborn, rubbing alchohol or vodka.

  2. kristen says:

    Thanks for the great idea. I had seen a silhouette of a deer. Now my version is hanging on our living room wall! Now I’m on the lookout for something that will work for my office.

  3. Denise Weiss says:

    I finally found a project that I would love to do that doesn’t involve metal. Now, I just need to find the time. Congratulations on a perfect blog. Xo!

    • Karen says:

      A perfect blog?! Well thanks. Yeah, it’s a fun easy project that has big results. Which is kindda perfect now that I think about it. ;) ~ karen!

      • Denise Weiss says:

        Karen, this project is perfect for me because I love art, love to work with my hands and own two Victorian frames that are sitting in the corner of my studio in need of art. I found this well-written and easy to follow. I am a visual learner so the photos are a big help. Xo! And thank you for the kind reply.

  4. jBess says:

    Glaziers points work great for replacing those pesky nails too! And stick out less.

  5. Tracie says:

    Love it.

  6. Mindy says:

    Fur baby creeps me the eff out. But I’m diggin the concept. Maybe if it was just hair and no beard. That’s the cool thing about art, though, isn’t it? One person’s bearded lady is another person’s Sasquatch.

    • Karen says:

      ha! true. (dat.) ~ karen!

    • Kim from Milwaukee says:

      Fur baby reminds me of Cousin It from the Addam’s Family…I kinda like her. His other works not so much though. I might use this technique to copy Karen’s line drawing lady picture, though, I love that.

  7. Laurie says:

    Well, I’m no artist but you would be welcome to use my paintings if I could upload them. I agree, if it is reproduced for profit it is an infringement but come on, people make things for the house all the time. Have you never mogpoged cuttings from magazines?

  8. Tj says:

    Lazy Susan, when you say “world”, you mean the USA. That is a common misnomer – maybe even more common than copyright infringement. Please don’t peruse the ridiculousness of this topic. It is so incredibly dull – and so American (and by that, I am referring to those residing in the USA).

    • Karol says:

      dang, that took a rude turn. really?

    • LazySusan says:

      This snippet is from the United States government copyright office: “Is my copyright good in other countries?
      The United States has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, we honor each other’s citizens’ copyrights. However, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country. For a listing of countries and the nature of their copyright relations with the United States, see Circular 38a, International Copyright Relations of the United States.”

      So, you’re correct that it does not flow everywhere in the world, but the copyright protection applies in most countries. That said, I wasn’t using the term “world” literally, it was being used figuratively, but it also wasn’t meant to exclude countries outside the USA.

  9. Liz says:

    this is so great!! I want to do this for Picasso’s line drawing of Francoise Gilot :) How do you think it would go with a grease pencil or other kind of pen?

  10. Regena Fickes says:

    Despite the pros and cons so liberally voiced, I like it and I will be doing it. Thanks for the idea!

  11. Mumo3kids says:

    Thank you LazySusan, that’s what I wanted to get across, with no animosity toward Karen (she knows I’m a fan!!).

  12. LazySusan says:

    It’s a great technique for creating something unique for a wall! And there’s apparently a misunderstanding about artistic copyright out there in the world. When anyone creates an original, by the mere creation of it, a copyright for it is born. That copyright precludes anyone from reproducing or copying the artistic work in any manner without the permission of the originator. There are “fair use” exceptions, but personal use is not a fair use exception. Pointing this out isn’t making an issue of it, it’s enlightening those who are unfamiliar with artistic copyright. Without the artist’s permission, it is copyright infringement to copy their art. Almost every living artist, or for those deceased, their representative, can be reached via the internet. Please allow them, as the originator, the courtesy of deciding for themselves whether they mind using their original. Send them an email and request permission to copy their art. Explain the method you want to use, where the piece will go (gift, your own wall, etc.), whether it will ever or could be sold (the recipient dies, the item gets sold by the heirs), and request the originators permission. Most of them will likely agree. Mark the item on the back with a note that it’s a copy of so and so’s art, and the name of the art, and that’s it’s done with permission and not for resale. Or there are thousands of royalty free or creative commons licensed images available to copy for personal use. Just do a Google search for creative commons and/or royalty free images, and then check the actual license terms to see what can be done with the image. Most allow personal use. By the way, an argument could be made that since the tracing of this artwork, even though for personal use in your own home, because it was used on a website that is a money-making endeavor for you, that it was reproduced for commercial use. This isn’t said in a way to blame or shame, more as a way of opening up thinking about it. I love your blog, and admire you as a person, Karen. And I think there’s a misunderstanding of artistic copyright our there among bloggers and the general public, and being informed about it is better than not.

  13. janpartist says:

    Kinda creepy

  14. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    This is great I have to go looking for a nice frame with glass..I LOVE surrealism and Ryden is amazing..

  15. Jordan says:

    Wow – that was easy! That seems like a great, quick way to update the walls of your home.

  16. Katie Schneider says:

    In my college drawing class, one of the assignments was to essentially do this (with dry-erase, even) to your own reflection while looking in a mirror: a self portrait! Then we had to trace onto tracing paper to make a permanent copy. I still have mine–turned out pretty cool.

  17. Louise says:

    Another brilliant project from Karen – what a fun thing to do!

    But I looked up Mark Ryden’s art, and whoa! Something about it would give me nightmares – shudder!

  18. Lisa says:

    I just had an idea to trace some old family photographs on to glass. And maybe paint them! What a great idea!

  19. JMC says:

    Google’s free photo software Picasa has a pencil sketch filter that you could use. Scan the print as a jpeg and then apply the filter and print.

    • JMC says:

      And of course because I’m on the other side of the continent and have only had one coffee it just occurred to me that I could turn one of my own photos into a sketch and then do this project! Off to the thrift store… wait it’s not even 7am off to drink more coffee!

  20. Mary Werner says:

    Was there a full moon last night?

  21. Patti says:

    Great idea Karen! Side note, where’d you get that necklace? I’ve been wanting one like that with my initial but haven’t been able to find it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Patti! My mother got it for me for my birthday. She’d been searching for one for me since I went on and on about the one Portia DeRossi was wearing once. She got it at The One of a Kind Show in Toronto, but it’s from the Etsy Shop Zippan I was going to link to it in a post ages ago but they don’t seem to sell them anymore. However she handmakes stuff so I’m sure she’d make you one. (mine has my initial!) ~ karen

  22. laura n says:

    Cool. Looks fun. Love line drawings.

  23. Ev Wilcox says:

    Nice! Will try it. Thanks Karen! For the nay-sayers: If you don’t like it, don’t do it!

  24. Tigersmom says:

    I, too, agree with Juliet and Su. It’s not as though you are reproducing exact copies of the work for profit. If some are still seriously bothered with the idea of it, the idea still works to make an art piece out of an image that they themselves take a photo of or any of the thousands of works that are now public domain. A true artist doesn’t paint or draw for the money of it. It is done out of a need to create and to document, in a way, their creativity.

    I consider myself to be a bit of an artist and if someone did this with one of my works because they loved it and couldn’t purchase it, I wouldn’t be bothered as long as they weren’t selling it. I recently closed a business I started selling my work because the work I was producing when there was a financial goal present was not what I enjoyed doing and seemed contrived and I eventually grew to hate it. When I create out of the simple desire to create, I find that I don’t get sick of my pieces and they are soooooo much better.

    I did small versions of something like this with pen and ink in an art class when I was young. I used grasscloth wallpaper as a backing in the picture frames. Handy if your wall needs to be covered in a particular spot or if your frame is a picture frame and needs the backing to stand. White foam board will also work as a backing, but it is not as easy to change out your artwork and you lose the cool effect of the wall showing behind it. Cool project.

  25. Adrienne in Atlanta says:

    Agreed Juliet and Su,

    Some artists are Metallica, and some are the Dave Matthews Band.

  26. Adrienne in Atlanta says:

    Oy vey, guys. Way to suck the fun out of a concept.

    Karen isn’t suggesting we all make and then sell these, which might then be a copyright infringement. Using a favorite image to inspire your own art project at home for your own wall and your own enjoyment isn’t cause for controversy.

  27. Su says:

    I’m with Juliet – it’s dry erase marker!! not like you are selling it or anything….. it’s a fun and simple project to change things ups a bit…. and I love the frame!

  28. Jen says:

    Ha! That exact 70’s print hung in our living room for years. Ah, memories….

  29. Juliet says:

    I think this is fun and really cool! And it’s DRY ERASE MARKER for goodness sake?!? Flattery? Yes. Copyright issue? No! Thanks again for helping me think outside of the box!!

  30. Anna says:

    Great article…definitely going to try this process. BTW, Mark Ryden is from my neck of the woods: Medford, Oregon!

  31. Mumo3kids says:

    I don’t want to be negative or controversial Karen, and I feel uncomfortable saying it, but have you asked Mark Ryden what he thinks?
    Copyright is a tricky area…

    • Karen says:

      I’m pretty sure he’d be O.K. with it, lol. I’m not representing it as mine, it’s barely even recognizable as his original art, it’s not for profit and (normally) would only seen by the 12 different people who visit my house every year. Also, there are hundreds of people right now walking around with exact copies of Mark Ryden work tattooed onto their bodies and he hasn’t taken issue with that. So i think we’re pretty safe here. ~ karen!

  32. Jcorn says:

    I’m late coming to the storing plastic bags post so I’m adding a side note about that. Do a search for Spectrum 33170 Wire Plastic Bag Recycler, Chrome. We don’t have this one but a variation made of plastic which could easily be hand made.

    It doesn’t really matter how you pull out the bags-top, middle, bottom -because you’ll still get only one at a time. The secret is the holes. If they are the right size you’ll easily grab a bag and yet the others will stay neatly contained inside. We don’t hang ours. It stays on the floor of the pantry.

  33. Monica says:

    If you pop a piece of white cardstock or matte board the same size as the glass into the frame , you could hang it anywhere without distracting wallpaper (or ugly nail holes, which is what a lot of my hung art is hiding).
    I worked through a learning-to-draw book years ago (can’t remember the title) that suggested holding a piece of glass up to a landscape or still life scene and tracing it in marker, just to help your brain learn how to translate complex shapes and dimensions into two dimensional lines. :)

  34. Sherry says:

    Karen a numbered print should not be a photocopy. It should be a print made from the same plate, stone or silk screen. They are all original – just subsequent printings. If it is a photocopy – showing pixels when magnified – it’s a fake. And those ARE worthless. If the original was a photo and there are edition numbers, it’s supposed to mean that there are a limited number printed from the original negative… When you get to digital… I don’t know how that works…… And that’s what I have to say about that.

    • Meg says:

      Digital is often printed in what’s called a ‘giclée’ print. Still numbered, often, because the artist reproduces them in a finite number. That’s a fancy inkjet print on paper or canvas. A good one is definitely worth the price for a print. I would wager most prints are *not* hand re-pressed or photographed anymore. A photographic print of something like a painting is not an original work of art in the sense it’s not an oil painting, anyway.

      I would also like to respectfully disagree that art, even photocopied, is worthless if you like looking at it. It may just not be worth money.

      • Sherry says:

        Worthless was too strong a word. Anything is valuable to someone who loves it.

        If the artist is honest, subsequent prints are from the original source.

        • Meg says:

          Yes, of course they’re from the original source.

          But I think you misunderstand me: some media types like like oil paintings can not be “printed” except by photographing them and printing the result either via traditional photography or digital photography. And in the era where film has transferred to the digital realm, most prints are digitally photographed and printed, and now that’s often inkjet printers.

      • Karen says:

        I’m talking about money in this case. Obviously if I say that if someone wants to hang a Hang in there Kitten poster I advocate buying what you like no matter what an art snob has to say about it. I’m talking about money when I say worthless. Original art is an investment. Numbered prints are not. ~ karen

    • Karen says:

      Hey Sherry – I’m using photocopy loosely. A print of an original painting is not the painting and isn’t going to increase in value the way art is. People buy art as an investment. A print is not an investment. ~ karen!

      • I love this blog. I’ve done stuff from this blog. I’m moving soon and have been pinteresting the heck out of this blog! I’m a printmaker, and just wanted to clarify that you mean prints of art (giclee or otherwise of paintings, etc) are not an investment… but original prints, which are numbered are indeed an investment, as they are original works of art. In our digital age, the word ‘print’ gets tossed around liberally and can mean very different things.

  35. Jean thomson says:

    I think this is a fabulous idea! How did you ever come up with it?! Can’t wait to give it a try!

  36. Edith says:

    Hmmm. I have several frames and I’ve always wanted Picasso’s Dachshund line drawing and there is space remaining on my gallery wall. I’ll be “doing art stuff” soon!

  37. Linda says:

    I love the idea. Similar to placing tissue paper to a window and tracing the view outdoors.

  38. Auntiepatch says:

    Interesting. I’m not sure my husband, an artist, will agree with you though.

  39. Nancy C says:

    This is an interesting concept. Thank you for sharing.

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