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.

[shareaholic app=”share_buttons” id=”5342563″]


  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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The Art of Doing Stuff