Tutorial on How to Add Glitter to a Picture

Updated April 17, 2017

Glitter can be applied to any kind of picture--a photograph, a drawing, a painting or a print. In a tutorial from Martha Stewart Living magazine, glitter is applied over an entire photograph, in a technique referred to as "glitter painting." Glitter can also be used sparingly, as a highlight or a graphic element. How you choose to use glitter in a picture is limited only by your vision and imagination.

Preparing the Picture

In the Martha Stewart technique, the photograph is first converted into a simplified image with flat areas of colour. This can be done with her free online photo-conversion tool, or if you're handy with photo editing software, you can achieve a similar effect by using the "posterize" filter. Once you've prepared your photograph, print it on your printer or have it printed at a lab. If your photograph is on heavyweight photo paper, you can apply the glitter right away. If you are using ink jet or laser paper, it's best to first mount your picture on a wood painting panel or illustration board. Use paper glue to attach the picture to the mounting surface.

If you are applying glitter to selected areas of your picture, no preparation is necessary.

Adding Glitter

To adhere the glitter, fill a fine-tipped plastic squeeze bottle with craft glue. You'll use this bottle like a paint brush. Even if your glue comes in its own squeeze bottle, it's best to use a fine-tipped bottle to get precise details. These bottles are available inexpensively at craft supply stores. Purchase glitter in the colours you wish you use. Just like paint, glitter can be mixed to create new colours.

Create a glitter "palette" out of paper cupcake liners, with a small amount of glitter in each liner. Set aside extra cupcake liners for creating your mixed colours. Working on a flat surface, apply the glue to your picture using the plastic squeeze bottle. For large areas, it's easiest to draw an outline around the area with the glue then fill it in. Sprinkle the glitter over the glue soon after it's applied, before it has a chance to dry. Sprinkle the glitter with your fingers or pour the glitter directly from the cupcake liner. Once you've applied the glitter, carefully lift the picture up and hold it perpendicular to your work surface. Gently tap the edge of the picture to remove any loose glitter. Save this glitter for later use. The glue will flatten out once it has dried.

If you don't want to "paint" the entire picture with glitter, try applying it to small areas to create shimmering effects. Add dots of silver holiday "snow" to photographs of winter trees. Convert a picture to a greeting card by writing the text in glue and covering it with glitter. Use glitter as a painter would, to add highlights to a picture. Do this by dabbing bits of glue on the lightest areas of the picture. Cover these areas with glitter in a matching colour.

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About the Author

Fleur Forsythe writes about the arts, crafts, cooking, entertaining, travel and DIY home design. She began writing professionally in 1996. She is also an artist whose art, crafts and photography have been licensed commercially and exhibited for 17 years. She holds a B.A. in art history and studio art from New York University. Her articles can be found on eHow, Answerbag and Trails.