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Yarn wrapping can be one of the easiest crafts there is, but some shapes are harder to wrap than others - much harder.

The alphabet has some easy ones (like "I") and it has some really hard ones (Like "B") but you can give yourself an edge with your 3D printer. But how?

This is a tutorial on how to engineer your yarn wrapping templates for the best results.

Your 3D printer is a silent hero in all of this, it lets you make consistent shapes with helpful features around the parameter to guide your yarn. Your finished product leaves little trace the 3D printer was even involved - but it makes yarn wrapping projects that would otherwise be very difficult, easy enough for even the newest beginner.

What you'll need:

  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • A 3D printer
  • Some type of CAD

Step 1: Engineer the Letter Templates

There are several difficulties with making templates the old fashioned way (cardboard)

The first is that letter with curves are hard to cut out. Most other step by steps will admit this. That issue just vanishes when you use a 3D printer or other digital manufacturing means.

The next problem with shapes is that the yarn doesn't like to stay where it is, it moves around - so the first feature we're going to build into our templates is little notches. These notches (0.1" dia ) help the most around radii (like on the S) but they also help at the ends of strait sections to keep the yarn from slipping off the end (like on the N).

Another major problem is that yarn tends to bunch up on inside corners (like the N). To combat this we're going to build in some 'relief holes' The relief holes allow for the yarn to have somewhere to go so there isn't a giant bulge at that spot when you're finished.

Step 2: 3D Print the Templaes

One of the benefits of using your 3D printer on a project like this is that you are capitalizing on the 3D printers strengths while avoiding its biggest draw back (it's slow) the flatness of the templates means they print out in minutes.

Step 3: Wrap Yarn Around Template (easy One)

For this letter "I" you might be wondering 'why bother'

If every letter like this, I would agree. The notches at the ends of this piece do keep the yarn from slipping off the ends but otherwise this shape is pretty easy with or without the 3D printed templates.

Step 4: Wrap Yarn Around Template (Medium Hardness)

On shapes with like "S" or "C" the advantage of the notches becomes a little more apparent.

Step 5: Wrap Yarn Around Templates (Hardest)

On shapes like N and R. The features that have been designed into the templates become a huge time saver and greatly reduces the skill threshold required for the craft.

Step 6: Don't Let Your Cats Get Them

Step 7: Put Your Yarn Letters (or Whatever Shape You've Made) to Use

This technique has a lot of upfront work that may not pay off with just one project.

I see this as a great way for a teacher to make yarn wrapping templates (shapes, letters) that can be made for a an entire class or any other situation where someone with more experience is making the templates for someone with less experience.

If you just need a giant square just stick to cardboard.

I like this project! My cats would be all over this "trying to help me". What kind of 3D printer do you have?
<p>Makerbot Replicator 2X</p>

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