Introduction: Biplane 3D Puzzle Earrings

Are puzzles too easy?

How about 3D puzzles?

Ridiculously tiny 3D puzzles?... now we're talking!

Ridiculously tiny wearable 3D puzzles... You've come to the right place!

This instructable is meant to be a gateway project to inspire progressively harder and more ambitious projects. Follow along but keep in mind the endless possibilities for new designs as you go. If you create something yourself, please share in the comments. I'd love to see your work and hope we can inspire one another! Now, let's go through the steps to make the awesome, 3D puzzle biplane earrings.

Step 1: Gather Materials

  1. Heavy card stock
  2. Cutting tool (I used a Silhouette Cameo electronic cutting tool with the cutting mat. If you're patient and steady handed you may be able to get away with using an Exacto knife)
  3. Jump rings
  4. Fish hook earrings
  5. Tweezers
  6. Needle nose pliers

Step 2: The Template and the Plan

Originally, I had targeted a T-Rex 3-D puzzle for this project and had varying levels of success.... and failure. I did manage to assemble a ridiculously tiny T-rex, but it was more necklace size than earring size. In trying to scale down that little bit more, the cutter struggled, my eyesight strained and it became pretty flimsy. I may try again as I refine my technique but for now, a simpler design to test out the concept.

I started my search again for 3D puzzle templates that would be more suited for this project. I found some good options through traditional google search and set my eyes on the biplane. The template I used can be found here:

Many thanks to "DIY Home Projects Range by Martin Reid at Forrest Joinery" where I found this particular template. While you're there check out the rest of his site! He has some more templates that may be inspiration for projects to come.

Step 3: Cut

Using the Silhouette Cameo:

Hardware Set-up

  1. Plug in your Cameo to power and connect the USB to your computer
  2. Power on the Cameo
  3. Adjust the ratchet blade to a "7"
    1. use the blade adjustment tool and twist to point the arrow at "7"
    2. Insert the blade into the carrier
    3. Turn the blue knob to lock the blade into place
  4. Place card stock onto cutting mat
    1. smooth the paper down so there are no bubbles and so it is secure in place
  5. Feed the cutting mat into the cameo
    1. hold the mat close to the rollers
    2. use the arrows to select "load cutting mat"
    3. Press enter and the machine will feed the cutting mat in

Software Set-up

  1. Save the biplane model as a .png or .jpg
  2. Open up the Silhouette Studio software
    1. File -- open -- select the biplane .png
    2. Shrink the template to your desired size. I made the height 1", which in this template meant the wing span would be just shy of 1". That scale worked well for earrings.
  3. Set-up the software to cut out the pieces
    1. Enter the "Trace" Menu
    2. Click the "Select Trace Area" Button
    3. Click and Drag a trace box around the entire biplane design
    4. Play with the trace settings until you are happy with the yellow outline defined. Make sure slits are maintained because you'll need those to assemble the plane
    5. Select "Trace Outer Edge": You'll end up with an outline in red as I have shown. This is the path the blade will follow.
  4. Cut Settings
    1. Enter the "Cut Settings" Menu
    2. In the "Material Type" box select "Cardstock, Heavy 105lb to 122 lb"
    3. Click "Send to Silhouette" button to start the cut

Step 4: Assemble

Put the pieces together

A little bit of patience here is all you need!

Start piecing together your puzzle. I abandoned the smallest pieces because at this scale, they didn't have too much impact on the overall aesthetic and would just be prone to damage. The pieces slide together quite easily. You can brush a touch of glue for added stability as you add pieces.

Pro Tip: If you select a difficult puzzle for this project, you may want to print and cut one full size so you know where the pieces go before miniaturizing everything!

Attach the hook

  1. spread the jump ring
  2. slide the hook onto the ring
  3. pinch the jump ring closed around the body of the plane. Keep in mind how your earring will hang when you position your jump ring. Note: At first, I tried making a pilot hole for the right to go through, but I found it didn't make much of a difference. The ring holds secure enough by simply pinching.

Step 5: Repeat and Enjoy!

I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume you have 2 ears you want to accessorize. Repeat the process and show off your new earrings! You may have noticed that I swapped colors on some parts. You can make yours all one color, add colors, make them match, have them mismatched, whatever your heart desires!

Now that I've succeeded in creating biplane earrings, I'm off to search for the next project. Thanks for the support instructables community!

Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016