Introduction: (Box)ing Glove- How to Design a Fast Container in TinkerCAD

About: Tall nerd, degree in manufacturing tech. I dabble in everything. Many of my projects in here are pretty old. These days I mainly do 3d printing and run startups- ask me anything!

Hi! This is an exercise in rapid production of an artistic item using a cheap 3D printer and all free software.

Basically what happened is that I haven't posted an Instructable in... well, like years. I had some interaction with @instructables on Instagram and was like... it's been too long! I went on the site and saw that there was a box contest closing in 9 hours. I have a day off, a 3d printer, a computer, and I need a challenge! This project was born. The whole idea is to show how to make a box from a sketch, using the contours of the sketch the define the pieces of the model. This is about as simple as CAD gets and works well enough for fast and artistic prototyping-basically no math involved!

I use TinkerCAD a lot because it's free and easy. Here's the TL;DR for those of you who already know how this kind of thing works:

  1. Open TinkerCAD
  2. Use the scribble tool to make a simple line drawing, extrude the scribble to 1mm thick, 2 mm off the build plane. This is your image.
  3. Copy the image scribble and paste it onto the build plane
  4. Edit the image scribble by filling it in completely, extrude it to 1mm thick, 1mm off the build plane, and orient it exactly under the first scribble as a background. This is the image background.
  5. Copy paste the background scribble onto the build plane THREE TIMES. Edit one copy of the background scribble by erasing the interior to result in a thin outline. Extrude this to 20mm thick, flat on the build plane. This is the box wall.
  6. Copy the box wall scribble and paste it onto the build plane. Orient the copied wall scribble perfectly over one of the two remaining copied background scribbles. Change the copied wall scribble to Hole rather than Solid. Group the Hole wall scribble and the background scribble to create a plug scribble. Set this plug scribble to 1mm thick flat on the build plate.
  7. Orient the plug scribble exactly below the stack of the background and image scribble. Group these three scribbles to create the Lid.
  8. You should have one background scribble and a wall scribble left on the build plate. Orient the wall scribble directly over the remaining background scribble and group them to create the box.
  9. Export, print, paint, enjoy!



-A 3d Printer (I used a modified Anycubic I3 Mega S)

-A Slicer (I used CURA)

-Filament (I used PLA)

-Paint and decorations (I used cheap red spraypaint and black poster paint)

Step 1: Open TinkerCAD

Open TinkerCAD, it's a free browser-based CAD program. It is pretty basic and mostly functions by making 3d shapes and adding them and subtracting them from each other. Today's project mostly uses the Scribble tool, adjusting the Snap Grid, changing between Solid and Hole, Grouping, and the Copy/Paste function. To learn more about how to use these tools I recommend this video

Step 2: Scribble an Image

Start a new Scribble. The Scribble function is available in the Basic Shapes drawer on the right side of the TinkerCAD UI. Draw a basic line drawing. In my case I made a simple boxing glove. This can be exact or rough. Mine was rough, just using my finger on my laptop touch screen from a reference picture.

Once you're satisfied with your drawing, make your scribble into a 1mm thick solid floating 2mm off the build plane. This will be the image on the top of your box lid.

Copy and paste this scribble onto the build plane.

Step 3: Fill in Your Scribble to Create a Background

Take the copy of your image and edit it again in the scribble tool. This time, fill it in completely as a solid shape.

Extrude this scribble as a 1mm thick solid, this time 1mm above the build surface. This is your background.

Make 3 Copies of this background scribble on the build plate.

Step 4: Make a Wall Scribble

Time to make a wall for your box.

Take one of the background scribbles and edit it. This time, erase the interior of your shape, leaving a thin wall around the edges, essentially just an outline of the background. Extrude this scribble as a 20mm high solid sitting flat on the build plate. This is your box wall. Copy paste this to your build plate so you have two.

Step 5: Put Your Image on a Backround and Aligning Them

Take the image scribble and place it directly on top of one of the background scribbles. make sure they line up exactly by zooming in from different angles and checking the edge alignment. If the edges don't align, the best method is to switch the snap grid to 0.1mm and use the arrow keys to gradually scoot the pieces around until they match. Once the image is perfectly aligned on the background, group the two pieces together.

Step 6: Make a Plug for Your Box Lid

Take one of your wall scribbles and orient it exactly over one of your background scribbles, using the snap grid and arrow keys as described in the last step. Once they are aligned, select the wall scribble and set it to Hole rather than solid. Group this Hole wall and the background it is aligned with together. This will cut away the edges of the background, leaving a piece that will fit perfectly inside the wall like a plug. Set this plug to be 1mm thick and flat on the build plane.

Step 7: Assemble the Lid

Take the grouped image/background from step 5 and orient it exactly above your plug piece using the snap grid and arrow keys. Group the plug and image/background together into one solid. This is your entire complete lid.

Step 8: Add a Bottom to Your Box

You should have a wall scribble and a background scribble remaining. Take the final background and set it flat to the build plate. Orient your wall scribble exactly over it using the snap grid and arrow key method. Group the two pieces to create your container.

You should be left with a finished two piece box, with a fitting lid and a container.

Step 9: Export and Slice

Give your box a cool name, export it to your computer as an STL, and open it with your 3d printer slicer of choice.

I printed mine in PLA with 100% infill at a .2mm layer height with 0 support. Your settings may vary. Check out the Class on 3d printing for more help there.

Step 10: Print, Paint, Enjoy! (closing Thoughts)

Print your box, finish and paint it if you like or leave it raw!


The purpose of this was to show how to make a simple box in any shape from a free sketch with minimal skills or worrying about fit and accuracy. The parts are derived from their own shapes and fit exactly.

I know that the rim of the lid is a 90 degree overhang, but since it is only ~1mm high and wide, it should print no problem if you have good adhesion. It took about a minute of picking the brim off with my finger nail to achieve a simple snap fit between the lid and the box, so not really more difficult than any other print with my cheap machine.

Here's the box I made on TinkerCAD! Feel free to use it! Let me know what you think, and feel free to share if you make a box or anything else using/inspired by this method!

Also this was an exercise in creating a speed Instructable. Total time is about 6 and a half hours from idea to publishing. What a rush!

Don't forget to Vote for me in the Box contest!

Box Challenge

Participated in the
Box Challenge