Introduction: Floating Snowflake Ornament

About: Community Manager for Instructables and Tinkercad.

While printing off some Christmas ornaments, my husband suggested printing a snowflake separate and adding it mid print to another piece to make one ornament in two colors. I, of course, had to go for it and the result is a simple snowflake that appears to be floating inside a silver ornament. It's all done with the printing on tulle trick.


You can buy these floating snowflake ornaments (and the two other ornaments I mention in the last step) in my Etsy Store.

Instructable 294

Step 1: Supplies


  • 3D Printer - I use a Prusa MK3
  • 2 Colors of Filament - I'm using White and Silver because it works with my design
  • Black Tulle Fabric - if you have a light Christmas tree, you can try a different color, the goal is that the tulle disappears into the background
  • Painters Tape - I recommend this over other tapes because it's meant to come back off
  • Ornament Hooks
  • Exacto Knife - scissors might work, but I think an Exacto knife is going to give you the closest cut

Step 2: Design

Design or choose any snowflake you want. I used the snowflake design I used for my snowflake earrings.

From there all you need is a circle and a loop. I decided on the size I wanted (3" diameter) and scaled everything to fit. You want the snowflake to fit within the circle with some space around it (so it can float).

The most important part here is thickness. If it is too thick it will hit the extruder during printing. The Prusa had about 1mm clearance for me to work with. Since I would be adding my design halfway through, that meant my inner piece (the snowflake) could be no more than 2mm thick so I went with that (I actually did 2.1mm to get an even number of layers - it ended up being 10 layers).

Even though the inner piece can only be 2mm, the ring could be thicker, but I decided to keep things simple and went with 2mm for the border thickness as well. If you are worried about clearance, I would say to try to use a thicker border.

Step 3: Slicing - Preparing the Prints

Time to prep your designs for printing! This is very important.

You will have two separate prints.

I'm using Simplify 3D but all you really need to be able to do for this print is get it to Pause at a certain layer and move the extruder head out of the way so you can put down the tulle.

Another very important thing to keep in mind here is a skirt. I like to use it when I use tulle (both so it can wipe any filament that has oozed and to help hold the tulle in place) but you can't use it for both prints.

For my print, I had some issues with filling in so I decreased my Outline/Perimeter Shells to 1.

Lastly, make sure you put the print somewhere on the bed it will be the easiest to add the tulle. So, not too close to the HOME point or too close to an edge.

Pause script:

{REPLACE "; layer 6," "G28 Y0 X0\nM0\n; layer 6,"}


All you need is a pause halfway through the print and to leave out the skirt. I repeat, NO SKIRT.


You again need a pause halfway through the print. Here you can use a skirt. It isn't 100% necessary or anything, but if you want to use one, this is when you can.

If you can, look at the way the extruder moves around the print. You don't want the extruder going across the center. It looks like it should be good to go, but I also checked the Travel Moves and checked to have it Avoid Crossing Outline for Travel Moves to see if that will help.

Step 4: Printing - Adding the Tulle

Like I mentioned, this will be done with 2 prints. The first should be easy, the second you have to be paying attention.


Start your snowflake print and be ready to add the tulle when you reach the pause point.

If you can, try to stop any filament from oozing onto the snowflake after the pause (because you won't have a skirt to catch it).

Once it's done, take it off and set it aside.

Step 5: Adding the Tulle Part 2

Border (+adding snowflake):

Start your border print.

When it comes to the pause, carefully line the snowflake up inside the ornament border and tape it down.

Start the print back up and make sure it doesn't slam into the snowflake. Let it go for at least one layer before leaving it (or stick around and make sure it doesn't destroy your printer).

Step 6: Carefully Cut It Out and You Are Done!!

Time to carefully cut it out. The tulle is fragile, so be careful you don't poke it (I ruined a couple this way, it is so easy to accidentally cut it).

I got the best cut by carefully holding the Exacto so the flat edge was against the ornament edge and carefully (can't say that enough) drag the exact so it cuts as close to the outline as possible. Go all the way around and remember to cut out the tulle from the loop too.

Step 7: More Photos + More Designs

Here are some more photos of this ornament and 2 others that are printed without tulle.

If you are interested in them, I printed them using color changes to get the snowflakes a different color.

Remember that the tulle ornament can be fragile. Don't let the tree or other ornaments stab into the tulle and tear it.

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