Beginner 3D Printing: Jack-O-Lantern Ornament

Do you want to throw off the color scheme of your Christmas tree just to spite your family?

To make a Halloween tree that you probably won't take down until January?

To scare the bejesus out of your roommate by printing hundreds of these and hanging them in their closet?

Then you should try this fun craft out for yourself! Or with kids as long as their attention span is as long as an adult's.

Step 1: Obtain Materials Prior to Starting:

  • 1oz Play Doh
  • Pen
  • Hard Surface
  • Camera
  • Computer
  • Internet Access
  • 3D Printer Access
  • Money for Printing
  • Thin String
  • Nail Polish (Recommended: Orange, Green)
  • Optional: Varnish, glitter top coat, scissors, paperclip, push pin, paper towel

Step 2: Open 1oz Play Doh for Prototype. Take Play Doh Out. Set Container Aside for Now.

Step 3: Mold Play Doh Into Round Pumpkin Shape and Flatten It. Add Stem.

Look up "cute pumpkins" on Google Images for inspiration. Remember to leave enough surface area to add your desired features.

Step 4: With Tip of Pen, Map Out Approximate Areas You Want to Cut Out

I recommend putting a sheet of paper/paper towel between the Play Doh and the hard surface to prevent the ink damaging the table.

Step 5: Take Photo of Prototype to Keep As Reference and Repackage Play Doh

Make sure lid is sealed tight so your Play Doh will be fresh for other projects.

Step 6: Using Computer, Open Chosen Web Browser and Search for "tinkercad.com"

The right website will be the first result. Open the homepage.

Step 7: Sign Up for Account If You Have Not Already

Provide an email that you actually know the password to, as this registration requires a response to the confirmation email.

Step 8: Once Account Is Created, Log in and Hit "Create New Design"

Step 9: Click "Update Grid" on Lower Right Corner, Select "Inches" and Set the Proportions to 3.00 X 3.00

The rest of this instructable refers to inches, so if you wish to use mm remember to make the appropriate conversions.

Step 10: Insert Cylinder From Right Panel and Set Dimensions As Following:

.855 x 1.25 x .4

Sides: 18

Bevel: 2.03

Segments: 1

Step 11: Insert Scribble From Right Panel and Hit "Edit Scribble"

Step 12: Tap Pencil Icon and Drag Cursor to Draw Best Equilateral Triangle Possible

Since the object is so small, little mistakes won't be too noticeable but still try to be neat about it.

Step 13: Once Triangle Is Drawn, Color It in and Hit "done"

It should look like Dorito chip.

Step 14: Put Triangle Over Desired Area on Pumpkin and Set Shape to "hole"

This will make the selected space vacant.

Step 15: Set Measurements of Triangle to the Following Dimensions:

.197 x .251 x .4

(L x W x H)

Step 16: Copy (ctrl + C) and Paste (ctrl + V) Triangle to Mirror the Other Side of the Pumpkin

Try to keep everything as symmetrical as possible. The ruler feature on the upper righthand corner can help with this.

Step 17: Insert Scribble Again From Right Side. Hit "Edit Scribble"

Step 18: Tap Pencil Icon and Drag Cursor to Draw an Outline of Desired Mouth for Jack-O-Lantern

You may be tempted to make lines jagged to resemble actual carving but don't worry about that, the final project will be rough as it is.

An upturned smile can look cheerful or devious, while a straight one can look scared. A downturned mouth will appear angry.

Step 19: Color in Mouth and Hit "Done"

Step 20: Set Shape to "hole" and Place Over Designated Spot on Pumpkin

Center with the eye triangles as much as possible

Step 21: Set Mouth Measurements As Follows:

.213 x .606 x .4

Step 22: Insert Scribble From Right Side and Hit "Edit Scribble" Again

Step 23: Hit Pencil Icon and Drag Cursor to Draw Stem for Pumpkin. Color It In.

Keep in mind that the more twisted and convoluted your stem is, the longer it will take to print.

Step 24: Place Stem on Desired Spot on Pumpkin and Size It Accordingly:

.321 x .321 x .4

Step 25: Add Cylinder From Right Side of Screen. Set Shape to "hole"

Step 26: Place Cylinder Over Part of Pumpkin You Want String to Pass Through and Resize As Follows:

Adjusted with dragging shape edges:

.4 x .4

Adjusted with sliders:

Sides: 20

Bevel: 0

Segments: 1

Step 27: Flip Cube (icon on Top Left Side of Screen) and View Ornament From a Side Profile to Ensure That All Shapes Have a Height of .4

If any parts are raised then resize their height to .4 to match the others.

Step 28: If Satisfied With Final Product, Click "export"

If you do not wish to export this yet, make sure you still save/share it because sometimes autosave can be unreliable.

Step 29: Under "For 3D Print" Select ".STL"

(Or whichever file your printing place recommends)

Step 30: Save File Somewhere You Will Remember It

You may need to access this file again to edit it if something goes wrong while printing.

Step 31: Send File to Be Printed From 3D Printer of Choice

This may cost money so have cash/credit card on your person during this process. Research local prices and discounts you may qualify for ahead of printing to save money. If unfamiliar with 3D printing, renting or buying your own 3D printer may be daunting.

Step 32: If Applicable, Wait for Printing Approval and Pay Quoted Amount for Service.

Make sure you keep your receipt in case something goes wrong. It may also be helpful to sign up for email notifications so you can know when your order is ready. If your requests are pending for a while, check the status of your order before seeking assistance.

Step 33: While Everything Is Processing, Plan Exactly How You Want Your Pumpkin Painted.

Keep dimensions of sculpture in mind when adding in tiny details. They may be too hard to replicate on the actual model.

Step 34: Pick Up Your Creation

During this, don't forget to say thank you to whoever printed this stuff out. They inhaled toxic fumes and risked burning their fingers for you!

Step 35: Take Model Out of Bag and Prepare for It to Be Painted on Your Hard Flat Surface

To avoid ruining my table with paint, I put a paper towel underneath the pumpkin. The hole was a bit smaller than I needed for the size of my string, so I widened it slightly with a push pin. The plastic expands easily with a bit of pressure.

Step 36: Referencing Your Color Map From Before, Paint Each Color on at Separate Times

Waiting times vary depending on the nail polish, so read the back of the bottle thoroughly. Be careful not to smudge the paint while it is still damp because then it will absorb your fingerprint.

Step 37: After the First Coat Dries, Add Any Finishing Touches

I decided to cover the pumpkin with a top coat for a glossy finish. I also added glitter to the sides to make it sparkle in the sunlight. This part takes much longer to dry so be patient.

Step 38: After Everything Is Completely Dry, Thread Your String Through the Tiny Hole

If your string is as flimsy and hard to straighten as my dental floss was, try tying it to something like a bent paperclip and run that through to the back of the pumpkin. Pull and untie it from the paperclip. Cut/rip string according to how long you need it.

Step 39: Tie Knot Into String

  1. Cross string's ends in an X-shape. Slide one end under this, leaving enough slack for the next step.
  2. Above the crossing you just made, repeat 1. Don't let the string slip out of your fingers.
  3. Move sides of your string in either direction and pull so it is taut. This should secure the knot.
  4. Trim excess string if you think having it looks bad, or add a double knot.

Step 40: Write Anything You Want on the Back

Use a good quality pen to do this because it can be difficult to write on plastic without smudging it. In fact, this step may require a couple minutes of drying time as well.

Step 41: Done! Decide How You Want to Use Your Ornament, or Just Stare at It All Day Like I Did.

Ideas:

  • Defy holiday expectations and add to bulletin board with Easter DIYs still up.
  • Add spunk to that mysterious lever on the left side of the steering wheel
  • Show it off to your amazed animal friends! (or humans, but they're way less fun)
  • Hold onto it forever

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