Introduction: Custom 3D Printed Earrings
With 3D printing you can make pretty much anything. So when I wanted to make an airpod earring I knew that 3D printing was the way to do that. I chose to 3D print the airpods out of plastic instead of using actual airpods which would probably have ended up broken. I've been wearing the airpod earring for over a month now and lots of people ask if its real, because unless you are really close you can't even tell it's 3D printed. This isn't too explain how I made the airpod earring, its just to explain how to make anything into a 3D printed earring. I'm going to show the steps of me making a GFUEL shaker one, but everything is exactly the same.
3D Printed Objected
Paint and Brushes
Clear Coat (optional)
Jewelry Findings (eye pins, chain, ear wire or earring post with ring, jump rings)
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Step 1: Design
First you need to decide what you want your earring to be. Then you can either make the design yourself on Tinkercad or find a design on Thingiverse. I like to make my own designs in Tinkercad, by using the shapes to piece together whatever I want. I made this GFUEL shaker out of mostly cylinders, half spheres, and paraboloids. If there's a more complex design, like Baby Yoda, I head right to Thingiverse and look for it there. Then download the file to your computer, flash drive, or SD card.
Step 2: 3D Print
Once you have the file you need to print it. Depending on your printer you can send it by plugging your computer directly to the printer or over wifi, if not you will need to use a flash drive or SD card to load the file onto the printer. If you don't personally own a 3D printer check your local library, makerspace, or even school to see if they have a 3D printer you can use. Or you could order a print through a 3D printing service like shapeways. When I print my earrings I personally like them to be under 2 inches tall and 5-10% infill. The lower the infill percentage and smaller the earring the lighter it will be.
Step 3: Prepare to Paint
Depending on the quality of the print you may not need to prepare your earring much. You might have to cut off some little excess bits of plastic with your craft knife. To help the paint stick to the plastic, go over the the entire earring with medium grit sandpaper. Now add a base coat of white paint.
Step 4: Paint
Time to paint the earring. This can be difficult to do because of how small the earring is and what level of detail you want to achieve. You can use really small paint brushes, but sometimes it might help to use something completely different. To paint the letters on my GFUEL earring I used an exacto blade, but a needle tool or toothpick would have worked too. After the paint dries I like to add a layer of modge podge,but that's optional. Let dry.
Step 5: Attaching Method
There's 2 ways to attach your earring to the chain. The easiest way is if your earring has a hole or loop in the design, you can just open a jump ring with you pliers put it through the hole and the chain and close the jump ring. The other way is to first decide where you want the eye pin to come from on your earring. Next you need to unwrap part of your paperclip and hold the folded part of the clip in the pliers. With the lighter heat the end of the paper clip and poke the hole into your earring where you want the eye pin to be. Then open the eye pin and add the chain, and the close the eye pin. Add some super glue onto the end of the eye pin and put it into the hole you poke in the earring.
Step 6: Adding the Earring
You need what style of earring you want. You can use ear wires, which are the hook shaped ones, or any earring posts with rings. The ring is the important part. I'm using a 4mm ball post earring with ring. Open the end of the chain that is not attached to the eye pin and hook on the earring you chose and the end of your chain. Now close the chain and the earring is done.