How-To: 3D Print a Cameo Portrait Pendant

Recently, I’ve been using my new 3D printer to explore 3D art education and/or integration lesson possibilities for elementary students.

I gave myself the following constraints:
1) Free software
2) Ease of use
3) Self-portrait concept
4) Small output (economic and ease of printing for teacher)

One of the results is this fun and functional art object: a cameo portrait pendant.

Here’s my overview for this lesson
1) Identify and define the word, silhouette
2) Explore and learn about artists Kara Walker and/or Kumi Yamashita (using school and appropriate imagery)
3) Take a profile photo of every student against a solid background (hopefully a green screen)
4) Students edit away background and turn the profile to a silhouette using
5) Students convert PNG silhouette to a SVG using
6) Students design a pendant base in Tinkercad
7) Students import their silhouette svg files into the pendant design
8) Students tweak design
9) Students export the designs as an STL file for 3d printing
10) The teacher prints the pendants. I estimate you can print 3 pendants at a time (printing 3 pendants at a time should take about 1 hour).

For reference, the dimensions of the final printed pendant are 40 mm x 35 mm x 3 mm.

Sound complex? It’s not! Here is a video of exactly how to make this project:

And, hey, I thought you’d like to see my failed attempts (prior to working out the above process):

If you try this project, be sure to let me know!

2 thoughts on “How-To: 3D Print a Cameo Portrait Pendant”

  1. Yay! Have fun, and feel free to share the results with me! I'd love to brag on your students. I'm @artfulartsyamy on IG and Twitter.

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