I was looking at some spirograph art and string art while entries for the Weaving Contest were coming in and thought it would be fun to use 3D printing and string to make some simple and lightweight earrings and a pendant necklace. I went for a pretty basic triangular design, but you could certainly use this technique to try out some other fun designs.
You can buy this earring and necklace set in my Etsy Store or if you are just interested in purchasing the 3D printed pieces so you can make your own, just let me know!
Step 1: Supplies
Besides the 3D print designs I talk about in the next step, you will also need the following supplies. Also, though I 3D printed the base, I'm sure there are numerous ways the base could be created including hand cutting plastic or another material or laser cutting it.
- 3D Printer - I use a Prusa MK3
- Filament - I decided to make the design really stand out and used Clear/Natural filament
- Tapestry Needle - a dull needle makes it easier to weave the thread on but isn't necessary
- E6000 glue - I originally used super glue and it sort of discolored the thread (made it darker) and made it obvious where it was
- Jewelry Pliers
- Jewelry bits
- Jump Rings
Step 2: Design
I created these designs using Tinkercad and I started with the basic size and shape of the earring. I ended up with a 26mm cylinder with a cutout of 22.5mm and a thickness of 1.30mm (about 6 layers)
Next, I needed to create the cutouts where the strings would loop around. I made cylinders that were 1.52mm in diameter. I knew I wanted them in increments of 3 in order to get the pattern I wanted, but I found it was easier to evenly place them in even numbers, so I started with just two and put them evenly spaced up and down. I grouped these 2 cylinders are together.
Now that I had two, I could copy and evenly rotate them.
Once I had 6, I had my increment of 3, so I grouped these 6 together and copied and rotated them until I had as many holes as would reasonably fit around the circle.
Center everything to make sure everything is evenly spaced.
Group them to cut out. Once I cut them out, I knew I wanted a space on the top for the loop so I rotated it so I had a space between holes on top.
Now with my space on top, I created a loop for attaching the earring. I used a cylinder that was 2.40mm in diamter with a cutout that was 1.52mm in diameter.
Group it and you'll have your earring.
I repeated this process for the necklace but since it was much larger, I had many more cutouts going around.
Dimensions for the pendant include: 38.50mm cylinder with a 35.00mm cutout and is 1.3mm thick.
Small cirlce cutouts at 1.52mm.
2.40mm diameter loop with a 1.52mm cutout.
Step 3: Print
Print off your bases. You need two earrings and one pendant. I printed off both types so you can check them out.
There isn't much specifically you need to do when slicing but I think I did 1 outline and 100% infill.
Step 4: Wrapping
[This is how I wrapped mine, if you come up with another way, please share in the Comments/I Made It Section!]
For each earring, I needed about 25" of string and about 73" for the pendant. For the pendant, I didn't have a problem with the color changing but for the earring, if you are using a variegated thread, make sure the color changes about halfway through if you want a nice design.
The wrapping can kind of get confusing. To try to make it easier, I did a little number chart on this white one for reference.
For this part, you need your printed piece, string, tapestry needle, and glue.
I'm going to give you the number pattern, but the important thing is you hit the 3 first numbers 24, 8, 16 and then just shift to the right one as you go around.
So to start you need to have the end of the of your string in the back and have it hang behind 15. Keeping it in back, bring it up to 24 and wrap it around to the front.
Bring it through the center of the circle so you are at the back again and bring it around the outside to the front of 8.
Bring it through the center of the circle and bring it around to the front of 16.
Bring it through the center of the circle right away (make sure you always bring it through right away so it goes behind the other strings, this will be more apparent as you get more strings going) and bring it around to the front of 1.
This is the point where I glued down the string behind 15. Let it dry before you finish threading the string. You can glue it down behind 15 right away, I just found doing the first round of wrapping helped hold things in place.
The rest of the order is: (glue behind 15, 24, 8, 16, 1) 9, 17, 2, 10, 18, 3, 11, 19, 4, 12, 20, 5, 13, 21, 6, 14, 22, 7, 15, 23, bring through center and to the back of 8
Glue the string down behind 8.
I don't have a chart for the pendant, but it goes in the same way, just different for the numbers because there are more.
Order: start with the string behind 31, this is also where you will glue it, wrap around to the front of 48, 16, 32, 1, 17, 33, 2, 18, 34, 3,19, 35, 4, 20, 36, 5, 21, 37, 6, 22, 38, 7, 23, 39, 8, 24, 40, 9, 25, 41, 10, 26, 42, 11, 27, 43, 12, 28, 44, 13, 29, 45, 14, 30, 46, 15, 31, 47, bring it through the center and to the back of 16 to glue it.
Step 5: Make Jewelry
Once your pieces are strung, glued, and dried, you can make them into jewelry!
You should be able to put the earrings right onto the earring hook.
For the necklace, I put the pendant on a larger jump ring, thread it on a length of chain I cut (I did about 16"), and then added a large jump ring to one end of the chain and a clasp to the other.
Step 6: Comparing Styles
Here is a look showing you before the string and after and also a look at the different styles of the base I designed.
I created the style with the holes because I thought the other style would be too dainty and the string wouldn't stay but it seems to work fine.
(Ignore the right earring done in black and white, I messed it some way and didn't notice until I was all done and glued.)