Merry Christmas red Christmas ornament. Source: stockcreations/Shutterstock.com
Merry Christmas red Christmas ornament. Source: stockcreations/Shutterstock.com

Tinkercad is a free 3D design program built for beginners to 3D modeling. You can sign up for an account for free and begin designing. It is simple to use and you can create designs by dragging and dropping shapes.

  • Click and drag a Sphere or other shape from the right-hand menu.
  • Size the shape by clicking on and dragging the corners. Hold the Shift key as you size the shape to lock the ratio of your object and keep it the same shape (e.g., it keeps the sphere a sphere and not an ellipsoid).
  • To change the view, adjust the arrows on the Home icon on the left-hand side or right-click the mouse to rotate the view around the object. Use the mouse roller to zoom in and out.
Home icon in Tinkercad. Source: WhiteClouds
  • When you want to attach a shape to another shape, use the view and Workplane to line up and attach the shapes.
  • If you want objects to be centered, start by selecting the objects you want, either by clicking and dragging a rectangle around the shapes or holding down the Shift key and selecting them individually.
  • Next, click Adjust then Align. You will see some dots and lines surrounding the objects. By clicking the various dots, you will be able to align your chosen objects on various axes. You can always hit Undo or Ctrl Z to go back to the previous version.
  • To create cut-outs of your shapes, click on Hole in the Inspector pane on the upper right-hand side.
  • To change the color of a shape, click on Color in the Inspector pane.
Inspector pane on Tinkercad. Source: WhiteClouds
  • Add letters, number, or shapes to create the design you want.
  • Add a Cylinder and a Tube or Torus shape to the ornament for a hook or ribbon to hang on the tree.

Tips

When creating your design, make sure that you view it from several angles to ensure that the shapes are actually attached to each other. You’d be surprised at how often your shapes are not actually attached.

Tinkercad saves your design automatically. You can also click on Design > Save. To change the name of your file, click on Design > Properties. Here, you can change the name, the visibility (private or public), and the license type (to allow others to edit). 

  • Once you’re done designing, the next steps for 3D printing your designs are simple:
  • On the homepage, click on your design
  • Click Download for 3D Printing
  • Save as an STL file
  • Follow the instructions of your 3D printer to print the ornament

Now you have a homemade ornament just perfect for tinkerers and DIYers. Not only do you have a neat Christmas ornament, but you have unique memories of Christmas!

Christmas ornament created in Tinkercad. Source: Corey Strange/WhiteClouds