Project 4: 3D Printed Art Installation


  • Design an art instillation using 3D printing
  • Design a tile that will be 3D printed an added to a large-scale installation

Grade Levels

  • Can be adjusted for youth (4 - 10), preteens (11-15), and teens (16-19) or skill level


Students will be expected to... 

  • Use TinkerCAD to design and create a 3D printable tile
  • Export their design(s) as a printable STL file(s)
  • Print their tile design
  • Share their file with others (Thingiverse or YouMagine)


The purpose of this project is to establish creative constraints that will challenge students to play, explore, push boundaries, and to discover the limitations of small-scale 3D printing. Students will learn how to use both the design and printer software, as well as configuring and managing the printer's consumable materials and supplies.


  • Template STL File
  • TinkerCAD/PC
  • 3D Printer (Any make or model)
  • 1-2 kg PLA or ABS Filament - Any Colour (Most printers will use PLA)
  • 3M Blue Painters' Tape
  • Utility Knife
  • Unscented Hairspray (Extra Hold)

Procedure / Steps to Completion

Students will be given the blank STL file with from which they will create a bas-relief or larger installation tile. This project is based on PrintToPeer's 'Linked' project in which they invited 3D printer owners from all over the world to participate in making the world's largest 3D printed art project. The template file is used with full permission of the copyright's owner.

For beginning students I would suggest that they do a "mashup" or "remix" or items found on Thingiverse using TinkerCAD. The grading on this version of the project could be on your student's creative use of found objects or components.

For intermediate/advanced students I would challenge them to design, Digitize/CAD, and to print new and unique ways to use the provided space. They could make self-portraits, kinetic sculptures, interactive/electronic tiles, or any variation that they can imagine.

Note: Consider permitting, or empowering, students to use sarcasm within the design of their tiles to increase their engagement.


Photos by PNR

Photos by PNR

How can your students bring their own interests into this project?