DIY Gifts in the DMC - Modern Cameos

Photo of two custom 3D printed Cameo Pendants.

Need a DIY gift idea? How about a modern-style custom Cameo? Please note that the 3D Printer is only available when the Digital Media Center is staffed. Please check the calendar for staffed hours to plan your visit.



    Original photograph in profile.
  1. Open Adobe Illustrator (software available in the DMC), and import your picture.
  2. Image of the tracing around the original photograph and what the line looks like alone.
  3. Trace around the person's head with the pencil tool. If you are uncomfortable tracing with the mouse, ask DMC staff about our Wacom tablets.
  4. Image of the tracing line around the hair only.
  5. You may want to do two tracings: one of the head and face, and one of the hair if you want the hair to add a level to your cameo.
  6. Close up of the line and vector points around the facial features.
  7. You can zoom in and refine the tracings using the Direct Selection tool to move and adjust individual points.
  8. Save your tracings as svg (Scalable Vector Graphics) files. If you did two tracings you'll want to save each one separately by cutting and pasting one of the lines into a new file.
  9. Screenshot of the Create New Design button from Tinkercad
  10. Open in the browser of your choice. Tinkercad is a browser-based 3D modeling software. It is free to sign up for an account. If you are under 18, it will ask for a parent's email for permission. Click on "Create New Design."
  11. Screenshot of the Import function.
  12. On the right side of the screen you'll see an option to import a file. Import both of your svg files. You may need to scale them down by 50% depending on how large your pictures were.
  13. Screenshot of the hair arranged with the face shape in Tinkercad.
  14. Line up the hair with the face. You will want to use the white box on top of the hair object to raise the height so it is taller than the face. You can use the group tool to make this into one object once you have them lined up.
  15. Screenshot of the cylinder object added tot he project.
  16. From the basic shapes menu, add a cylinder.
  17. Screenshot of the cylinder after it has been manipulated.
  18. Stretch and flatten the cylinder until you have an oval that fits around your face and hair objects. Use the cone tool on top to lower the cylinder below the hair and face objects. You will want the cylinder to overlap these objects a little to make sure there is no gap in between them.
  19. Screenshot of the small cylinder transformed into a hole.
  20. Add another cylinder to the project. This one is going to create the hole for the jump ring to pass through. Make the cylinder tall and skinny and position it to pass through the top of the cameo. With the cylinder selected, use the Inspector box to turn the cylinder into a hole.
  21. Screenshot of the pendant design after the hole has been grouped.
  22. Then group it with the other cylinder to make the hole appear.
  23. Screenshot of the object after the final grouping.
  24. Group all of the cameo objects together. Bring up to the surface of the work plane and scale to the size you want your pendant to be.
  25. Screenshot of the object being exported in stl format.
  26. Export your design for 3D printing. Choose stl (STereoLithography) as the file type.
  27. Choose the color of filament you would like to print in. 3D prints are $0.15 per gram for all colors. Talk to a DMC staff member for more information about printing on the Lulzbot.
  28. Image of the cameos being painted.
  29. The printer can only print in one color per object, so your cameo can be subtle or you can use paint to make it stand out. Craft paint, spray paint, and even nail polish all work on 3D printed objects.
  30. Image of an open jump ring .
  31. Use the pliers to open a jump ring (always open sideways, never pull open!), and add it to the cameo.
  32. Photo of the cord ends being passed through a flame.
  33. String the cameo on some satin cord, and cut the cord to your preferred necklace length. Use a lighter to melt the ends a bit so they don't fray.
  34. Image of pliers flattening the edge of a cord ender.
  35. Use pliers to flatten the end of a spring-style cord end to your cord.
  36. photo of the finished cameos.
  37. Attach a clasp half to each end of your cord. Depending on the style of clasp, this may require more jump rings.