Creating Personal Art and Sculptures with 3D Printing

Creating Personal Art and Sculptures with 3D Printing

In ancient times, the sculpting of a bust was commissioned for a number of reasons. It may have been done to preserve the memory of a notable politician or dignitary. At times it was done to idolise the dead. 

Today there has been a resurgence in creating these portraits using additive manufacturing. By using 3D printing people are creating their own personal art pieces. With the subject of their choice, specific to their own style and interests, the options of who to depict are endless. 

As with this way of manufacturing, individuals can create virtually any shape usually limited only by the size of the 3D printer. Here is just a small selection of the many possibilities when considering creating your own artwork. 

Who would you invite?

The Mono Lisa

The age-old question is often asked, “If you could invite anyone to dinner, dead or alive, who would it be?” Creating a bust of a famous individual who inspires you in your work and daily life might be a great place to start. In recent times, people have been printing 3D busts of modern-day individuals such as Barak Obama and Kanye West. Alternatively, some have taken inspiration from times gone by with 3D printed images of Queen Nefertiti or the Mono Lisa. A popular post on allows anyone to download the files for a Julius Caesar pen-holder.  

Julius Caesar pen-holder

Fan art

Growing in popularity, Fan art has become a way for people to demonstrate their love and appreciation for their favourite films, series and fictional characters. With the use of 3D printing, individuals are able to manufacture their own bust of Elsa from Frozen, Groot from the Marvel franchise or Spok from Star Trek. Quite often the design doesn’t need to be your own. With downloadable files to make your own prints, there’s plenty to choose from on websites such as the aforementioned At times those who create these files ask for donations or tips for the files however the files themselves are free to download. See for example this bust of Batman.

 The Caped Crusader

Family portraits

From 3D printed sculptures of your pets to images of your children when they’re toddlers, this style of sculpture creates new ways for families to record special events. Today it’s possible to print 3D figurines of ourselves that capture a moment in time. The choice is yours; from sporting achievements to personal milestones, we can remember these important times in our lives with tactile 3D printed sculptures. 

What would you create?

Many are now taking up 3D printing as a personal hobby. The possibilities for where one’s imagination can take them seem limitless. As with any new hobby, individuals can start with little to no skills. These days with online communities focused on their own areas of interest, people are supporting each other in developing their skills. Platforms such as Youtube contain hours of step-by-step tutorials for absolute beginners through to the semi-professional. 

By learning how to create your own artwork, you aren’t limited by the ideas of others. So, what would you create? Whether it be a fan art piece for your desk or a larger sculpture to display in your living space, what iconic artwork could you print? With at-home 3D printing technology changing at a rapid pace this is a great skill to start learning today. 

About the Author:

This post has been written by Stephanie Vandenberg, an Australian teacher and freelance writer. She enjoys writing on neurodiversity, education and travel. You can find her work here.