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The shops are getting busy, the smell of roasting chestnuts in wafting through the high street, and there’s a faint sound of a brass band playing in the distance. It can only mean one thing — Christmas is coming.
Sadly, it’s becoming more commercial and less traditional with every passing year. The cost of Christmas decorations alone can set you back hundreds of dollars, and that’s before you start worrying about the endless presents and copious amounts of food.
Why not save yourself some cash this Christmas and 3D print some festive adornments for your home? Here are 10 great ideas that’ll make you the envy of your neighborhood.
Christmas trees are the undisputed king of festive decorations. Their roots can be traced back to devout Christians in 15th century Germany, but they really took off among the general population at the end of the 19th century in Victorian Britain.
While it’s not practical (or aesthetically pleasing) to print off a six-foot pine tree, you can make a small replica that’ll look great on a sideboard or mantelpiece.
The designers of this tree recommend that you use translucent filament with no fill so you can place LED lights inside it.
A Christmas tree is useless if you’ve not got anything to hang on it. At that point, it’s just a tree — there’s nothing “Christmassy” about it.
Shiny tinsel is a bit beyond the scope of a 3D printer, but delicate baubles are well within its capabilities.
This star and snowflake ornament looks fantastic. It comes with a hook so you can hang it from your tree – but for an even better effect, print it in translucent filament and suspend it front of some fairy lights or LEDs.
No Christmas tree is complete without a decorative ornament placed on its crown. Traditionally, you have two choices: an angel (representing Gabriel from the Nativity of Jesus) or a star (representing the Star of Bethlehem).
Instead of using a glittery and sparkly star, why not try out this pixel star? It’s perfect for both adding the final touches to your tree and channeling your inner-geek.
It prints as a single piece at includes a hole in the bottom for fixing it in place.
4. Gift Box
With the tree and baubles sorted, you need to start thinking about presents.
We all know wrapping paper is expensive, bad for the environment, and not reusable — so why not make a delicate lockable box for your gifts instead?
This design doubles as a gift box and a tree ornament. The key and the box itself are fully printable, and the cleverly designed ribbons add an extra level of security to the lid. For maximum effect, hang the box on your tree and put the key inside your kids’ stockings.
The designers of this star wanted to honor Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura. The trio won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014 for their work with LED lights — without them, there would be no HD televisions, computers, or smartphones.
The design itself comes with a mount for hanging the star on either a vertical or horizontal surface and ventilation holes for a cooling airflow.
It’s intended to work with low-power LED strips for indoor use.
Angels are a staple Christmas decoration and are heavily referenced in the festive season’s stories and songs.
You can have your own angel thanks to Vik at Thingiverse. It’s a simple geometric design, and comes with space for a light or LED candle in the base. It also includes a loop in case you want to hang it from your tree.
7. Santa Claus
What’s Christmas without Santa? The history of the legendary gift-bearer can be traced back to Odin, a white-bearded pagan god who would lead the mid-winter Yuletide hunt.
In modern times, various interpretations have permeated to all western cultures, and it’s now impossible to step outside at this time of year without seeing his depiction.
This sculpture of santa disappearing down a chimney is designed to bring the festive season to your office; the chimney doubles as a pen holder.
Santa wouldn’t get very far without his trusty sidekicks, Rudolph and co.
These elegant models are as delicate as anything you’ll be able to find in a shop. They’re 28 centimeters tall and take almost seven hours to print.
To get the sparkly finish as you see in the photograph, first spray them with metallic paint, then add glitter paint, and finally varnish them with a glitter sealer.
There’s nothing intrinsically festive about a castle, but there’s just something about their turrets in the clouds, snow-covered fir trees, and magical princesses that screams Christmas time.
This winter castle on Thingiverse looks like something straight out of the King Wenceslas tale. Add some fake snow and a few of the aforementioned reindeer, and you’ve got yourself a wintery scene that all your family will be jealous of.
10. LED Death Star
No, it’s not remotely festive. But it’s a Death Star, it lights up, and it hangs on your Christmas tree — what more can you ask for?
The main sphere is 10 centimeters in diameter. The upper half comes with two STL files, one of which forms a solid hemisphere and another which has space for an LED strip.
You’ll need to know some basics about electronics and soldering to make the LED part look good and function correctly.
Tell Us Your Favorites!
I hope these 10 designs have opened your eyes to the sheer volume of cool festive decorations that are out there.
Of course, there are thousands more — it’s perfectly possible I’ve overlooked some really cool designs. Naturally, I’d love to hear your input. Will you be filling your home with 3D printed decorations this Christmas? Which are the best ornaments you’ve come across? Have you successfully made any of the plans I featured?
As always, you can get in touch via the comments box below.
Image Credits: Gearstd/Shutterstock