3D Printed TurtleArt Stamps for Clay Tiles

If you are interested in step-by-step instructions on programming and 3D printing your own tiles, consider purchasing my book, The Invent to Learn Guide to Fun, which leads you through the process step by step!

When I saw the MakerHome post on using a Sharpie to create the basis for a 3D printed object I knew I wanted to try a similar project with the lower school art teacher and fourth grade students. We would use TurtleArt to program a design then turn the design into a 3D printed stamp that we could use to create intricate patterns on clay tiles. This is an example of a 3D printed tool that creates other works of art.

The tile stamps were printed on a MakerBot Replicator 2 printer in PLA plastic. I used MakerWare to print them. I was able to print two tiles at a time on the Replicator 2.

Once everybody's stamps were printed the students practiced stamping Play-Doh in anticipation of stamping clay. Students learned how much (or little) pressure they needed to apply to the stamp to get a good impression in the Play-Doh.

Prepared to stamp clay, the students used their 3D printed stamps to create their tiles. The clay was forgiving if the design did not come through the first time: they could re-roll out the clay and re-stamp it.

The students also printed out their designs and took them to art class. They used markers to color in their designs in anticipation of glazing their tiles. The paper versions of the tile informed their glazing efforts.

Once glazed, the tiles were fired. They turned out beautifully!

The students, the lower school art teacher, and I all agreed that this was a hard fun project! We were afforded plenty of time so no part of the process felt rushed. I feel that this project is a good response to Gary Stager's "...and then?" prompt because the 3D printed object was not the end product but instead the beginning step in creating something new and more complex than they might have been capable of without the new tool they created. I love the variety of designs and choices of glazes. One might not consider programming to be a an artistic act, but these fourth graders proved it can be, given the right prompt and the support to carry the project through to its conclusion.


Walter Bender said…
Note that Turtle Art will let you export directly to SVG. No need to convert from PNG to SVG.
AlanJAS said…
Good job!
Exists a fork of Turtle implemented in GTK and Python called TurtleBlocks that have more features than original version. One of them: export to SVG directly. TurtleBlocks works fine in GNU/Linux systems, but I think that with a few of package could work on iOS. The Debian/Ubuntu PPA: https://launchpad.net/~alanjas/+archive/ubuntu/turtleblocks
Josh Burker said…
We are using the Mac version, which saves files as png. Hence, the need to convert.
Sarah Barclay said…
Thanks so much for your inspiration! The art teacher and I used your post as the inspiration for a grade 6 clay container project this year. We were thrilled with the results! http://uccprepict.blogspot.ca/2015/03/3d-printing-and-clay-great-combination.html
Josh Burker said…
Sarah, _fantastic_ remix, excellent documentation. Thank you so much for sharing!
Walter Bender said…
Maybe the JS version (which should run in any web browser) maybe of some use. See http://turtle.sugarlabs.org
Thank You for sharing! I love this project and am excited to try it out with my students! We are going to bring the finished tiles to our community Giving Garden that students volunteer at for Service Learning. Interdisciplinary work at it's finest.
Josh Burker said…
Yes, Walter, I want to start adapting some of my TurtleArt projects to the js browser version to widen my audience. Thanks for all your work!
Josh Burker said…
I can't wait to see photos of the tiles in the Giving Garden!