How 3D Printing Can Be Used in Art

Written by Chanda Lalwani


Posted on June 07 2021

Art is a creatively stimulating field as everyone is looking to generate unique and unusual ideas to stand out from the crowd.

With 3D printing, artists or even budding artists get to expand their horizons or have a chance to look at the past and tamper with sculptures, art pieces that are usually only seen in museums. This way, they get a chance to touch, feel, and create their own version of renowned artworks. 

So how can 3D printing be applied in the art industry? Let’s take a look:

Painting 3D Prints

With STL files readily available on website such as cgtrader, myminifactory, thingiverse, among others, artists can easily print out any 3D model they desire with a light-colored resin such as

These 3D prints can then easily be painted over in a mix of colors, patterns, or textures for budding artists looking to develop and hone their very own artistic style.

For example, art students may print out the Eiffel Tower, or even the Statue of Liberty and easily paint them over in a variety of different colors to express their creativity. STL files of statues with historical significance such as the Moai statue or Queen Nefertiti are also freely available online for anyone to print. Students can also easily tweak the 3D printing models with design software to make their own distinct versions of these models.


Instagram / @jamsutton

Artists can also use 3D printing to create sculptures with CAD software such as Mudbox, SelfCad, or even ZBrush. With 3D printing, sculptures with unique curvatures and shapes can easily be created. These types of sculptures would be hard to create with traditional sculpting techniques due to technical limitations.

3D printers such as the Sonic Mighty 4K and Sonic Mega 8K can be used to create detailed and & large art sculptures in one go, without the need to assemble different parts together.

Artists can now even 3D print voice sculptures and sound recordings, turning something that could previously only be heard, into a tangible, physical form that people can now look at. There’s even a website that allows people to upload their sound files, design their model, and then download the STL file directly for printing. How creative is that?! 

Large-Scale Art Pieces

Instagram / @jamsutton

Sculptures and other large-scale art pieces can easily be printed out with the Sonic Mighty 4K and Phrozen Sonic Mega 8K and displayed at exhibitions, museums, and more. Large-scale pieces can showcase textures and 3D printed designs that can only be done with large-sized 3D printers. 

With 3D printing, these art pieces can be printed out into separate pieces (which makes it easier to carry) and then assembled on-site wherever the exhibition or art show is being held. This makes the entire process much more efficient and less labor-intensive.

For example, Lyon Drawn, a French startup, used a 3D printer to print out giant lions which were then decorated in a stadium. This was printed in parts and the final piece was assembled together. 

Miniature Art Pieces

Instagram / @thejsalmighty

Large scale art pieces aren't the only thing you can create with resin 3D printing.

With resin 3D printing, miniatures can now be created with details that have never been seen before. Just take a look at these adorable and intricate 3D models created by S. Korean digital sculptor, Jisoo Kim

Sonic Mini 4K prints out all the tiny details on your miniatures. Artists can now produce and create unique-looking miniature models that can be decorated at homes, museums, exhibitions, and even schools.

Instagram / @thejsalmighty

Miniature artists can now draw out and then print out extremely detailed busts, skulls, or any other unique 3D printed designs they can come up with.

Need some more 3D printing ideas? As an example, a museum in Poland used 3D scanning to digitize furniture from the Baroque time period and printed out and displayed miniature versions of the furniture. This allowed the creators to showcase extreme details that were true to that era so that visitors could get a clear idea of what that time period was like. 

The Future of 3D Printing in Art

3D printing gives ordinary artists the chance to bring impossible designs to life while improving the efficiency and accuracy of their art pieces. 3D printing can be used as a way to create reproductions of famous artworks as well as a way for artists to practice and improve their skills for the future. This way, both creativity, and productivity can be enhanced substantially.

To learn more about other 3D printing applications, please click here.

Need ideas for 3D printing? Click here



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