Crayon Creatures uses 3D printing to make statuettes from kids' drawings
By Ben Coxworth
January 8, 2013
Chances are, you think that your child’s drawings are masterpieces. You could put them up on the fridge, where they’ll get tattered after a while ... or you could get Crayon Creatures to turn them into a little three-dimensional sandstone statue.
Here’s how it works ...
You start by uploading an image of your kid’s drawing to the Crayon Creatures website. Designer Bernat Cuni then takes that two-dimensional image and “inflates” it. To use his explanation, “Technically, I define the contour lines, create a plane where I project the drawing as a texture, then I extrude it, and finally I apply some pressure physics to soften the shape.”
That digital model is then uploaded to Shapeways, that uses a Z-Corp 3D printer to create a physical model. The material, referred to as sandstone, is composed of gypsum-based powder mixed with an adhesive and colored using an ink jet head. The statuette is also coated with a protective cyanoacrylate clear coat, and ultimately mailed to you.
While such sandstone 3D-printed models offer high resolution and multiple vivid colors, they’re also rather brittle – so no, your child couldn’t play with the thing. And at €99 (US$130) a pop (plus €15/$20 for international shipping), you definitely wouldn’t want them breaking it. Of course, there’s no rule that says you can’t get one of your own drawings made into a model for yourself.
... and if you want to turn your wee one’s drawing into something that they can play with, you might want to check out Child’s Own Studio. Proprietor Wendy Tsao will turn their monsters, fairies or other characters into three-dimensional stuffed toys.