Join Now

    Rob's Tinkercad Classroom: Light it Up!

    Rob Morrill
    Published on - December 2, 2021 by Rob Morrill



    Here’s a fast and fun Tinkercad project that can let teachers send festive projects home with students for the holidays. Electric tea lights are inexpensive, and students can use the traditional 3D editor or Codeblocks to design paper surrounds for the lights.

    Design an Electric Tea Light Holder

    First, figure out the circumference and height of the tea light base. Students can use a string to wrap around the base, then measure along a ruler, or this would be a fun chance to use the formula: Circumference = 2 𝛑 radius. For the lights I have, the pink 18x120 mm rectangle (below) covered the height and circumference. 


    Second, add a tab of about 20 mm (pictured in green). This will let you glue the lower portion to itself. 

    Screen Shot 2021-12-01 at 8.04.18 AM

    Third, add a new rectangle (above in orange) that is the same length as the first rectangle. This portion is where the design will go. In my example, I used the Scribble tool from the Basic Shapes menu to make a design. I then turned it into a hole and duplicated it. Alternatively, instead of adding a rectangle, you can add shapes. Make them cover the same length as the circumference rectangle so they will wrap all the way around

    Pro Tip: If you are pressed for time and/or have students new to Tinkercad, you might want to share a project with students that already has the correctly sized circumference and tab rectangles. Students can then go straight to designing the shade.

    Fourth, fabricate! Export the design as a SVG. Anything touching the workplane will export, and you’ll be ready to cut on a paper cutter like a Cricut or Silhouette, or your can laser cut as well. 


    Fifth, a bit of glue on the tab portion will let you wrap the shade around the base and secure it. (10)

    For help on SVG exporting, watch this 60-second clip. Exporting SVG files in Tinkercad is easy, fast, and opens up a world of hands-on project possibilities:


    Take it further

    Students can use the Codeblocks environment to create their project. Loops and variables let coders quickly iterate their design as they practice spatial reasoning in sophisticated ways. 

    Screen Shot 2021-12-01 at 9.32.01 AMHere is an example of a Codeblocks project.


    This video may be helpful in creating designs for tea light shades.

    That's it! I hope this project may be just the thing for 2-3 class periods before the holidays. Please share your creations with @morrill_rob on Twitter. 

    Tags: Inspiration