How to Make Beautiful 3D Printed Jewelry

Updated: Aug 23

3D Printed Jewelry is taking over the fashion world! Print-on-demand technology has made it financially possible for anyone to create and sell their own line of beautiful designer jewelry and a wave of new talent is taking full advantage!


In this post, you're going to learn the basics behind creating and selling your own line of 3D printed jewelry, including:

  • The design process, and how to find designers with the necessary CAD skills to bring your vision to life

  • Available materials, including 24k gold and sterling silver

  • How to list your jewelry for sale

  • How to market your new line of jewelry


Table of Contents

Video: How to Make Money with 3D Printed Jewelry

Introduction

What is 3D Printing?

Why Choose 3D Printing over traditional manufacturing

What is possible with 3D Printing?

Starting your 3D Printed Jewelry Business

The Design Process

The Prototyping Process

The Sourcing Process

Intellectual property and Digital Assets

Branding & eCommerce

Setting up Your eCommerce Store


 


 

Introduction

Despite what you may think, making and selling designer jewelry doesn't require thousands of dollars worth of machinery, tools, and materials. In fact, you can design your own jewelry digitally, list it for sale online, and use 3D print-on-demand technology to fulfill your orders.


It's that simple!


You can set up your own designer jewelry brand with just a little money and no actual inventory when you use 3D print-on-demand technology. So, if you've got great taste and you're looking for a passive income stream, 3D printing jewelry on demand is a great way to start your next successful business venture.




What is 3D Printing?

3D printing is an additive process to create three-dimensional objects from a digital 3D file. Unlike subtractive manufacturing that starts with a large piece of material and carves or shapes it down, 3D printing builds multiple small layers on top of each other to create an object.


While 3D printing is nothing new, it has become readily available to the masses of creators and entrepreneurs over the years. As 3D printing technologies evolve, 3D printing is expected to grow to a $41 billion industry by 2026. Small businesses and entrepreneurs can also enter into the market since the barriers to entry with 3D printing on demand are relatively low in comparison to traditional manufacturing.


Youilen Echagarruga, the owner of YBY Shop in Austin, sells 3D printed jewelry on Etsy. Youilen has always loved handmade and custom-made jewelry, and she recently decided to open her own jewelry store on Etsy with the help of her designer husband. Her shop features 3D-printed earrings with modern, contemporary, and geometric styles.


Since using 3D printing allows you to take full control over your materials, Youilen looks for materials that are 100% eco-friendly and recyclable. “I feel that this is my way to help nature,” Youilen explains. As 3D printing advances, many manufacturers that make 3D printing materials are introducing eco-friendly and biodegradable material options that allow jewelry makers to offer products that are environmentally friendly. Eco-friendly materials are available in a wide variety of colors and finishes so you can create eco-friendly jewelry without sacrificing the aesthetics or quality of the piece.


Another added bonus of 3D printing that Youilen loves is the lightweight design of the parts. When 3D printing with certain materials such as PLA and ABS plastics, you can choose the infill rate of each piece. Instead of creating a solid and heavy earring charm with an infill rate of 100%, you can set the infill rate as low as 15%. This means that the inside of your charm will be mostly hollow, and as a result, it will be lightweight.


Despite being mostly hollow, 3D-printed charms are surprisingly strong. When printing with a low infill rate, the design will contain a honeycomb or triangle support structure throughout the inside of the object to maintain the strength and structural integrity of the piece. As a result, charms can be lightweight and mostly hollow, yet incredibly durable. Not only does lowering the infill rate save money on material costs, but it also creates a lightweight piece that will be comfortable for the customer to wear throughout the day.


Even though she does not have a background in 3D design, Youilen is able to create designs with the help of her husband. Since her husband is a designer, he helps her bring her ideas to life. She gets her inspiration from Pinterest, social media, and from products that her husband designs for his job.


Youilen’s advice to beginners or anyone who is interested in potentially getting started with 3D printed jewelry is to simply “just do it.” Getting involved with 3D printing may seem overwhelming at first, but you should overcome your worries and focus on bringing your ideas to life. “Don’t wait for the perfect moment,” she says, “you are going to create the perfect moment.” You don’t have to be an expert or have an entire design catalog planned out; simply pick a few designs and get started with those. With the low startup costs for new products and additions, you can build up your product catalog over time as your business grows.


You don’t need to be an expert to get started, and Youilen is the perfect example of this. Despite only getting started in 2021, Youilen is glad that she took the initial leap and is seeing steady growth in her new business. She is enjoying learning more about the 3D process as her business grows, and she continues to slowly add more products to her shop as she creates new earring designs. She loves the creative process behind it and enjoys creating high-quality and unique designs for her customers.



Why Choose 3D printing over traditional manufacturing

You may be wondering why printing your designer jewelry on demand can be better than the traditional manufacturing route. While there is nothing wrong with traditional manufacturing, it is becoming an outdated and ineffective process for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, especially when it comes to passive income.


Traditional manufacturing typically requires high minimum order quantities. When you are starting your jewelry business, you probably don’t have the cash to invest into buying a thousand units of a single item. Even if you do have the cash, you may not want to invest in a large quantity of a product that may or may not sell. Using 3D printing on demand allows you to invest in multiple products and materials because you do not need to have any inventory on hand.


Not only does traditional manufacturing require high minimum order quantities, these large orders usually have high setup fees and costs. If you would like to create a custom ring, your manufacturer will most likely charge you to set up the custom molds and equipment for your custom jewelry pieces. This can cost you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on the manufacturer and method. You will have to pay for custom molds that the manufacturer retains, and making additional changes to these molds down the line is never free. With 3D printing on demand, there are low setup fees; you are only charged for the item once a customer purchases it.


3D printing on demand is also great for entrepreneurs and creators who would like to have their products made domestically. Large-scale manufacturing is usually expen