Our DigiFab Holiday Ornament Contest Winner Is…

Digital Fabrication
Our DigiFab Holiday Ornament Contest Winner Is…


Our second annual holiday ornament contest has come to a close, and we had some amazing entries this year that made picking a winner quite tricky. This year, we opened our contest to more than just 3D printing, and while many entries did use 3D printers, our readers pulled out the laser cutters, CNC routers, and embroidery machines as well.

While we only have one winner, here are some of our Digital Fabrication testing team’s other favorites:

Star Tree Topper


Coming in an extremely close second, the Star Tree Topper is 3D printed and incorporates 5 LEDs and an Adafruit Trinket to make alternating festive blinking patters for the top of your tree. We enjoyed the simplicity of the design mixed with the final output, making this an extremely accessible project for all makers.

Freestanding Lace Ornament


Ann Mackowski taught us a great trick with this embroidery project. Instead of embroidering on normal fabric, she embroidered on dissolvable stabilizer. Once the machine was finished stitching the pattern, she washed away the stabilizer, leaving only the lace pattern of the design. This was one of my personal favorites. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the design is a festive version of my favorite mascot.

Circuit Playground Ornament


Another one of my favorites, the Adafruit Circuit Playground is a wonderland of input and output devices all built into one easy to use package that helps make this ornament a snap to build. The Circuit Playground and a battery pack are tucked away into a 3D printed shell, and when programmed, allow this ornament to blink Christmas-themed lights while playing a simplified arrangement of the holiday classic Jingle Bells. If you haven’t tried out a Circuit Playground, you are missing out, it’s an amazing device.

Bright Lights, Christmas Nights


Using addressable LED strips and an Arduino Nano Peter Brown made a Christmas ornament that would go as well with your Christmas tree as it would being part of your 4th of July plans in the summer. The LED strips are programmed to make this globe dance in brilliant patterns of light. This project gets serious points just for the amazing patterns Peter created.

And the winner…

While all of these projects could easily have taken the top spot, there can only be one winner:

Blinking and Singing Snowman Ornament


Johnathan Powell pulled out all the stops with this project. The adorable laser cut design is hand painted and his quirky smile helps warm our winter days. This, to me, feels like something I would have seen on the cardigan of my 4th grade teacher during the holiday season. Johnathan designed his own PCB to help this little snowman beep and blink his cheery seasonal tunes. While this may be a lot more work to recreate than some of the other projects, we think the effort is well worth it and the project certainly deserves the win.

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Matt is a community organizer and founder of 3DPPVD, Ocean State Maker Mill, and HackPittsburgh. He is Make's digital fabrication and reviews editor.

View more articles by Matt Stultz
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