How To: Modern Minimal Succulent Headpiece

Accessories you can print, because the future is now

If I’ve learned anything from years of compiling real weddings for APW, it’s that you can totally change the look of a wedding outfit with accessories. Want something more traditional-feeling? Fix yourself up with an updo and minimal jewelry (maybe with a little sparkle). Want an edgier look? A hip hairstyle, crazy veil, or all the things at once can make even the most traditional ball gown more modern. And lately I’ve been really into the idea of 3D printed accessories.

If you’re not familiar with 3D printing, it’s exactly what it sounds like. You create a design, and then these crazy machines that I can only begin to comprehend spit out your design in three dimensions using either plastic or resin (or sometimes even metals like silver or brass, which feels like magic to me).


While it used to be prohibitively expensive for common folk like you and me to use 3D printing technology, now even UPS offers it. So when we had the opportunity to work with HP again using their Sprout by HP (which features an overhead camera that scan 3D objects), I wanted to dig in and mess around and see what we could make.


If you weren’t here the first time we got to play with this magical machine, the Sprout is an all-in-one desktop that features a combination touchscreen/touchmat interface, plus an overhead camera, so you can scan objects, manipulate them digitally, and then spit them back out as something new. Which is exactly what we did last time with this  paper flower backdrop tutorial and this DIY faux agate decor tutorial. Recently, HP added a brand new 3D scanning turntable to Sprout’s functionality, which means that not only can we scan 3D objects, but now we can create them too.


Truth is, I’ll take any opportunity at work to pretend like I’m on Project Runway and doing an unconventional materials challenge or a design-your-own print. So, we asked Tabitha of Winston and Main if she’d be up for trying her hand at making a modern interpretation of a flower crown using the Sprout’s 3D scanning technology alongside a local 3D printer, and provide the files for you to print your own anywhere there is a 3D printer (UPS included).

The Sprout scanning bed works best with organic materials, so Tabitha grabbed one of the succulents she had in her office, and after some tweaking and messing around, the result is this super cool modern succulent headpiece:APW_WinstonMain-066

Unlike our usual tutorials, this one actually only requires two steps:

1. Download this file and then send it to your local 3D printer (more on that in a minute). They’ll ask you how big you want the piece, and what density you want. Our is 6.5″ and we chose the lightest material they offer.

2. Affix your headpiece however you’d like. We designed this headpiece to print without an attachment, so you can affix it to either a headband, or some ribbon, or—as we did here—a piece of chain (which Tabitha actually stole off of a necklace that broke and then attached with jump rings to the holes in the back of the design.) To keep it secure, Tabitha looped the chain around our model Ravayna’s bun, and then used a bobby pin on either side to help keep things in place.


Bonus: if you go the chain route, your headpiece can double as a necklace:

APW_WinstonMain-123 APW_WinstonMain-038

And if you’re not into the whole headpiece, but still kind of like the look of our 3D printed flowers, Tabitha even included a single succulent design in our downloadable file, which you can print at whatever size. Below is an example of the single succulent printed at 3.5″ and 1.5″ (plus a few we had printed in different colors like purple, pink and teal). Tabitha is gunning for someone to use the big one as a modern boutonniere or corsage. You won’t have to worry about it wilting!


If you’re new to 3D printinghere are some helpful tips for printing your first piece:

1. You can 3D print at way more places than you probably ever imagined. Did you know that UPS has 3D printers in select markets? You just send them your designs and depending on their work volume, they can have it turned around for you in a few hours. For this project, we went with Hollywood 3D Printing, since they are super knowledgeable about 3D printing (its their whole business). Another popular 3D printer is Shapeways, who will give you instant price quotes when you upload your design and ships anywhere in the United States for $5.

2. You need to tell them how big you want it to be. Don’t like our big ass headpiece? Want something a little daintier? No biggie. When sending your files to the 3D printer, you’ll need to indicate how big the final piece should be, so you have the freedom to make it your own. If you do want to make our designs, exactly as we made them, the headpiece is 6.5″ and the single succulents were printed at 3.5″ and 1.5″ each.

3. Pricing will vary (like, a lot): 3D printing is not for the “I want to save money” projects on your list. It’s for the “I really want this specific thing to look like this” projects. Our headpiece cost about $85 to print, but every 3D printer prices their projects out differently, and the final cost will largely depend on where you print and how dense you want your piece to be.

Brownie points will obviously be given out to anyone who wears this to their wedding and sends photos. Now the question is just: what should we ask Tabitha to make next?


Click HERE to download our 3D printable headpiece files. Bonus download: Remember our PAPER FLOWER BACKDROP? Tabitha scanned a bunch more flowers for us when she was working on this tutorial, which you can download right here.



This post was sponsored by the Sprout by HP. The Sprout is the world’s first immersive computer with a fully integrated 3D scanner. The Sprout by HP lets you take objects from the real world and turn them into digital (or physical) works of art. To learn more about the Sprout and how it works, click here.


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