Bag Tags

Contributed by
Sarah Rolle & Rurik Nackerud

Duration: 1-2 class periods or 3 hours
Level: Beginner/3rd grade+
Software: Any 3D modeling program, ie: Tinkercad. Pens or Pencils and paper for drawing a picture plus a way to digitize it OR image search.


100% student created bag tags as a way to learn basic 3D modeling. Makers discover the difference between extruding, engraving, and cutting out an image, as well as basic use of a 3D printer. The design process begins with drawing or looking for inspirational images with which to begin their tag. The leader of this guided making project leads an introduction into using a 3D design tool (we used Tinkercad) to adjust the size of a basic, simple, geometric shape that functions as the base for the tag. The group discusses the time commitment for each 3D print. This is followed by converting the images to file types (SVG for Tinkercad) appropriate to the design tool. The tutorial period also covers importing the file to the work space, placement, and choices around extrusion that places the image on top of the simple geometric shape, engraved images, or full cut throughs. Adding initials, as a way of customization, is also discussed.



  • Students spend a short period of time drawing or looking for a picture they would like on their tag.
  • Students then receive a short introduction into adjusting the size of their base shape. We also use this as a time to talk about how much time it takes to print projects.
  • They are shown how to convert images to SVG (one option for tinkercad) or other file type needed on the web.
  • Once they see how to import an image and place it; they will decide whether they want to have their image extruded to sit on top of the tag, engraved into it or actually cut out.
  • Adding initials is also a favorite option.

Step 1: Create The Base


● Drag and drop a simple shape onto the workplane - cubes and cylinders work particularly well.

● Scale the shape to about 30-80mm x 30-80mm. A rectangular shape works best for instruction: 35mm x 70mm. The tag can be any shape if makers want to try something beyond the simple rectangle.

● Adjust the Z-axis (height) to 2-6mm.

● Based on your 3D printer, you may want to discuss how long it will take to print the tags. Explaining that the sizing is a combination of what looks good and the ability to print tags for the whole class helps students plan their design.

Step 2: Create Base Hole


● Drag and drop a cylinder onto the workspace.

● While the cylinder is selected click the hole tool in the top right corner. The shape is no invisible to the program.

● Scale the hole to 3-8mm x 3-8mm. Height does not matter as long as the cylinder pierces the other shape all the way through and is greater than the 2-6mm of the base shape. You might want to discuss how big the chain or other item is that will be put through the hole so students can size the hole accordingly.

● Place the hole where it makes the most sense for the tag (top/side/bottom). Specific alignment may be used with the align tool under the adjust menu in the top right corner.

● Select both the hole and the base and click the group button in the top right corner. Use Command + A (Mac) or ctrl + A (PC) to select all objects.

Step 3: Customize

Customization may take many forms - you can use the built in tools to add initials (drag and drop letters) or import more complex graphics. We often encourage more sophisticated makers to craft their own personalized imagery, convert files, and import their original work. Regardless of which method chosen, makers have three options: design with holes, design with extrusion, or go halfway with an engraved look. Generally we demonstrate holes and extrusion and encourage a personal choice.

Design with Holes

● Note: Any shape can be turned into a hole by selecting the shape and clicking “Hole” in the top right corner.

● Drag and drop the desired shape onto the workspace.

● Select the shape and turn it into a hole.

● Drag onto the desired location on the bag tag base.

● Be sure to demonstrated adjustments for all axis - X, Y, Z.

● Select all objects and group using the “Group” button.

● This can be repeated to craft a fun custom design.

● Adjusting the Z axis to only go 2-4mm into the tag causes the engraved look.

Design with Shapes

● Drag and drop the desired shape onto the workspace.

● Drag onto the desired location on the bag tag base.

● Be sure to demonstrated adjustments for all axis - X, Y, Z.

● Raise the shape 2mm off the workplane (creating a raised edge off the base tag). Leave the shape slightly sunk into the base so that no gap will be created between the base and the shape.

● Select all objects and group using the “Group” button.

● This can be repeated to craft a fun custom design.

Step 4: Printing


Download the File for Printing

● Select Design from the upper left corner.

● Click the menu option Download for 3D Printing

● Select “STL” as the file type.

● The file should appear in the downloads folder and can be opened in slicer software. We use Cura.

● Show students how to transfer, find, and begin the print for their file. We use this introductory lesson as an opportunity to introduce students to the basic functions of our 3D printer.