Sticky Toys

Use 3D printing to create your own molds for sticky toys!


Setup and Supplies

These jelly toys are a fun two-step project. First design the mold and 3D print, then pour the gelatin mixture into the negative space to get your sticky shape!

Pt 2 Step 1 - Supplies

Build time:

One afternoon

Skills needed:

  • 3D software design skills, 3D printing, *adult supervision suggested for heating and handling gelatin mixture*

Tools + Materials:

  • 3D design software
  • 3D printer
  • filament
  • clear, fine-grade gelatin
  • glycerin
  • 70% sorbitol solution (can be purchased a liquid or a powder, which you mix yourself)
  • paper cups
  • popsicle sticks (for mixing)
  • kitchen scale
  • food coloring
  • large bucket or bowl with lid (for storing)
  • toaster (or stovetop or oven)


How to Create a Sticky Toy

Pt 1 Step 0 - Computer overview

Step 1: Open 3D Design Software

We like to use Tinkercad because it is web-based, free to use, accessible, and very user friendly.

Pt 1 Step 1 - Create shape

Step 2: Create a shape

Use the 3D solids to design an object that will be the shape of the final sticky toy.

Pt 1 Step 2 - Group objects

Step 3: Group objects

When finished, select all the objects and group together.

Pt 1 Step 3 - Make shape a hole

Step 4: Make a hole

While the group is selected, make it a hole.

Pt 1 Step 4 - Drag a box onto plane

Step 5: Create a box

Drag a box shape onto the workplane.

Pt 1 Step 5 - Turn on the ruler tool

Step 6: Activate the “Ruler” tool.

Select the tool then click on the workplane to engage it.

Pt 1 Step 6 - Click on the box dimensions

Step 7: Edit the box dimensions

As you hover over each measurement of the box, it will turn red. Click the red number to edit.

Pt 1 Step 7 - Type new dimensions

Step 8: Cover shape with box

Change the dimensions so the box fully covers the shape.

Pt 1 Step 8 - Select object and hole to align

Step 9: Align tool

With both the box and the hole selected, select “Align” under the “Adjust” menu.

Pt 1 Step 9 - Use the toggles to align on X and Y

Step 10: Center align both objects

Use the round handles at the center of each side to align the objects along their centers.

Pt 1 Step 10 - Select both objects and group

Step 11: Group objects

With both the box and the hole still selected, click “Group”. This will turn the hole into a negative space inside the box.

Pt 1 Step 11 - Hover in top corner to rotate on Y axis

Step 12: Engage “Rotate” Tool

Hover over the corner of the box and click on the red arrow.

Pt 1 Step 12 - Rotate left while holding shift

Step 13: Begin rotating

Hold the “Shift” key and begin rotating the object along the Y axis.

Pt 1 Step 13 - Release rotate at 180

Step 14: Release

Release the rotation when the radius reaches 180 degrees.

Pt 1 Step 14 - Download for 3D printing

Step 15: Download for 3D Printing

Under the “Design” Menu, click “Download for 3D Printing”.

Pt 1 Step 15 - Download as STL

Step 16: Export as .STL

Click .STL.

Pt 1 Step 16 - 3D print your mold

Step 17: 3D Print Mold

Use the .STL file to 3D print your mold.

Pt 2 Step 2 - add gelatin

Step 18: Weigh ingredients

Measure out the mold ingredients using the ratio of 1 part gelatin, 2 parts sorbitol, 3 parts glycerin. It is important that these are measured by WEIGHT and not volume.

As an example, roughly one class worth of sticky toys would be 100g of gelatin, 200g of sorbitol, 300g of glycerin. **Note: You can make a large batch of the mixture in a sealed container and melt down for future use!**

Pt 2 Step 4 - mix ingredients

Step 19: Mix ingredients

Use a popsicle stick to thoroughly mix the ingredients.

Pt 2 Step 5 - sit overnight till fluffy

Step 20: Let sit overnight

The gelatin will absorb the liquids and turn the mixture to a fluffy consistency.

Pt 2 Step 6 - Melt in toaster

Step 21: Heat mixture

Put ingredients in a heat-safe container. Heating times will vary based on appliance, use the guidelines below as an estimate, but be sure to check on the mixture frequently. **Note: We recommend having an adult handle the heating steps, especially with younger Makers.**

Stovetop – in a pot on low heat

Microwave – medium/high heat at 30 second intervals

Oven – bake at 150 degrees, check at 3 minute intervals

Pt 2 Step 7 - Stir mixture at intervals

Step 22: Stir mixture

Stir mixture while heating to fully combine ingredients.

Pt 2 Step 8 - Ready when clear and liquidy.jpg

Step 23: Mixture ready

Remove from the heat when the mixture is fully melted into a translucent liquid.

Pt 2 Step 9 - Add food coloring

Step 24: Add food coloring

Stir a drop of food coloring into the mixture. We separated it into two small batches to make different colors!

Pt 2 Step 10 - Clean mold

Step 25: Prepare mold

Get the mold ready by making sure it is clear from support material and other debris.

Pt 2 Step 11 - Pouring into mold

Step 26: Pour mixture into mold

Pour the heated gelatin mixture slowly into the mold. You can mix colors, or pour one color at a time to create different layers.

Pt 2 Step 12 - Cool mold

Step 27: Let cool

Fill the mold up to the top and set out to cool. This process can be sped up in the refrigerator!

Pt 2 Step 13 - Remove from mold

Step 28: Remove from mold

When fully cool, carefully peel the sticky toy out of the mold.

Pt 2 Step 14 - Finished

Step 29: Finished!

Your sticky toy is ready to use! The 3D printed mold can be reused to make more sticky toys.


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