3D Printing · DIY

Save the Last Unicorn


This weekend we were invited to a unicorn-themed birthday party for my co-worker’s 5 year old daughter. I’ve always considered birthdays to be a big day to celebrate, even if it’s not someone in my own family; so finding that perfect gift almost becomes an obsession for me if I’ve not given an exact wish-list to shop from.

This birthday is a first for me when it comes to gift-giving. I’ve always heard that giving homemade gifts are better (*and more budget-friendly*) than store bought. But believing it and then actually doing it are two totally separate thing.

Of course, we all have that one Pinterest board with amazing DIY gifts for the holidays. But how many of you have actually done them??

Yeah, me neither. Things always come up and I run out of time to make those homemade gifts. Or I end up in Hobby Lobby and realize 2 1/2 hours later that the homemade gift which should be saving me money, is now costing me a small fortune. UGH.

This time though, something different happened.

While perusing Amazon and Toy ‘R’ Us for an adorable, maybe even*gasp* educational, unicorn toy, I found myself getting more and more…disturbed. Have you looked at the available selection of unicorn toys on the market right now? Just take a moment, I’ll wait…:

These. Are. Terrifying. Nothing like saying “Happy 5th Birthday!” like being traumatized by your birthday gift. I couldn’t bring myself to purchase them and scar this sweet girl, so I started going through Thingiverse.

For those who have never heard of Thingiverse, it’s this amazing website for anything and everything you could ever imagine 3-D printing. If you’ve got a 3-D printer, then the possibilities are endless and you’ll waste just as much time browsing this site as you will Pinterest. It’s addicting.

What was found on Thingiverse, was this: Save The Last Unicorn – a board game.

No one had submitted that they’d completed this print, so my husband and I were a bit hesitant on how successful it would print out. This first print turned out pretty small, like a mini-pocket addition. So we ended up scaling the print up as large as we could to fit on the print bed of our Robo 3D R1 (around 10.25″ inches). It was the perfect size for a kid’s board game.

All together the entire game took around 15 hours to print, with minimal pieces needing to be reprinted. Only the frame seemed to cause some problems, but otherwise it turned out amazingly cute!


We used Hatchbox 1.75 mm PLA for printing, which we’ve had the best luck with in this particular 3D printer. As far as filament goes, the white does tend to show dirt a bit more than the others. However sanding & lightly spray painting the pieces greatly helped that issue.

With the board game printed out, we needed to find a way to store it that was easy to open & close for a 5 year old. My husband found a hexagon shadow box and was able to add magnets to the top. The top was cut out of birchwood and sanded down. Magnets were then added to the top piece as well so the top just snaps on and off. Simple to open and close. Perfect!

But at this point, it was just wood. Nothing fancy, or cute, or that a 5 year old would even bother to look at. Should we paint it pink and glittery? My inner-mom voice shuddered at giving a gift covered in glitter…my co-worker would hate me. Once you bring glitter into the house, that shit doesn’t go away. Glitter is the herpes of the craft world after all…I can’t give a gift to a 5 year old covered in craft-herpes. Nope.

A new plan was needed. So I started sketching unicorns. After several failed attempts (horses are hard, yo), I was able to draw an acceptable unicorn. I sketched him onto the lid, then used some acrylic paints that have been laying in my closet for God only knows how long unused to color him.

And he turned out Cute AF.

Look at that face. He’s so lonely but adorable. How could you not save him?
With the lid finished, the rest of the box was done a soft pink. Nothing terribly drastic that would take away from the unicorn.


All said and done, this homemade gift was super fun to make and *gasp* relatively cheaper than buying something from the store. That never happens! A homemade gift being cheaper & more adorable than store bought? Well shit, that’s a unicorn in gift-giving. 😉

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