Star Shades

Lampshades that project stars onto walls and ceilings have been around for a while, but they have seen a huge spike in popularity with the arrival of mainstream 3D printing. By carefully placing star shaped voids within a lampshade, you can design your own constellations or recreate the night sky in your bedroom! In this lesson, students will research the life cycle of stars and the origin of the 88 modern constellations before designing their own star shade that casts their chosen constellation onto a wall or ceiling.
Design and TechnologyComputingArt and DesignMathematicsPhysics
Years | Grades
9th Grade | 13-14 years10th Grade | 14-15 years11th Grade | 15-16 years
Lesson 1: 90 minutes Print Time: 10 to 12 hours

Star Shades Trailer
Play 0:38


  • Know the life cycle of a main sequence star
  • Design and measure with precision
  • Demonstrate how to align objects
  • Employ tolerances and offsets
  • Understand and demonstrate an awareness of how light travel and interacts with objects
  • Design a lampshade that projects a constellation

Tools and equipment

  • Lamp/Ceiling rose with E27 fitting (E26 for US / E14 for EU small format)
  • A traditional or small globe style bulb to fit the lamp fitting
  • Strong torch/flashlight and a dark room
  • Sample printed demo plate and star shade
  • Oven glove or similar
  • Internet-enabled computer and TinkerCAD®
  • Paper pad and pencil
  • Printed lesson resources

Skill requirements

To participate in the lesson, students should be able to:
  • Use TinkerCAD, Fusion 360 or similar CAD software at an intermediate level
  • Be comfortable using DeeControl software including adjusting print settings
  • Use the BE3D eDee 3D printer

Star Shades Walkthrough
Locked Play 10:43

3D models overview

  • Total print time 24 hours 15 minutes
  • Total filament 44.1 m
  • Additional non-printable components
  • Printed all at once
  • 17 hours
  • 40 m
  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • 1.1 m
  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • 2 m
Note: Values are calculated for one set of models.

Lesson resources

  • Lesson plan
  • Example Star Shade and demo plate
  • Worksheet
  • Walkthrough
  • Presentation
  • 3D models
  • 3D print instructions
  • Curriculum alignment