These 3D Printed Interchangeable Mickey Ears are fun to make with a 3D printer! They’re lightweight, cute and you can make multiple pairs for all of your favorite characters!
To be able to make this project, you will need a 3D printer. Chris bought one a few years ago and we’ve been experimenting with different projects and designs ever since.
These 3D printed interchangeable Mickey ears were some of the first things we tried to make and there was a lot of trial and error with them!
If you don’t have a 3D printer of your own, a lot of libraries have Maker Spaces where they have cutting machines (like a Silhouette Cameo or Cricut), 3D printers and more. Check your local library to see what they offer and what you can use!
If you are new to 3D printing there is a learning curve. Chris and I like to browse Thingiverse for ideas and test prints, it’s the best way to learn the software!
For these interchangeable Mickey ears Chris and I experimented with the size and design of them for a while until we got them right. I let Chris do the designing and then compared the shape to the Mickey Ears Disney makes and sells until I felt like they were close enough.
I also really wanted the ears to be interchangeable so we figured out a way to use magnets in the ear design to make it happen. This is probably my favorite part of the entire design, but it isn’t necessary if you don’t want to change out your ear designs during the day!
Interchangeable Mickey Ears have three different parts, the
- 3D printed magnetic bars, and
- 3D printed Mickey Ears.
If you do not want to make your ears interchangeable, you don’t need to print out the bars and you’ll just superglue your Ear designs directly to the headband. However, I think they’re easier to store and take up less space if you can remove the ears.
Commonly asked questions when making 3D Printed Interchangeable Mickey Ears:
1. How do you find the center of the headband?
I have a few other Mickey Ears that I used to help me find the center by laying my own headband on top of them and then using a fabric pen to mark where the ears sat. This was super helpful and easy!
But if you don’t have other headbands to go off of I suggest laying them on a fabric cutting mat and finding the center that way (you can also use your Silhouette mat!). Lay your ears on top of the headband until you find the desired look, mark the spot with a fabric pen, and then super glue them on. Easy peasy!
2. Does the headband slide around on your head if it’s windy?
Short answer? YES.
But if you use a certain type of fabric to wrap the headband with you can make it so that they don’t. I suggest wrapping your headband with this textured trim and then using faux suede to put on the inside of the headband. The faux suede will grip your hair and help the interchangeable Mickey Ears (mostly) stay put. That’s not to say that a strong gust of wind won’t push them a little bit…but they shouldn’t slide right off your head unless the wind is crazy strong.
I used satin ribbon for my first headband. Don’t do this. It is slippery and I had to keep pushing the headband back in place because it would slide around!
3. What type of glue do you use to keep the ears in place?
Gorilla super glue is our favorite. It doesn’t take long to dry and it is STRONG.
Hot glue did not have as good of a grip on the ears so I do not suggest using it. Stick with super glue.
4. Do you have a specific type of headband that you suggest using for the headbands?
Honestly, any type of headband will work for this. I used these headbands from Amazon and I really liked them because they were wide and did not squeeze/hurt my head after a few hours of wearing them.
You could also go to Sally’s to try to find headbands that you like. Target does not have them….trust me, I looked.
5. Where can I find designs to use for my Mickey Ears?
Chris and I like to browse Thingiverse.com for Interchangeable Mickey Ears and other projects!
If you’re new to 3D printing, using other people’s designs for personal use only is a great way to get comfortable with the software and your printer. Once you get more comfortable you can start experimenting with your own designs!
Does this tutorial only work with interchangeable ears or can you make a regular pair?
You do not need to make interchangeable ears if you don’t want to! I love them because they save space in my bag but it isn’t necessary to make the ears removable.
You can still follow this tutorial, just leave out the small 3D printed magnetic bar and glue the ears directly onto the headband!
What if I don’t have a 3D printer at home?
Most library’s have a Maker Station now (ours is called Makerspace) that have all sorts of machines and equipment you can use!
Make sure you check to see if yours is open though! Ours is currently letting you print things on a 3D printer by appointment only.
Silhouette Alta vs. Prusa 3D Printer
I have never used the Silhouette Alta 3D printer so I cannot speak to the ease of printing on it. I would say that the learning curve with the software is probably similar to using the software for the Prusa 3D printer we own.
However, Chris had to build his Prusa 3D printer himself and if parts break on it he has to troubleshoot it all on his own.
What I do like about the Prusa is that you can buy a part to print up to 5 different colors so you can have a multi-colored design. It’s probably my favorite feature.
But, the Silhouette Alta comes out of the box ready to go so it is a great option if you don’t like a lot of set-up!