This week we begin our series featuring the Winners and Runner Ups of the 2015 3Doodler Awards.
To kick it off, Carrie Michael (@BatyaAidan) will be demonstrating how to make Ocarina Pendants step by step. The Ocarina is an ancient wind musical instrument—a type of vessel flute - that dates back over 12,000 years. It still remains beautiful today and connects us to the very roots of art and music. With this project Carrie will share how she Doodles the whistle, tunes it to create a musical instrument, and customizes it to be uniquely beautiful.

You'll Need

  • Your 3Doodler (v.1 or 2.0)
  • Nozzle Set
  • ABS Plastic in colors of your choice
  • PLA Plastic in colors of your choice (optional)
  • Gemstones or other mixed media accessories
  • Painting Tape
  • Pencil
  • Marker
  • Cutting Tool (e.g x-acto® knife)
  • Domed Metal Surface (small ladles work well)
  • Round Metal Surface
  • Hair Dryer
  • Tuner (or Tuning App)

1Doodling the front of the Ocarina

Choose an object to Doodle over to create the front dome of the Ocarina. An Ocarina with a larger interior will have a deeper sound, and a smaller one will have a higher pitch. A curved dome shape is ideal for sound vibration. Small or medium sized metal gravy ladles work well.

Cover the form with painters tape to give the plastic something to stick to. Mark the places where the tuning holes should be with pencil and darken them in with a marker.

They should be placed as far away from the voice as possible, never directly opposing the voicing. Holding the entire thing gently in your hand might help to determine where you want the holes to be.

Use ABS plastic strands to Doodle over the entire domed shape, avoiding the sound holes. This is the skeleton of the Ocarina, and won’t be visible. ABS works best for this because it is easy to carve with an x-acto knife.

Using the largest nozzle in the nozzle set will make this process go much faster. The thicker the Ocarina is the stronger it will be when complete. Make sure that each layer of plastic touches completely and leaves no holes for air to escape. Add extra plastic around the sound holes and use the edges of the nozzle to smooth around them to make a comfortable place for fingers to touch. Making the holes too small is better than too large at this point, because they can always be carved larger when tuning.

Doodle another layer of plastic over the top of your first layer to add thickness. Choose any color of plastic including PLA. If you use PLA strands, be careful around the sound holes to make sure the layer is thin, it will make it easier to carve the holes later.

You can use multiple colors to Doodle a design, wherever inspiration takes you. This will be the visible layer, so make it look nice. Be careful around the sound holes, you don’t want any sharp edges where fingers will be rapidly moving.

Once you are happy, carefully remove the first Doodle from the form. You might need to tug it off by pulling on the edges of the tape, or loosen it a bit with another tool pressed under the edges.

2Pendant Clasp

Make a pendant clasp by taping over a round form. I used a jump ring mandrel, a pen or other round form would work well too. Draw the shape you want for your clasp and Doodle over it. Set aside until later.

3Airway Stick

An "airway stick" helps to form the mouthpiece. The size of the airway stick is tricky, and depends on the size of the Ocarina. A basic guideline is almost 1.5 mm thick, about 1/4 inch wide, and the finished piece should be at least 1/2 inch long. I made my own airway sticks out of COPPRClay™ and filed them to shape after they were fired, and Doodle along side them over a piece of tape. You could also draw the shape on a piece of tape and Doodle over that. In that case use something else of the appropriate thickness in the next step.


Doodle two rectangular sections approximately the same size. 1 inch by 1/2 inch would work. Having the bottom of each piece as smooth and flat as possible is very important for air flow. Add at least 4 layers to make sure they are strong, thick, and don’t have any unwanted holes for air to escape.

Once you’ve Doodled your rectangles, you might find that they curl up a bit and aren’t perfectly flat. This can be solved by heating them up with a hairdryer and then pressing them flat on a flat surface with something heavy. A steel bench block was used in the photo below on a metal table.

Once your pieces are flat, you can put them together. Make sure that the smooth flat sections are facing inwards.

The windway exit needs to be rather narrow to focus the air for optimal sound, approximately 1.5 mm thick. The Ocarina will not sound right if the windway is too narrow or too wide. The entrance to the windway can taper open a bit, that part can be taken care of later if desired.

Use your improvised airway stick to hold the two pieces together and carefully Doodle them to each other on each long side, being careful to not burn your fingers and to connect the pieces completely. Doodle at least 4 layers of plastic to make it strong and keep air from escaping. You can trim it to make it tidy if desired, making certain to leave the mouthpiece at least 1/2 inch long.

5Doodling the back of the Ocarina

Add a new layer of tape to the same form you used for the front of the Ocarina.

Draw on 2 holes where your thumbs will go if you are making a 6-hole Ocarina, ignore this step if you want a 4-hole Ocarina.


This is the most difficult and important part. The sound hole should be placed near the wall, but not right at the edge and the size of the opening will affect the quality of sound. The opening should be squared precisely with the windway, neither larger nor smaller. If the window is too large or too small, it will not whistle properly. Start with a rectangle a bit less than 1/4 inch long and enlarge later as needed.

Use the mouthpiece you made to position where the voicing should go, and draw on a matching sound hole area to leave empty of plastic.

If it is too small, it will sound weak or not at all with holes covered. If the angle of the labium (where the air hits to produce sound) isn't acute enough the sound will also be weak or easily overblown on low notes. The labium needs to taper almost to a point, and be at a 45 degree angle to the windway.

Doodle over the whole thing just like you did in Step 1 using ABS plastic, adding extra plastic to form the labium. Also add side walls to help direct the wind into the labium. Using the edge of the nozzle and/or the smoothing tool to shape the labium. Just get the general shape right now, you’ll finish it later.

Doodle another layer of plastic with your chosen colors just like you did with the front of the Ocarina, leaving space around the voicing, labium, and sidewalls.

Remove the Doodle from the form.

Use an x-acto knife to carve the sound hole square and carve the labium to be smooth and at a 45 degree angle to where you will add the mouthpiece. The airstream needs to be directed through the mouthpiece directly at the beveled labium so that it cuts the air evenly in two. Carefully trim the lip to a blunt edge on the outside of the bottom dome, and bevel it a tiny bit on the inside as well. You can smooth it out with the smoothing tool on the 3Doodler as well.

Attach the mouthpiece very carefully by adding a small amount of plastic to connect the mouthpiece to the back of the Ocarina. Be careful to not get excess plastic in the windway and gently carve any away with the knife. Add more plastic until it stays in place. Test to make sure it is aligned properly. Remember the 45 degree angle. Look into the mouthpiece with the convex part of the dome part on top, the labium edge should be visible at about halfway through the mouthpiece, a bit lower is okay too.

Make sure it whistles by cupping the convex part of the dome gently in your palm and blowing into the mouthpiece. If it sounds good, finish attaching the mouthpiece. Finish up the sidewalls, making them match the mouthpiece.

Add more plastic to make sure the mouthpiece is nice and square, being careful not to get any in the windway.

Touch up the interior, adding plastic to make it smooth, and using the smoothing tool on the 3Doodler as well to be sure. Carve the area surrounding the soundhole to make sure it is slightly beveled.

6Putting the puzzle together

Make sure both the front and back don’t have any extra holes in them by holding them up to the light looking for tiny gaps. If you find any, fix them with the 3Doodler.

Line each piece up together and see if they fit well, making sure to align the front piece with the holes farthest away from the mouthpiece. Trim any extra off the edges if they have large gaps when aligning. Attach the two pieces carefully with more plastic and the 3Doodler. Don’t let too much plastic get into the inside, you want it to be as smooth and round inside as possible.

Add more plastic around the mouthpiece to make a pleasing shape and connect it to the front piece. Carefully carve the entrance to the windway a little wider if desired.

Add more plastic of your chosen color all around the mouthpiece, sidewalls, and the gaps that were left on the back.

Also clean up the edges to make them smooth with the x-acto knife and/or the smoothing tool from the nozzle set. Make sure the finished mouthpiece is nice and smooth, no sharp edges to cut or scratch your lips as you play.

Add a layer of plastic around the edges connecting the front and back pieces, possibly in a contrasting color. Once you are happy with the edges, connect the pendant clasp with the 3Doodler.

7Adding Embellishments

With the Ocarina assembled, the pendant stage can really begin! Draw a design on with more plastic, appliqué completed 3Doodled designs with the heat gun, add a stone setting, whatever you would like. If you add stones, be very careful to not burn yourself as the stone will heat up quickly.


If possible, carve with the tuning holes facing down so the plastic falls on the work surface instead of into the Ocarina. Shake scraps out if they fall in.

Start with the smallest tuning hole and make sure it is in tune before moving to the next largest and so on. The larger the hole is, the higher the pitch will be.

To start, use a tuner to determine the lowest note. Completely cover all the tuning holes on the pendant with your pointer and middle fingers of each hand. Turn your tuner on, and blow gently into the Ocarina, as if blowing a kiss. Blowing too hard will blow the note away. Uncovering holes individually, or in combination with each other opens more notes.

Carve the first hole so the sound it makes is one note higher on the "major scale" and so on. "C" is the only major scale without any sharp or flat notes, so if you don't know the scale based on your lowest note, then look up the relevant scale before tuning.

For example, if it happens to be in "C major," then the notes should be C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C for a 4-hole English pendant. Carefully carve plastic from each hole until the notes match, possibly undercutting on the larger holes so they don't get too big to be easily covered by fingers.

Reference STEP 5a: Voicing If the Ocarina doesn’t sound right on low or high notes. The sound hole may need to be carefully carved slightly larger, or the labium angle might need to be adjusted. If either of those things are done, the tuning should be rechecked. Making the sound hole larger may change the lowest note, altering the scale of the entire Ocarina. Any stray bits of plastic that could be blocking the shape of the
windway can ruin the sound.

9Enjoy your handmade musical instrument!

Voilà! Congratulations on making through this advanced 3Doodler tutorial courtesy of Carrie Michael.

For more of her work be sure to check out her:

Blog - Dark Thoughts & Pleasant Dreams and her Etsy Shop.

You can also follow her on Twitter at @BatyaAidan

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for our next 2015 3Doodler Awards feature next week!