Sugar Skull Clock | 3D Printed Wall Skullpture

Sugar Skull by Amanda Zirzow

“Death of the Golden Age” – Polylactic acid (PLA plastic 3D printing material), enamel paint, and resin, 5.5” x 9” x 3” wall sculpture.

The original is available here.

This artwork is named for Saturn, Latin Saturnus, in Roman religion, the god of sowing or seed. After the Roman conquest of Greece, Saturn was conflated with the Greek Titan Cronus, becoming known as a god of time. Saturn’s mythological reign was depicted as a Golden Age of plenty and peace. It was a journey to create this 3D printed wall sculpture while integrating a functional clock.

Creating the 3D Scan from a Human Skull Model

3D Scan of Human Skull Model

A high-quality human skull model served as the basis to create this wall clock. I digitized the skull with multiple scans using my 3D scanner (Makerbot Digitizer). Then I used 3D applications (Meshmixer and Blender) to resize and alter the skull to accommodate a clock. It took approximately 32 hours to print this model using a Makerbot Replicator 2. At one point in the middle of the night I woke up to find the spool of PLA material was tangled, so I had to come up with a quick fix.

Time-Lapse of the 3D Printing

Adding the Clock to the Sugar Skull

The 3D model may take a long time to appear depending on your network speed.
Left mouse/One finger: Orbit | Middle mouse/Two fingers: Zoom | Right mouse/three fingers: Pan

See a 3D rendering of the final painted skull hanging on the wall!

More About Sugar Skulls

The calaverita de azucar, or sugar skull, is a prominent symbol in the Día de los Muertos tradition. These brightly decorated sugar skulls are placed in the alters of the deceased, especially children, as a whimsical reminder of precious life. The monarch butterfly is also commonly associated with Día de los Muertos as they are thought to bring with them the spirits of deceased loved ones during their migration to Mexico. Another common symbol includes the use of cempasuchil, a brightly colored Mexican marigold, whose smell is believed to attract spirits to visit their families during Dia de los Muertos.

Día de los Muertos is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, the first day primarily recognizing children who have passed, and the second honoring the adults. Each day is a celebration filled with food, music, dancing, and coming together to honor the deceased whose spirits come to visit their families. Families decorate alters, or ofrendas, with candles, photographs, toys, food, and bright colors to honor their loved ones and lead their visiting spirits home.

  1. 5 Facts About Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead). (2020). Smithsonian Institution.
  2. Top 10 things to know about the Day of the Dead. (2017, October 26). National Geographic.