Can 3D Printers Make Clothes?

Ever since 3D printers became commercially available, people have been wondering if they could be used to make clothes. 3D printers use a digital design to create objects by layering thin slices of material.


In the past, 3D printers were not able to make very complex shapes, and there are still limits on what they can do. But as time goes on and technology improves, it is possible that 3D printers could be used to make clothes in the future. We have come across some interesting innovations in this area from around the world – read on for more information.

Can 3D Printers Make Clothes?

Yes. One of the more recent innovations in 3D printing is the ability to produce very strong but lightweight materials that are flexible but don’t tear easily, which could open up new possibilities for clothing designers.

There is a printable clothing company in San Francisco that provides patterns, software, and fabrics to make your own custom-fit dress. In 2014, a woman made an entire wedding dress out of nylon using a 3D printer. It took her 10 weeks from design to completion.

What Kinds Of Clothes Can Be 3D Printed?

It depends on the technology used. The important thing to remember is that 3D printing is not like regular sewing, where a piece of fabric can be cut out and attached to something else.

Instead, 3D printers build objects layer by layer out of a thin slice of material. So if you want to make a shirt with buttons, for example, you could 3D print the buttons first and then make the shirt around them.

Some 3D printers can use different kinds of materials at the same time, but it is difficult to make clothes out of these materials. It’s also possible to use traditional techniques to make clothing that is then scanned and printed out using a 3D printer.

How Are Clothes Made With 3D Printing?

Here are a few examples of how 3D printing is being used to make clothes:

T-shirt Printing

The Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen used 3D printing technology to design the skirts, dresses, and tops in her Spring 2015 collection. She says her inspiration for the collection came from biomimicry. That is, she was inspired by nature, like how some animals have printable skin. Van Herpen’s designs were exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City this past March.


A UK company has created prototypes of plastic shoes that are designed to be printed out and sent directly to customers. They are made of nylon and can be produced in any size, shape, and color. This is a very cool idea; however, it will probably take some time before 3D printers are capable of printing shoes that are comfortable to wear.

Another innovative clothing company from the Netherlands has created a line of shoes that are made by 3D printing. The shoes are made of a flexible plastic material and come in lots of interesting colors and patterns.

Leather Jackets

A Dutch fashion designer and founder of a tech company called Materialise have started making leather jackets with 3D printing technology. The jackets have become so popular that he is planning to launch an entirely 3D printed clothing line this year.


An Indian automobile company is using 3D printing to create customized masks for the animals in their ads. A 3D printer is used to create a silicone mold of an animal’s face after which the mold is filled with latex that hardens into the form of the animal’s face. The latex mask can be colorized with pigments that look just like the natural skin tones of real animals.

Final Notes

This article has pointed out how 3D printers have started to be used for making clothes. As time goes on and technology improves, this could lead to new innovations in the area of fashion.