In 2008, the film Iron Man hit theaters. At the time, this was a huge gamble. Marvel decided to use their own independent studio. They based the movie on a lesser-known character that Stan Lee admitted was meant to be unlikable. Then they cast Robert Downey, Jr. in the lead role shortly after his well-documented struggles with drugs and alcohol. Finally, they tapped little-known Jon Favreau as director.
It was certainly not a formula for assured success, but it worked: the film had critical and commercial success, and it has spawned the highest-grossing film franchise of all time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Also in 2008, the RepRap Darwin 3D printer made its first-ever end products. Though the technology existed before this, the RepRap Darwin paved the way for 3D printing for the masses. It brought costs down, was open sourced, and was able to replicate itself.
Any new technology is a risk because you never know how the public will respond. However, much like Marvel, the gamble has paid off. 3D printing is soaring in popularity. 3D printed planters are particularly popular.
It seems only fitting, then, that Marvel 3D prints are a hot trend, considered some of the best 3D files to print. Luckily, many (if not all) of those prints easily convert into a stunning, unique 3D planter that is sure to start many a conversation.
Here are 10 of our favorites:
1. The Infinity Gauntlet
The Infinity Gauntlet is one of the most quintessential pieces in all the MCU. Each of the movies in Phases 1-4 (2008-2019) led up to a fight with Thanos to try to stop him from acquiring and using this weapon, which could destroy half of the universe’s inhabitants with a single snap. Even the most recent films discuss the repercussions of Thanos’ moves.
The files for this Marvel 3D print create a life-size model. So, you can easily make a planter where the wrist would go, if you want the Gauntlet to be vertical. If you would like this powerful glove to sit horizontally, some brightly-colored flowers in place of the Infinity Stones would be very clever. Since the model is hollow, there is plenty of room for potting soil.
Expert tip: ProtoPasta has a nice selection of metallic filaments that make excellent gemstones for the Gauntlet.
Speaking of the Mad Titan, sometimes you just want to love the bad guy, amirite? There are many versions of Thanos available, and most could be used as a planter with some tweaks. However, this one is one of our favorites. Why? It is reminiscent of the end of Avengers: Endgame, when Thanos sits on the porch to “watch the sun rise on a grateful universe.” He can do the same as he guards your plants.
3. Iron Man Helmet
Really, you can’t go wrong with any of the Avengers 3D prints. However, this one is classic because it is the character that started the MCU. Indeed, in many ways, he became the cornerstone of the franchise. You will have to do a little modification to add a hole to the top of this model, but it is worth it to create this iconic look.
Another pro tip: ProtoPasta Cherry Apple Metallic Red HTPLA is an excellent filament for the back half of this helmet.
4. Arc Reactor
Since we are on the Iron Man theme, here is another print available for fans of the sarcastic hero. The symbolism of this one is pretty neat. If you grow a plant in the inner-most triangle, the Arc Reactor can keep your plant alive in the same way that it keeps Tony Stark alive.
5. Black Panther Helmet
Here is another iconic look from one of the fanbase’s favorite heroes. The king and defender of Wakanda has played prominent roles in Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. However, Black Panther especially shined in his own standalone film, the only MCU movie so far nominated for Best Picture.
This regal helmet can be made with just two colors, such as ProtoPasta Black Opaque HTPLA and ProtoPasta Stardust Translucent HTPLA with Silver Glitter. The model is hollow, so you can easily add a hole on the top. This can serve as a home for your plants, and T’Challa can defend them with advanced technology.
6. Loki Crown
Sure, the iconic heroes are fun. But many people prefer the mysterious motivations and the fun nature of the Trickster God, Loki, for their Marvel 3D prints. The Asgardian has served as a pure villain in some movies, an ally in other films, and the protagonist of his own wildly popular series on Disney+.
This file will recreate Loki’s crown. It is hollow because it is designed to fit around someone’s head. However, it will just as easily fit around a 3D printed pot or a more traditional pot as well.
7. The Scarlet Witch
Here is another character whose popularity has been boosted by a series on Disney+. Though featured in earlier MCU films, such as Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War, the series WandaVision saw Manda Maximoff fully transform into the Scarlet Witch.
This Scarlet Witch 3D print shows her having fully accepted her new look and powers. You could place this figure on the edge of a different 3D printed planter, or you could add air plants to the palms of her hands that would have the very cool effect of Wanda personally growing your plants.
8. Groot/Baby Groot
Who doesn’t love Groot, the living tree who can communicate so much with just three words? Though he was relatively unknown to many casual comic fans until the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, Groot is now one of the most beloved characters in the entire MCU.
There are many Groot 3D print designs available. Some of the designers specifically intended to make planters out of this gentle creature. However, Groot’s head shape naturally holds a plant even if not technically created for that purpose. And of course, one of Groot’s powers is his ability to grow vegetation. So you couldn’t ask for a better gardener.
Another pro tip: There are many different wood filaments available to give your Groot an authentic look.
As we have shown, just about any 3D printed Marvel figures make excellent planters. However, this one is especially nice for two reasons. First, it comes on a base, so it is sturdy. Second, it features the hilarious Merc with a Mouth. Though Deadpool is not officially a part of the MCU, at least not yet, he has two very popular films of his own so far.
Again, this model will require a bit of modification to become a planter. But it’s okay: Wade Wilson is virtually indestructible, so even a hole in his head won’t hurt him!
10. Avengers Tower
This Marvel 3D print may not be quite as popular as the designs featuring the heroes themselves, but the Avengers Tower makes a fantastic holder. The long horizontal plane near the top of the building is a perfect place to set down a 3D printed pot. Obviously, though, this design is not constructed to hold a lot of weight, so you want to use a mini pot.
Any one of these Marvel 3D prints on their own make a very fun planter for any fan. However, you can also use these Marvel 3D prints to create a whole comic-inspired garden. Your plot would be the talk of the block. And of course, no neighbor will dare attack.