Suz Somersall: How 3-D Design is the New DIY for Girls

August 31 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Girls Rule the 3-D World

While some use the technology of 3-D printing to induce more harm than good, there are plenty of harmless inventions to celebrate. NASA’s creating spacecraft parts (very cool), and some fashion-forward folks have even printed color-changing jewelry. (Take all my money!) It seems our world isn’t as finite as we may have thought. If you could create anything your heart desires, besides a Ryan Gosling look-alike boyfriend, what would it be? Now if only I could get my wireless printer to work.


Today, we’re talking about a super-cool website that teaches girls how to use 3-D technology. Taking these courses is basically like using shapes like polygons to simulate real-world objects, or like connect the dots on steroids. When girls—the future innovators of the world—take online tech classes, they’re 25 percent more likely to stay in STEM courses.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Suz Somersall, Founder of KiraKira3D

Today’s Woman to Watch, Suz Somersall, started the company KiraKira3D to give a younger generation the tools to make, design and innovate. Fast Company named Suz one of its 100 Most Creative in Business, and we can see why. More than 100,000 people have watched KiraKira3D’s video tutorials, and users hail from more than 100 different countries. Suz explained her business in a way that really gave me a light-bulb moment: She said that in teaching girls how to make things, they’re learning how to become creators rather than consumers. In the age of one-time-use products, there’s a lot to be said for that, right?

You’d think Suz came from an engineering background or something else science-y, but it turns out she boasts a background in design. While getting her bachelor’s degree in English literature and history of art and architecture at Brown University, Suz noticed there weren’t many women in the engineering classes, which got her interested in art design. She went on to enroll in graduate school at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she discovered 3-D printers, CNC milling machines and laser cutters. She put her design degree to good use and used these tech-savvy materials to create geometric jewelry pieces.

A self-proclaimed nerd, Suz grew up playing Final Fantasy and turning her dollhouse into a starship control panel. She was a builder but didn’t quite feel drawn to those ho-hum engineering classes. By using 3-D technology for art design, Suz also surprisingly but beautifully acquired some foundational STEM knowledge. Design sprouted her creative sensibilities, so it makes sense that one way she decided to make STEM classes more alluring with KiraKira3D was to add an artistic element.

From food and drink to accessories and décor, KiraKira3D has a little bit for everyone. It’s reminiscent of craft and DIY tutorials, and users can learn how to make fun items, like a pineapple statue or a bow tie. Suz says her main priority is to take away the intimidation factor girls may feel when they tackle STEM, and instead, make it exciting. She encourages girls to imagine a world of infinite creativity and “to be OK with trying anything.”

Gone are the days of only men using their hands to build things; we’ve officially entered a time when women are watching our mental creations come to life. Make on, my lady friends, make on!

Follow Suz on Twitter at @SuzSomersall.


Actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg shared her experience about finding her voice through art, saying:

“You think that being a girl is degrading, but secretly, you’d love to know what it’s like, wouldn’t you?”

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