Idaho Virtulization Lab Offers Prehistoric Holiday Decorations

Posted Original on ISU Voice

POCATELLO — If you’re looking for a dire wolf skull or the cranium from a Hagerman horse to decorate your Christmas tree, Idaho State University can provide them. At least they can provide a 3D replica printed on campus.

The Idaho Virtualization Lab located on the campus of Idaho State University has 12 different 3D-printed ornaments available on Shapeways for the holiday season.

“We wanted to make these items our Christmas gift to the world,” said Robert Schlader, lab manager.

The IVL does not have any markup fee nor does it make any profit from the ornaments, but ornaments do have a price based off of how much they cost to print. Shapeways receives the payment, prints the ornament and ships directly to the customer.

The IVL created 12 designs. Some of the ornaments are artifacts from the Idaho Museum of Natural History. Others were designed by the IVL staff. Prices start around $5 and increase, depending on size and what material the ornament is printed on.

3D image of Tyrannosaurus Rex skull by IVL available through shapeways

3D image of Tyrannosaurus Rex skull by IVL available through IVL Natural History Emporium store on

Some ornaments can be printed in precious metals. To print an ornament in a precious metal, a high-quality plastic version is printed then a mold created from that for the metal to be poured into. Most ornaments are printed in plastic and can be repainted.

Two of the more popular ornaments are the dire wolf, inspired from a dire wolf in the popular television show called “Game of Thrones,” and a Mexican figurine artifact that looks similar to Santa Claus.

Ornaments can be ordered at The holiday season can cause delays in shipping, so it is important to order ornaments as soon as possible. They generally ship in one to two weeks.