Creepy Faces in SketchUp

Transform ordinary smiling faces into something kooky and unique with this fun SketchUp activity.

SketchUp is a free and fun program for 3D modeling. You can use SketchUp to design just about anything, from furniture to a dream bedroom to an entire city.

The free, web-based version of SketchUp can be found online at

This easy project starts with a harmless looking 2D face:

And turns it into something a bit weirder (and creepier?):

When you start modeling in SketchUp, you start in this view, with Josh standing on the ground. He isn’t needed in this model, so press E for the eraser, and click on any of Josh’s edges.

Now that Josh is gone, we want to start the model in Plan view (also known as top view or bird’s eye view). Click the Views icon on the right side.

In the Views window, click the Top view icon.

Now we’re looking straight down at the “ground.”

Press C for the Circle tool and draw a circle anywhere, at any size.

Add another circle for one eye. The other eye will be a copy of this one.

For the eyelid, press A for the Arc tool. An arc is created with three clicks: start, end, and middle.

Clean up the eye by using the Eraser again, removing the top part of the eye circle.

Draw another two arcs for the mouth.

To make a copy of the eye, it must be selected first. Press the Spacebar for the Select tool and click the eye shape.

Then press M for the Move tool. If you’re a PC user, tap (don’t hold) the Ctrl key to make a copy. Mac users: tap the Option key. Click anywhere to start the move, move your mouse to the right, and click again to place the copy.

Now all small faces inside the circle need to be erased. Activate Select and press and hold the Shift key to select multiple objects. Then click all three shapes (two eyes, one mouth) to select them.

Press the Delete key, and the three faces are gone.

This 2D face needs to be pulled up, so we need to change the view. If you have a three-button mouse, keep the middle button (which is usually a scroll wheel) pressed and drag the mouse up. If you don’t have this kind of mouse, press O for the Orbit tool and drag the mouse up.

Press P for the Push/Pull tool, click the face, and pull it up a bit.

Activate Select and press Ctrl + A or Cmd + A to select everything. Then right-click on any selected face and choose Make Group.

Once a group is created, it is highlighted as a single object. Having this as a single object will make it easier to erase later.

Press R for the Rectangle tool, and draw a rectangle on the “ground” that surrounds the 3D face.

We need to make a change to the face, but this can’t be done while the face is “locked” inside its group. So right-click on the face group and choose Edit Group. (You can also activate Select and double-click a group to open it for editing.)

Activate Select and select the top face of the group.

To twist the face, press Q for the Rotate tool. Click to place the protractor somewhere around the center of the face.

Move your mouse away from the center, and click anywhere to start the rotation. Then click again to end it when the rotation angle is around 30 degrees.

Now that the face is twisted, we can close the group. You can either activate Select and click anywhere in blank space, or right-click in blank space and choose Close Group.

Now orbit to a view like this, select the group, and activate Move. Move the group straight down, just a bit, so that the rectangle is around the middle of the 3D face. Tapping the Up arrow keeps the mouse exactly vertical.

Right-click on the rectangle and choose Intersect Faces / with Model.

This creates edges everywhere the 3D face meets the rectangle. You can already see how these edges form a zigzag border.

Now erase the group – it’s easy to do since it is a single object and can be erased with one click.

In order to make all of the small faces separate, select everything again and run Intersect Faces / With Model again.

Now you can get creative! One easy thing to do is to create offset curves. The Offset tool is part of the Push/Pull flyout toolbar on the left.

To create offsets, click the face to offset, move the mouse a small distance, and click again.

To paint your face, open the Materials window, and click the Browse icon to find the categories of colors and materials.

Click the color to paint with, and paint faces one at a time.

Learn More

Happy Halloween

ModelMetricks for teachers

Sketchup mosaics


  • Bonnie Roskes

    Bonnie Roskes has all sorts of SketchUp books at, and co-blogs about SketchUp (and other 3D stuff) at When not glued to her computer, she can be found running (literally) around Washington, DC, or packing school lunches for her 5 kids, or napping.

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