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Yes, I know it had been done and done pretty well, but I had to add my own style to this wonderful game.
Instead of making cookie cutter pieces that would be molded and mass produced I decided to make each piece completely unique.
I also did not want to stick to wheat, sheep, brick, wood, and ore, but expand out to encompass a variety of tile designs. Sorry about the early posting but I would like to enter this in a few contests and this new voting system seems to favour the early birds.  Please stay tuned for the completion of this instructable.  I just added the docks, boats and black widow robber, check them out!!   Led powered Settlements and Magnetized Roads coming soon!


 
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Step 1: Materials

White Oven-Bake Clay- 3.75lbs
Various Clay Working Tools
Paint Brushes
Heavy Duty Aluminium Foil
Various Acrylic Paints
Resin
Various Resin Dyes
Mod Podge
Foam Board
Disposable Cups
Stir Sticks
Fake Grass (for models)
Sand Paper
Small Rasps
Exacto Knife
4'x4' hard board
8' chair rail
350 magnets
Resistors
Led's




Step 2: Tiles

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There are way to many pieces to go through them all step by step but I will go through the various techniques I used to make them.

 I used an orginal tile from my Settlers game to act at a template.  
Cover the tile with foil to protect it from damage and to easily remove the tile when you bake the clay.

Step 3: Build up the Clay

Start with a very thin layer (1/8") over the entire hex.  The corners will need to stay at this level to support the settlements and cities during gameplay.  Start forming your features with small rolls and balls of clay and tamp them down with your tools and smooth our with your fingers.  It does not have to be perfectly smooth as you can sand it after you have baked it.
Once you have finished with your basic landscape its time to add special features.
Singular trees are best made in two parts.  Make the trunk on the land scape and then bake. Let cool and then make the canopy using the trunk to press a indent for later gluing.  Bake the canopy, paint and glue.
The animals were made by making blobs, one for the head, one for the body and squarish ones for the front and back legs.  Smooth out the connections and place on the landscape.  Add the details.  Many of the finer features can be cut after baking with an Exacto knife.

Step 4: Cut the Foamboard.

Picture of Cut the Foamboard.
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There is a half inch space for the roads to be placed in-between the tiles  The foam board needs to be cut to act as a base for the clay.
Start by finding the middle of your board.  I find that drawing two diagonal lines from corner to corner is the easiest.  Place one hex tile from the game centred on the board and trace around it. 
Offset another hex a half inch from the orginal.
Draw straight lines out from the top and bottom of the hex.
Where those lines intersect with the others is where the corners of your next hex will be.
After you draw out that hex you will need to offset another half inch to form your next corners.
Continue until you have laid out your full board.
Add a 1-1/2 inch offset to the outside of your hexes to form the edge of your board.
Cut out all of the hexes and the main board from the foam board piece using an exacto knife.
I found that the foam board cuts easiest with a slow saw like motion.  Just pulling it though leaves the foam very rough and holes where you don't want them.  Be sure to cut the paper on both sides before trying to remove the pieces all the way.
 

Step 5: Clay your board

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Sorry about the lack of pictures for the next 3 steps, I think I accidently deleted them at my sister's baby shower.
This part is quite tedious to do and having a small non food rolling pin handy is a good idea.
First cover your foam skeleton in heavy duty foil.
Press on all the hexes so you can see the outlines.
Cut the foil from corner to corner and fold under.
Cover the entire board with a 1/8" of clay.  The middle needs to be even as you need to put roads on it later.
The outside edges will be your coast line and needs to be eased down from the main clay.
Don't bring your clay all the way to the edges of the board.
I added some detail such as a cliff, cove, cave and an island.
Carefully remove your foil from the foam board and cut your clay into sections that can fit on a cookie sheet.
Mine needed to be cut into three sections.
Be sure to put another layer of foil on the cookie sheet as you don't want to let the clay touch things you use with food.
Bake and let cool.

Step 6: Glue the pieces to the foamboard.

I used mod podge again to glue each piece seperatly to the foam board sections.
Spread the glue evenly and clip the corners to the foam.  
If they do not fit exactly, don't worry we can fix that later.

Step 7: Shaping and Filling

Trim overhanging edges and use spackle (wall hole filler) to fill in any holes and smooth out edges.
Sand down any pieces that need it and do final shaping of the fine details using an exacto.
Be sure to paint a layer of glue over any place that has filler on it so it doesn't crack later.

Step 8: Paint

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When painting it is always best to finish the background first before moving on to the details.
Surprisingly the brush I used the most was a ratty looking thing that I used to pounce paint onto the piece instead of brushing it on.
This technique allows the paint to only partially blend leaving much more realistic landscapes.

Step 9: Resin On the Pieces.

Picture of Resin On the Pieces.
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You must follow the directions on your particular package to gauge how much hardener you will need to add.
This material can be VERY dangerous.  This should not be used by children and always used in a well ventilated area.

Follow the directions for a single layer pour and mix up one ounce of resin.
Mix in the hardener and separate equally into two cups.
For the blue mix in 5 drops of colour.
The brown needs only 2 drops.
Use a toothpick to gently drip the resin into the spaces between the logs and rice plants one drop at a time.
Spread more brown gently to create rivers  without making it overflow on the sides.
Pour the blue into the crater slowly and use another toothpick to even out the resin.
Let the resin gel and use a toothpick to lightly dab the resin surface to give texture to the water.
Spray very lightly with clear sealent.  Resin will not set correctly when exposed to air, the sealent allows it to cure.
Cover the pieces with an overturned bowl to keep out dust and let sit for at least 4 hours.
I will be going over the Lava, Counters, Robber, and Ocean in separate steps later on. 

Step 10: Cut the Hardboard

Using your foamboard as a template cut out 3 full sized gameboard hexes.  Sand your edges smooth and set two of the hexes aside for later.
Glue your game board to the third hex.
Let dry and trim and fill any holes.
Use the exacto to cut the foamboard edges into a smooth angle.
Put glue on the exposed foamboard and filler, let dry and paint.
Put on a thin layer of glue to seal the hardboard.

Step 11: Counters

These counters are made from resin, beads and stickers covered in copper foil.

You will need
2- 0 stickers 
7- 1 stickers
2- 2 stickers
2- 3 stickers
2- 4 stickers
2- 5 stickers
2- 6 stickers
2- 8 stickers
2- 9 stickers

To start lay out a piece of copper foil and place your stickers on it.
Rub gently and remove the majority of the excess foil.
Turn the sticker over and use a glue stick to very lightly coat the sticker.
Gently place a piece of copper on top and tap lightly with your finger.
Let the glue set for a couple minutes before rubbing the copper more fully onto the glue.
Remove the excess foil by rubbing your finger along the edge.
Fill in any holes only after the glue had dried.
Antique by painting with brown paint and immediately rubbing it off.
Let the paint dry and cover with a thin layer of Mod Podge to seal the paint.

Once you are finished with the numbers it is time to get your resin mold ready.
I used a plastic artist's paint palette with a cover to make the counters.  Spray lightly with mold release and let dry.  I made the mistake of not letting my mold release dry long enough and ended up with bubbles in some of my counters.
Mix up one ounce of resin with the hardener for a double layer pour.
Fill each cup 3/4 of the way full.  You will need enough room for the numbers and the beads to fit.
Cover with the lid and let sit until the consistency of jello.  The time it takes to get to this stage varies, it only took 10 minutes in the 108º degree weather we have been having lately but the normal time is around 30 minutes.
Place your numbers upside down on the gelled resin and tap it down with toothpick to remove air bubbles.
Add the beads to correspond to the original markers.
  2-1 bead
  3-2 beads
  4-3 beads
  5-4 beads
  6-5 beads
  8-5 beads
  9-4 beads
10-3 beads
11-2 beads
12-1 bead

Make up another ounce of resin and pour over the numbers. Do not wait too long before pouring this layer and resin shrinks when it hardens and you will be left with gap and a bad pour. Cover to protect from dust.
Let gel again and spray lightly with clear sealant. Wait 4 hours before removing from the mold.
Repeat to do the last 8 markers.

Step 12: Make the frame.

Materials

8ft-Chair Rail
8ft-1/4" square dowel rod
Wood Glue
Miter Saw
Screw Inserts 

I used Chair Rail for the frame because its flat on two edges to form a nice 90º angle.
I didn't do this but it would have worked out better if I had, go ahead and glue your dowel rod to your chair rail using wood glue.  Clamp and let sit overnight.
Measure the outside of one edge of your hex.
Using a miter saw set with a 30º angle cut your pieces.
Find the middle  of the dowel rod and drill into the bottom to place your insert.
Put glue in the hole and screw in the insert.
Using wood glue put your hexagon together.  I actually just put two pieces together at a time and held them until they were stable (about ten minutes), but if you have a nail gun then use it.  Hammering at this odd angle just doesn't work for me.
Once everything is together and dry, use wood glue on the dowel rod and place in your game board.  
Use Mod Podge to seal the edge between the game board and frame.
Sand your corners and give it a final paint job or staining.

Step 13: Magnets

The pieces will be held on the board using magnets so of course we need to place them.  For now we will just be doing the ones for the ports so that we can get to pouring the resin.

You will need 9 ports evenly spaced around the edge of the board.
I used foil triangles (do not glue!) to visually space them and drilled out a small indention for the magnets to fit.
Make sure all the magnets are facing the same way so your boats and ports aren't repelled when you try to play later.
Glue the magnets into the holes and put a nice amount over the magnet as well.
Let the glue dry and touch up the paint.

Step 14: Resin the Ocean

Make sure you have removed all the dust from the board.
I decided to add a few more small touches by carving an orca and a hammerhead shark out of some already baked clay.
Paint and glue to the ocean floor.
If you have a lazy susan place your board on it for this step.
Mix 2 ounces of resin for a two layer pour and add 8 drops of blue dye.
Put on gloves and carefully pour around the edges using a toothpick to even out the resin.  Be sure to cover all the dark blue.
Wait until gelled and mix up another 2 ounces of resin with only 2 drops of blue dye.
Pour again covering up into the sand and rocks.  Be sure all the magnets have resin on them.
Wait until gelled again and use toothpick to texture the resin to resemble waves.
Spray with sealent and let harden.

Step 15: Robber

Picture of Robber
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Unfortunately you might not be able to complete this step as it requires a super special ingredent.  A black widow spider.
She wasn't part of my orginal plan, but when my husband came running in the house saying I had to see what was right by our door I just had to have her.
If you do happen to have one laying around or another spider that you want to make into a one of a kind piece then read on.
Capture your spider in a glass container and put it in the freezer to kill it. Now some of you will think this is cruel, but frankly freezing is probably how she would have died in the wild when winter came anyway.  And the fact that my husband would have killed her as we have a very small child that a single bite from this very poisonous spider could kill.
Remove from the freezer and pour rubbing alcohol in the jar to cover the spider.  
I left my spider in her bath for a week to let her dry out. Take her out of the bath carefully and let her dry on a paper towel.
Now you will need to find a mold to fit your spider.  I added a roll of clay to the top of a cup on the art pallet and smoothed the edges.
As this is not a traditional mold I had to sand the edges of the resin that met the clay later on, so try to find a mold that lets you avoid that step.
Spray your mold with mold release and let dry while you play with your spider.
Most likey your spider is scrunched up in the traditional spider death pose so you will need to carefully stretch her out.
Place her on her back and use some toothpicks to straighten out her legs.  They may not stay how you want them too right away, just keep gently pulling them to the right positions and eventually they stay where you want them too.
Mix up a very small amount of resin, around 1/8 of an ounce for a double layer pour.
Pour an extremely thin layer of resin in your mold.  Use your mixing tool to brush up the sides so the entire mold has a coating.  It might take a few minutes for the resin to thicken enough to stick on the sides.
With the left over resin, paint a thin layer over your entire spider.  I didn't do this step as I only discovered it was an issue until after, but sometimes you will get air bubbles covering your entire spider that you don't see until it has set up.  
Place your spider in the mold belly up and arrange the legs.  
Mix up another batch of resin and slowly pour over your spider.
Cover and let it set up.
If you see fingerprints or ragged edges use a fine grit sandpaper to smooth the resin and polish to a glass finish.


Step 16: Settlements Roads, and Cities

Here is the first settlement and road carved and covered with the first layer of mold builder.
Coming soon

Step 17: Boats and Docks

Materials

Computer paper
Paint
Mod podge
Magnets
Clay
Paper clips

Boats

The boats act as my ports for the resources so there are five boats in total.  The picture on the sail denotes which resource the boat will be associated with.

I started all my boats as a mostly shapeless blobs with a magnet in the bottom.  The final shaping was all done after then clay was baked in the oven.
*****IMPORTANT*****
Make sure your magnets match up with the magnets already on your board!!

Shape your boats with an exacto and glue in the magnets.
You can use a nail or in my case a drill bit to hold your boats as you paint them.
Now onto the sails.  
Just paint a few circles of color onto your page, let dry and repeat on the other side of the page as well.
Use a detail brush and paint your resources in the middle of the color.
Let the paint dry and cover with a thin layer of Mod Podge.
After everything is dry cut your sails to size.
Grab your paper clips and straighten out.
Cut the paper clip leaving enough to attach to the boat.
Glue the paper clip onto the sail and let dry.
Make a small hole in the inside of your boat for your sail.
Use super glue to attach the sail to the boat.

Docks
Four docks will be needed to represent the 3:1 ports on the game.
Once again just form basic shapes with magnets in the bottom and bake the clay.
Shape and paint.
Glue on the magnet and your docks are ready.



Step 18: Circut Board

Coming Soon

Step 19: Cards

Coming Soon
SparkySolar8 months ago

Awesome cool

agis689 months ago

awesome job!!!!

berty120111 months ago
Awesome!
will fiberglass resin do for the robber?
ardnon2 years ago
This is incredible. Can't wait to see the LEDs and cards
I've never played it myself, but it looks like a very similar concept to the Sid Meier's Civilisation Pentalogy.
robbert2293 years ago
Thanks for the inspiration, I am in the progress of building my own. Mine is made out of clay also, it seems though that a lot of people are using resin for theirs, so I ask what is better clay, or resin? PS thanks for such a good guide, its hard to find anything this good online for Settlers of Catan.
KneXtreme3 years ago
Wow! That's impressive. I'm a huge fan of settlers and this is the most impressive 3D board I've seen.
mstyle1833 years ago
good luck.. impressive
This looks so awesome!
Very very nice, and inspiring enough for me to try it. I'm using these heavy duty ultra embossing bead things that you melt into goo instead of resin (since I really have no clue where I could get or how to use resin). I'll post pics when I'm finished.
Kaisei13 (author)  Lord Jon Bigglesworth3 years ago
Hobbby lobby carries resin, so does micheals. I have never used embossing beads before, I will have to look into that. Can't wait to see pictures! Thanks for reading!
unreal_ed3 years ago
If you're interested, I could send you pics of the actual "3d" game. My roommate has it at home and I've played with it.
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Kaisei13 (author)  unreal_ed3 years ago
Thanks, I have seen some pictures of the real one online as well.
AJBrawlLvr3 years ago
Is that Crater lake? (Mt Mazama)
Kaisei13 (author)  AJBrawlLvr3 years ago
Nice job! I was losing hope that anyone would recognize it.
I wasn't sure if it qualified...guess it did! thanks again!
nerorising3 years ago
Ah, good to see the UT fans on the page!!! Love your tiles they are pretty detailed indeed.
seamster3 years ago
Is that Bevo?
Kaisei13 (author)  seamster3 years ago
Correct!!
Ha ha! I only knew that because your team had a great second half on Saturday, and mine had a miserable one!

I love Settlers, by the way. That is a very detailed board you've got there. Nice work!