Introduction: Dungeon Masters Guide Cover Art Made From Wood and Resin

About: Project Manager by day, Maker by Night. Based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I make things based on the Geeky things I like.

Since the Special Edition versions of DnD core books have been released, I have been really drawn to the artwork. I wanted to create something that would allow for the entire piece to pop in a way that allowed me to use different materials that I like to work with. I set out to create a set of these cover art renditions out of wood, acrylic, and resin.


Below are Amazon Affiliate Links to tools used in this build. Using these links don't cost you any extra, they just help us feed the cats and leave the lights on:

Step 1: Start to Visualize the Layers and Separate Them in Inkscape

After building the Monster Manual, we learned a ton about how best layout the files. For our first Instructable in this series - Click here!

In this build, we decided to make the piece using 4 layers

  • Back Panel - This panel serves as the base of the entire piece.
  • Middle/detail Layer - This panel is to be the empty space to pour the resin into. The reason I wanted to use resin is because it can produce very striking colors and be manipulated to have different swirls/patterns.
  • Top Layer- Engraving layer for the entire cover of the book
  • Acrylic Panel - to be used to highlight the skulls details

Attached is the Dungeon Master .SVG Cut files so you can follow along.

Step 2: Laser Cut the Pieces

1. Spray paint the "TOP LAYER" black and let dry.

2. Apply a 4" Masking tape to all the layers before laser cutting. Using masking tape helps reduce the burn/scorch marks.

3. Send the files to the Laser cutter and hit go. Setting for each layer on a Glowforge:

Back Panel - Materials:1/8 " Baltic Birch Plywood - NO SPRAY PAINT

  • Speed:130
  • Power:100
  • Focus Height: .125

Middle/ Detail Layer - Materials:1/8 " Baltic Birch Plywood - NO SPRAY PAINT

  • Speed:130
  • Power:100
  • Focus Height: .125

Acrylic Panel- 1/8" Clear Cast Acrylic Sheet- Proofgrade Acrylic Engrave- NO SPRAY PAINT

For the engraving of the details and cutting of the shape:

  • Speed:157
  • Power: FULL
  • Focus height: .125
  1. After laser engraving and cutting the Acrylic Layer, Clean the engrave out with a soft bristle brush. I used a toothbrush that I keep on my workbench for this exact task.
  2. Using an air compressor, canned air, or your own lungs, make sure the entire piece is free of dust.
  3. Bring the piece to a well-ventilated space and spray paint the engraved side while the masking tape is still attached. This will allow the color to show up EXACTLY where you engraved and nowhere else.
  4. Let dry per the instructions on your spray paint can.

Top Layer - Materials:1/8 " Baltic Birch Plywood -SPRAY PAINT Prior to engraving

  • Speed 600
  • Power: 80
  • Lines per inch:225

Step 3: Glue the Middle Layer to the Back Panel and Start Pouring Resin

  1. Remove the Masking tape from the Back Panel and Middle/Detail layer.
  2. Super Glue the Middle layer to the Back panel making sure your corners are perfectly aligned.
  3. Using the Skull's face as a guide for the eyes, glue in the small details and then REMOVE the Skulls face shape from the piece. This piece is no longer needed in the build. It was to be used only as a jig for detailed piece placement and lines up perfectly with the acrylic layer.
  4. Apply Extra Superglue to all the seems to make sure that resin doesn't start to pool between the panels.
  5. Wait for the glue to fully dry before pouring resin.

For the Resin:

  1. Using Promarine Epoxy Resin, mix two equal parts A and B. I filled each two ounce cup about halfway.
  2. Add in the pigment colors into Part A.
    1. I used Black Diamond Pigment, Bora Bora Blue and Red/Gold with a single drop of Vallejo Purple Paint for the purple section and Black Diamond Pigment Silver with a drop for gray Vallejo paint for the skull section.
  3. Using a Popsicle stick, scrape the sides of the cups into a new cup and mix thoroughly ensuring that the resin is fully mixed.
  4. Pour mixed resin slowly into the correct color void and with a tool or stick of your choice (I used a tool meant for carving clay) push the resin into every crevasse it needs to be in.
  5. Use a heat gun to pop all bubbles. Check back often for the first 15 minutes and apply heat when necessary.
    • DO NOT OVERUSE HEAT, you can overheat the resin and cause extra bubbles.
  6. Let the Resin cure for 24 hours.

Step 4: Peel the Mask Off the Acrylic Layer

Using a carving tool, and a significant amount of patience, start pulling away at the mask on the acrylic layer.

*A tip many people gave me was to use Gorilla Tape to pull all the masking tape off*

Step 5: Paint, Peel, and Paint Some More

  1. Prepare the "TOP LAYER" that was spray-painted prior to laser engraving for paint
  2. Using your toothbrush, clean out the engravings
  3. Using your lungs, and/or air-based tools, blow away any excess junk, keeping the original masking tape layer in place.
  4. Using acrylic paints and a fine point paintbrush, apply paint into the engraved sections using the appropriate colors. This piece used two colors: purple and tan.
  5. Let the paint dry between colors and remove the masking tape.
  6. Spray the black spray paint into a cup and paint back with a brush any sections the tape pulled away. Using the spray paint will ensure you match the colors perfectly.

Step 6: Assemble and Add a Mod-Podge Layer to the Painted Engravings

  • With a microfiber cloth, clean off the acrylic sheet on both side.
  • VERY CAREFULLY, dab small drops of Superglue to a few sections where the acrylic layer meets the top panel.
    • Do not add do much because Superglue has the potential of getting underneath the acrylic layer and pooling without drying.
  • Using Mod-Podge and a fine paintbrush, seal all the edges where the acrylic meets the wood. Sealing the piece will ensure resin does not fall under the acrylic layer.
  • Apply Mod-podge to the rest of the piece. Wood is very porous and will cause the resin to bubble unless properly sealed.

Step 7: Pour the Resin Clear Coat

  1. Using Promarine Epoxy Resin, mix two equal parts A and B. I filled each two-ounce cup about halfway.
    • DO NOT ADD ANY PIGMENT. This is meant to be a clear coat.
  2. With a popcistick make sure the resin is coating the entire piece.
  3. Use a heat gun to pop all bubbles. Check back often for the first 15 minutes and apply heat when necessary.
    • DO NOT OVERUSE HEAT, you can overheat the resin and cause extra bubbles.
  4. Wait 24 hours and pour another layer of resin. The first thin layer will cover the piece but the second layer will even everything out
    • Make sure you check that there is no resin pooling on the edges. Using a clean foam brush, wipe away excess as you see it appear.

Step 8: Display It and Show It Off!

Admire your finished work. I learned a ton from the Monster Manual that I used when making this one.

I plan on making one more of these: the Players handbook.

Have fun and go make something awesome!

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