The sun rises from behind Zora’s Domain. The shops in the Castle Town open, the Stalchilds disappear from the fields, and the Cuccos are happily clucking in the Kakariko Village. In other words, it’s a new day in Hyrule.
In case you didn’t know, Hyrule is the fictional land from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (there are several variations of Hyrule from the different games, but this is the one we will be building). If you want to learn to build a 3D map of this beloved land, you’ve come to the right place. The best part is, all these materials are super cheap so you won’t need a laser cutter or 3D printer.
So what are you waiting for? Grab the Master Sword and Hylian Shield (more like box cutter and foam boards), the Hero of Time has awakened!
Foam Boards (at least 17”x22”)
Sandpaper (cheap, beige sand paper)
Hot Glue Gun
Adhesive Tape Runner
Tempera Paint (green, blue, red, yellow, black, white)
Insulation Spray Foam
Several Copies of the Template (available here)
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Step 1: Map Base
First, we need to make the base of our map. This is pretty easy and can be done in one of two ways:
1. Cut along the circumference template (you should be left with an ellipse) and scotch tape it to the foam board. Then use the box cutter to cut around the paper. Once the board has been cut into the same elliptical shape, remove the template.
2. Tape the template to the board and cut them together. I find this more difficult because you will have to cut through the paper and foam board together. If you have a sharper blade or more cutting skill, this is the way for you.
Step 2: Hyrule Field
Hyrule Field is the center of Hyrule. The vast pasture that leads to virtually every location.
To replicate the grassy texture, we are going to use sandpaper. For the map base, I suggested cutting out the template first and taping it onto the foam. Since the sandpaper is easy to cut, we can tape the template onto the sandpaper and cut them out together. When cutting, do not include Lake Hylia. This will be cut out later (if you are unsure where Lake Hylia is, refer to the video). Once you have the shape cut out, it’s time to start painting. We will be playing the role of Farore. The template shows which areas need to be painted light green (the area with the less dense grid). In the areas with the dense grid, paint it a darker green. This area is comprised of the Lost Woods and Kokiri Forest.
Step 3: Constructing Buildings (Hyrule Castle, Castle Town, and Kakariko Village)
Now it’s time for the buildings. To build these, I used pieces of foam. I glued them together using the adhesive dot roller and used markers to color them. For the houses, I colored the tops brown and drew doors and simple designs on the sides. The castle was the most difficult. To build this, I first cut out the base and glued other parts of the castle on top. I also built a wall out of a long strip of foam. I then drew a door and triforce on it. Place some of the buildings in the Castle Town using the tape runner and put others in the Kakariko Village. I drew stables next to some of the buildings in the villiage.
Step 4: Creating Water (Zora’s Domain and Lake Hylia)
I’ve seen water modeled in many different ways, but I decided to try out the simplest. First, I painted the rivers on the map. I also cut out a separate piece of sand paper for Lake Hylia and glued it onto to the map. Then I traced the river with a hot glue gun. At first, it won’t look like water at all, but run the glue gun back and forth over a certain spot and the glue will melt into a water-like shape. Once the glue on Lake Hylia is almost dry, place the path to the Water Temple on top. I’ll explain how to build the Water Temple in the Other Ideas section.
Step 5: Forests and Mountains
Now it’s time to play the role of Din. Spray the insulation foam around Hyrule Field. It will expand as it dries, so don’t spray too much. You will also want to spray a smaller lump on a separate surface. This will become the trees for the Lost Woods. Once the foam has dried, use a box cutter to cut off all the “skin”. This will make painting easier and it will give the mountains a better texture. Cut a hole out of the smaller lump and paint the whole thing green. This will be the tree tops. For the trunks, use disposable chopsticks. Cut these into smaller cylinders and color them dark brown. Then glue or stab them to the bottom of the “tree tops”. Then glue the trees onto the spot for the Lost Woods and Korkiri Forest. Use the box cutter to cut a crater for Death Mountain and a plateau for Zora’s Domain. Paint the crater dark red and the plateau blue. Then paint the rest of the mountain a brownish-red. I used a larger brush to cover large areas and a smaller brush to reach inside the nooks and crannies.
Step 6: Other Ideas
Lon Lon Ranch:
Lon Lon Ranch is the original home of Epona, your trusty horse. Build Lon Lon Ranch by cutting an ellipse out of the foam. Then stab a blade or scissors through the middle and widen the hole with sandpaper. One you have the shape, color it gray and glue it in Hyrule field.
The water Temple is very simple to build. Use the tape runner to tape a small square of foam to a rectangle with double the area. Then color the roofs blue and tape it to the strip of land in Lake Hylia.
The bridge is basically a brown-colored rectanglular piece of foam. I secured it to the valley using the tape runner, but you can use hot glue or tape if you want.
Zora’s Domain Waterfall:
First, use the hot glue gun to create a water like texture on the plateau. For the waterfall, cut a thin strip of tape. Stuck one end to the plateau and the other end to the existing lake with the adhesive side down. Then run hot glue down the tape and let it dry
Step 7: Hyrule Has Been Created!
Now, it is time to gaze upon your wonderful creation! Water flows from Zora’s Domain to Lake Hylia, the Gerudo Bridge creates a passage over the Gerudo Valley, the Castle Town is busy as ever, and Ganondorf is scheming his evil plan to claim the triforce. You have just created the setting for the famous Hyrule fantasy: The Legend of Zelda!
Participated in the