Multi-layer Map of Hyrule - Laser Engraved and Painted

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

I have been working on and off on this project since I got my Glowforge in February. I got the inspiration for this build after seeing the work of Quinton McCain. He made a super high-resolution version of Hyrule from Breath of the Wild and it blew me away. I knew I needed one for myself.

This project took around 8 hours to cut/engrave and about 4 days to hand paint.

Go support him and his amazing work here. He also posted his work on Reddit if anyone is interested- He has high-resolution files available

Supplies:

Here is a list of Amazon Affiliate Links to all the supplies used while While these links don’t cost you any extra money, they do support our channel :

  • Glowforge Laser Cutter - If you have ever considered a Glowforge, I cannot recommend mine enough. Here is my Glowforge Referral Link so you can save up to $500: https://glowforge.us/r/DSKCNJZL
  • Glowforge Proofgrade Materials - 1 Sheet of Walnut Plywood and 1 Sheet of Maple Plywood
  • Vallejo Model Paints
  • Super Glue
  • Extra Fine Tip Paint Markers
  • Paint brushes
  • Gimp (Photoshop)
  • Inkscape (Illustrator)
  • Sketching Software (iPad - Sketchbook) with an Apple pencil or any alternative

Teacher Notes

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Step 1: Find a Reference Photo and Isolate Your Layers

While I am experienced in Photoshop and Illustrator, sometimes it's just easier to trace things out, especially when you want to Identify many different layers.

For this project, I took my reference piece into Sketchbook on my iPad and traced out the following layers. By doing this, I was able to make a sandwich of Isolated engraves/cuts:

  • Main Ground layer
  • Top Layer Details
  • Top Layer Cut Specific Outline
  • Water
  • Locations
  • Roads

After drawing them out in Sketchbook on my iPad, I saved the document as a .PSD (Photoshop Document), and I brought it into Gimp and isolated each layer before bringing it into Inkscape.

  • For more directions on how I move files from Gimp to Inkscape and convert to high-resolution BitMap layers, Check out our instructable on the Breath of the Wild - Calamity Ganon Tapestry. We have step by step instructions for making your file as clean as possible for laser cutting!

Step 2: Prepare Your Files, Grab Your Ear Protection, and Start the Up the Laser

By using the same selection box on each layer, I copied and pasted the files over to Inkscape and converted them to BitMap.

  • For more directions on how I move files from Gimp to Inkscape and convert to high-resolution BitMap layers, Check out our instructable on the Breath of the Wild - Calamity Ganon Tapestry. We have step by step instructions for making your file as clean as possible for laser cutting!

Once I had all the layers converted to bitmap, I made them all of different colors (for my laser to understand they were separate steps) and placed them in their order on top of each other.

  • Typically, I prefer to line up all my individual pieces and move them in the Glowforge software as needed but for this build, I needed complete alignment accuracy.
  • The best way to guarantee alignment on a Glowforge is to pre-align all the layers in Inkscape.

Laser Settings:

  • Base Layer - Water Engrave
    • Power: 80%
    • Focus Height: .125
  • Base Layer - Roads, Words, and Detail Engrave
    • Power: 100%
    • Focus Height: .125
  • Top Layer - Roads, Words, and Detail Engrave
    • Power: 100%
    • Focus Height: .125

Step 3: Paint a Bunch of Sections

Clean out the engraves with a soft bristle brush.

Painting Time:
  • Start painting on all the water sections using blue paint.
    • Dry brush the edges where the water meets the land with a light dusting of white paint.
  • Using Gold paint, paint in all the writing on the map.
  • Use Tan paint to outline all the edge banding around the areas near water.
  • Using watered down black paint, lightly tint the caverns sections to show depth.

Step 4: Peel and Glue Everything

  • Removed the masking tape from the areas where the second layer needs to be glued down too.
  • Use the remnant of the top layer as a guide to glue the top layer pieces down in the correct spots.
    • Almost like a puzzle piece
  • Glue the second layer pieces down
  • Remove all the tape on the piece

Step 5: Finish Painting All Those Happy Little Trees

  • Using either paint and a brush or fine tip paint pens, start painting in all the tree details.
  • Make note of the coloring on the map.
    • There are different color trees in different areas. Noting these seasonal changes can help add more dimension to your piece.

Step 6: Show It Off to Your Friends

After 8 hours of laser cutting and 4 days of painting, hang this bad boy on your wall and enjoy!

If you have access to a laser and the ability to do this project, I cannot recommend it enough. This piece is beautiful and I am so happy I took the time and effort to make it happen,

Have fun and go make something awesome!

Nicole C. - WhenGeeksCraft

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    6 Discussions

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    jvincent1

    2 months ago

    This is amazing but I do have one tip. Anytime I laser engrave & want to paint it afterwards I apply painters tape before the engraving. Then after it is engraved the tape is burned away from where you want to paint & it's 100x easier to paint without having to be so careful, it's all masked off

    1 reply
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    WhenGeeksCraftjvincent1

    Reply 2 months ago

    I do the same 99% of the time. With this one I wanted the score lines for the roads and boarders to be unpainted so there was not way around having to just paint carefully. On my last instructable I made a piece that was entirely masked and I was able to throw paint all over it. This onewas a bit different. If I make it again, I have some efficiency things I would do differently but thsres not much I can do about painting that tan area on carefully

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    seamster

    2 months ago

    This looks so good. Well done, I love the results! : )

    1 reply