Lake Map Project

I think this turned out great! Really excited to share this. Going to be filling the lake with a transparent blue resin. Anybody got tips on doing that? Mostly concerned with getting the die just right.


Looks awesome! I would really like to make something like this. Care to share the steps to make this?

Very cool (from a fellow Wisconsinite).

Also seconding the request for the approach/basic steps to doing this with a lake map.

Thanks ! No problem. Here’s how I went about it.

For this particular lake I already had the depth chart. But if you don’t they’re pretty easy to find online. Here’s a great resource for Wisconsin Lakes (

Once I had the depth chart, I brought it into Illustrator (You could use just about any graphics program that saves as SVG). This lake It’s only 44’ deep at it’s deepest, so I decided to place my depths at 4’ intervals, making 11 different levels. Once those were traced, I imported that into Easel and placed the depths 1/16" of an inch apart. That’s about it.

Do you mind going in to more detail on how you traced the depth contours in illustrator? More of these depth charts have breaks in the contours for the depth numbers making it impossible to use the bitmap trace function to generate a closed path. Do you think this would be possible in inkscape?

Sure, no problem. I just used the pen tool in illustrator to trace over them by hand. Not sure if Inkscape has that tool or not.

Paint the lake bed, then fill with clear resin, no need to worry about getting the dye color right that way.

Man, I really love this!
I just ordered my x-cave, and I plan on doing this for one of our favorite camping spots soon after I get comfortable with everything. When you end up finishing it please post some more pictures, I’d love to see how it turns out.



Just grab the alumilite clear 2 part resin with the 45 minute working time and the ocean blue resin dye from amazon - little blue bottle. Only 3 or 4 drips will do. Drill some holes and test your drips in a small batch first to get your color. Then I ordered some disposable ketchup like squeeze bottles for the pour. Use a torch to get rid of bubbles for about 30 minutes. Stay away from the wood, or use a heat gun. Fairly easy.

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Oh, and the color variance here is a happy accident from making too small a batch. The second batch I must have missed the equal amounts because it dried cloudy. I’ve done a few subsequent ones and just made sure I had enough…

The resin didn’t really turn out like I wanted. Not cyan enough for me and it had lots of bubbles in the deep end. The next time I do this I think I’ll layer the resin pours every .25in and choose a different resin, like the one @TimBelcher mentioned.

I also cut another one and burned it instead. Overall not bad for my first try.

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The first post looked great. I would have tried to do the epoxy laying, too.

I did something similar and used ecopoxy liquid plastic with a Caribbean metallic color pigment and added some mother of pearl flakes. It worked great but I did have to put a good amount of dye in there.

One suggestion is to scrap the step downs in the water area. If you are filling it with colored epoxy they’re not going to show anyway and if the carve isn’t deep enough the epoxy portion is going to be too thin and not show the right color.

I’ll check that epoxy and die out.

As far as taking out the steps, I am trying to get something like this.

Been there with the learning curve… try drilling a bunch of holes in scrap, the slowly add dye and mix and fill each hole, getting darker as you go and let it dry… then figure out how much blue you want from the samples…

Here is the bigger new one I did…


That looks fantastic @TimBelcher. Where did you get the topo data from? Love the inlays and grain reversal on the borders.

I used us geological shaded relief images, converted them to greyscale, then used aspire to make the 3D model and adjusted from there using a smoothing filters…the grain on the side is actually a breadboard end. It helps with the cupping that will occur when you take so much meat out of the panel…

Luke that looks awesome. Have a couple of lakes in WI that I’d like to do myself. Out of curiosity what kind of wood did you use for your carving?