MARCH 26, 2022

Wall Art
Nautical Maps
3D Custom Maps

How are 3D Nautical Wood Maps created?

3D Nautical Wood Maps are made with computers, laser-cutters, expertise, and love! These beautiful nautical wall maps are a love affair combining the use of technology with traditional woodworking techniques.

Known for their eye-catching characteristics, Nautical Wood Maps are quickly becoming a popular option for homeowners looking to add some nautical and coastal flair to their home décor. These beautiful wooden maps are crafted by a host of talented artists and feature lakes, rivers, and coastal regions around the globe. Popular wood map collections are traditionally the Great Lakes, Puget Sound, Chesapeake Bay, Lake Tahoe, among many others. On Tahoe Time, a popular online retailer of 3D Wood Maps, offers custom maps for over 7,000 map locations.

What techniques and machines are used to create 3D Nautical Maps?

3D Wood Maps, often called Nautical Wood Maps, are crafted using carefully-programmed, computer-driven laser cutters. Depending on the type of laser cutter, these fascinating machines can cost up to $50,000! The type and quality of the laser cutter dictates the size, quality, and level of detail that can be achieved when creating a custom lake map.

Though laser cutting is used to cut and create precise and intricate details, hand assembly and wood staining is necessary to produce a final product that is both accurate and visually captivating.

Laser cutters engrave intricate details to create 3D Nautical Maps.

“3D Wood Maps are made with computers, laser cutters, and love!”

Door County, Green Bay Wisconsin 3D Wood Map

Cartographers and Graphic Designers combine talents to create unique 3D Map Art.

How it starts. 

Nautical Maps, 3D Maps, and custom lake maps are designed by professional cartographers who compile the depth data of the waterway, they notate locations and features of social importance, and they are responsible for laying down the groundwork for the art piece. This information is then handed-off to a graphic designer.

Graphic Design, redefined.

The graphic designer is ultimately responsible for designing the actual artwork that is read by the laser cutters. This art file is complex and in addition to the visible text and artwork, the file itself is created in multiple layers. These separate art layers are necessary so that laser cutters know where to cut, and where to engrave. Each level of a 3D wood map is actually a separate art layer which corresponds to a separate piece of wood. Think puzzle!

What types of woods and materials are used to create 3D Lake Maps?

Depending on the artist, nautical wood maps are crafted using high quality natural woods such as Baltic Birch, Maple, and Walnut. The map land layers typically are unstained allowing for the wood grain, tones, and natural imperfections to add to the character of the map – no two maps are exactly the same!

How much detail is included in 3D Wood Maps?

Nautical wood maps include intricate details including water depths (bathymetry), major roadways, towns, parks, regional points of interest, and even information regarding native fish and wildlife species. Coastal maps will feature information such as popular beaches, lighthouses, tourist hotspots, and popular boating marinas. Maps in colder climates will feature ski resorts, cross country ski trails, and locales popular to winter sport enthusiasts.

Laser cutters are used to engrave 3D Lake Maps
Personalized 3D Nautical Wood Maps by On Tahoe Time

Nautical maps can be personalized with custom text, icons, and logos. 

Can Nautical Wood Maps be customized?

Depending on the artist, many 3D Wood Maps can be personalized with custom text, logos, or unique icons. This is a great way to show vacation homes, favorite parks, special fishing or boating areas, or to commemorate special events or your families’ favorite vacations spot. The most popular type of customization is for a homeowner to mark their home with a house icon and a snippet of text labeling their address and/or family name.

On Tahoe Time, offers a huge collection of 3D wood maps which are eligible to be customized. This popular retailer specializes in nautical wood maps and offers over 7,000 map locations.

Other Types of Wood Maps.

3D Wood Maps come in all shapes and sizes. Many artists focus on nautical maps, while other artists offer laser-cut maps for ski resorts, cities, skylines, states, and even mountain ranges.

Popular Wood Map Locations.

Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound, and the Great Lakes are among some of the most popular 3d wood map locations, however, custom lake maps can be created for nearly any body of water.

Chesapeake Bay Nautical Wood Clock
Puget Sound 3d wood map
Cape May New Jersey Map, Wooden Sign of Cape May on the Jersey SHore
Lake Superior wooden map, Lake Superior poster wall art

Create a custom 3D Wood Map of your favorite lake!

Whether it’s your local fishing pond, a rural mountain lake, or a more popular boating destination, retailers such as On Tahoe Time specialize in creating custom maps for all lakes, big or small.

Have questions? We can help!

Our talented team of product designers are ready to assist. Whether you are looking to create a custom map of your favorite lake, or needing help placing an order, please feel free to reach out to us and we are happy to help.

Recent Nautical Home Décor Blogs.

Be sure to view our other blogs to learn more about 3D Wood Maps, Custom Lake Maps, and other unique home décor.

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