Illumination map of US waterways

Our planet is creating with huge work of art. Its landscapes is very amazing and creative. From a bird’s-eye view, water systems resemble huge snakes that twist between fields and forests.

Inspired by the art of Earth, one creative user of the Instructables website AlexT9 got the idea to create his own DIY waterway map [Do it yourself], illuminated with a brilliant blue resin. The map of waterways depicts all the US rivers with their tributaries. The design of the card resembles a venous system, since it is illuminated in blue using a special resin.

Illumination map of US waterways

This project was divided into several parts. The first step of AlexT9 was to illustrate waterways. This part took around 8 hours. The designer created a vector file that followed the laser cutter and engraved it in plywood.

Because of the scale, some of  smaller rivers were just “fractions of a millimeter in width”. The most important task that faced AlexT9 was to ensure the integrity of the sections. He experimented with different methods, and the final product was done in two hours.


AlexT9 mixed and covered etchings and cuts with bright blue resin.

In order for the card  “come to life”, AlexT9 used epoxy resin. And he removed excess resin with Vaseline. This step required two separate streams of material, since the first filtered through the bottom of the map and left several rivers half full. The most difficult parts of the map were made with dry resin.

The finishing touches included covering the map with a transparent layer of resin; the creation of a frame and the installation of LED lighting. As a result, there was a beautiful map, which can be called a “highway for boats” throughout the country.



To begin with, he created a scheme of waterways. After much trial and error, they were sent to a laser machine and a cutter.



The map of inland waterways is similar to a work of art with a beautiful pattern.


When the resin dried, AlexT9 constructed a frame and added LED lighting.


A specialist, known as AlexT9, recently created a DIY card that illuminates waterways using blue resin.

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