A personalized layered map ornament makes a perfect one of a kind Christmas gift. There are a few steps that make this look complex. but if you follow the steps, you can be making your own custom ornaments in no time.

The one I made here is a special gift for my brother and his family of their home town to hang on their Christmas tree.

In addition you will need paint or stain and glue to put the layers together.

Final ornament size is about 4" or 110mm.

Note: Choosing a location with water will add to the visual interest to the ornament.
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Step 1
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Prepare you map files - with snazzymaps.com


These steps probably seems the most complex and time intensive but once you try it once, it's not that bad.


We will be using a website called snazzymaps that allows you to customized and isolate layers In Google maps.


Start by loading this website: https://snazzymaps.com/



Step 2
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  1. Use the map window to navigate to where you want to customize your map.
  2. From the snazzymaps website click the "BUILD A MAP" item from the top menu. This will launch the Build a map screen.
Step 3
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  1. I like to start with an existing style "Blue Water" by Daniel, pick that style and you can search by name.
Step 4
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  1. Once your style is picked, click the green box with the arrow to "View Style Details" this is where you will customize the style and settings.
Step 5
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  1. From this page you click on the "Customize" menu with the paintbrush, this will launch the editor.
Step 6
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The style editor is where you can turn on and off features such as water and roads.


The way this is achieved is going through each of the different features and turn off the geometry and the labels, and then selectively turning them on and downloading the image file to be converted into your layers.


Please watch the video as it is a little easier to follow the steps in the video.





Step 7
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The next few steps are done in a photo editor like Adobe Photoshop or Affinity Designer or GIMP (free).


  1. Make a base layer the dimensions of the map layers (3000 x 3000 px)
  2. Open each of the exported map layers
  3. Making the grey/white transparent by selecting by color and clearing selection
  4. Copy and paste the remaining image to a new layer on the base layer
  5. Mask off the layers by drawing a circle and selecting the inverse and clearing the area outside the circle
  6. Draw a stroke line of 3px around map image for each of the layers
  7. Then you will export the layers one by one by making each layer visible using the show/hide layer functions



There will be one layer that will be engraved and 2 layers that will be cut files that need to be converted to SVG in the next step.


Please watch the following video for details.



Step 8
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  1. For the next step of converting PNG to SVG we will be using a website https://convertio.co/
  2. Choose your 2 cut files and upload them to convertio.co
  3. Pick the desired output format: Vector - SVG
  4. Process and download your converted SVG files




Please watch the following video for details.



Step 9
  1. Import your files into XCS using the "Image" button on the side menu
  2. Size the imported images to the same width and height, XCS imported them all to 300mm x 300mm but you may want to verify.
  3. For the engrave layer, open up the "Edit image" window on the right hand side and remove any white space that is not transparent.
  4. For the water outline cut file for layer 1a,
  5. Draw a circle 280mm x 280mm and center over the imported SVG file
  6. Select "Combine" and "Unite at overlap"
  7. Draw a 300mm x 300mm circle and center over the water outline map
  8. Select both objects, select "Combine" and "Subtract at overlap"
  9. For the raised street layer 2
  10. Create an outer circle of 300mm x 300mm
  11. Create an inner circle of 280mm x 280mm and align to the center of the outer circle
  12. Unite the circles using the "Combine" menu and "Subtract at overlap"
  13. Copy ring and paste for following step
  14. Overlay the ring over layer 2 and "Combine" and "Subtract at overlap"
  15. Draw the top layer with the town/city name
  16. Insert text object and type the town name in your choice of font
  17. Select and Outline the text object, I choose 3mm outline
  18. Move the outline to bottom of the copy and pasted ring so that it overlaps at the edges to hold the shape together
  19. "Combine" and "Unite" to merge the outline with the ring
  20. Draw the bottom layer by making a 300x300mm circle
  21. Add the string/hook loop at the top of the layers
  22. Draw a smaller circle (approx. 35x35mm)
  23. Draw a 2nd smaller circle (approx. 30x30mm)
  24. Align/center the circles and "Combine" and "Subtract at overlap"
  25. Center the new hole ring at the top of all the layers and "Combine" and "Unite" to add the hook hole



Please watch the following video for details.




Step 10
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Setting 1
Process Method
Laser Cut
Process Material
3mm Basswood Plywood
Power(%) or Cut Pressure(g)
100
Speed(mm/s)
8
Lines per cm
100
Pass
2
Bitmap mode
Grayscale
Other Parameters
For layer 0 (base layer) and layer 3 (top/word overlay) - these are cut from 3mm wood. Used honeycomb and air assist for best results.
Setting 2
Process Method
Vector Laser Engrave
Process Material
3mm Basswood Plywood
Power(%) or Cut Pressure(g)
100
Speed(mm/s)
100
Lines per cm
100
Pass
1
Other Parameters
For layer 3 (top/word overlay) - these are engraved in 3mm wood. Used honeycomb and air assist for best results.
Setting 3
Process Method
Laser Cut
Process Material
Paper
Power(%) or Cut Pressure(g)
100
Speed(mm/s)
20
Lines per cm
100
Pass
1
Other Parameters
Layer 1 (street engrave and water cut) and Layer 2 (raised street) is made out of paperboard that is like single layer cardboard. Used honeycomb and air assist for best results.
Setting 4
Process Method
Bitmap Laser Engrave
Process Material
Paper
Power(%) or Cut Pressure(g)
100
Speed(mm/s)
140
Lines per cm
100
Pass
1
Bitmap mode
Grayscale
Other Parameters
Used honeycomb and air assist for best results.

Cut your layers using xTool M1

  1. Wood layers (layer 0 and layer 3)
  2. Paper layers (layer 1 and layer 2)
Step 11
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Finish and Assembly


  1. Layer 0 is the background/base, it is painted blue for the water that will show through
  2. I use a leather dye by Angelus that I mix down 25/1 with rubbing alcohol and spray with a small spray bottle
  3. Layer 3 is the top layer, I painted it gold prior to engraving and cutting it
  4. I used an acrylic gold paint
  5. Layer 1 & Layer 2 are glued together. I did this before trying to glue to the wood, let dry for a few minutes before trying to glue to the base wood in the next step
  6. For glue, I use Tacky Glue
  7. Glue the Layer 1 and Layer 2 that were assembled in the previous step to the base Layer 0
  8. Glue the top Layer 3 to the top of the cardboard
  9. Clamp or put under some books to hold flat while glue dries
Design Files
FalmouthForesideOrnament.xcs
#xToolChristmasgift
xToolChristmasgift
ornament
layers
map
Christmas
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