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Map of Austin's Neighborhoods

Posted by Fallon Foster on

This order has lots of things I really like: a map, Austin, and one heck of a challenge.  For one thing all of the text had to be carved by hand and it didn't help that transfers are always a bit goofy on 11x17 maps.  The printed transfers never quite line up just right and get a little fuzzy around the edges. 

Tougher than that though was the staining.  I wanted to keep a mosaic look with a handful of bright colors randomly spread over the neighborhoods.  Normally I'd apply the colors then put an overcoat (a mix of gel stain and finish) over them to bring out the carving and it'd be easy peasy.  In this case though, three of the colors (yellow, green, and purple) pretty much disappeared under the overcoat.  So in this case I reversed the order by applying the overcoat first and then carefully painting in each neighborhood to maintain the lines & text as nicely as possible.

The big downside being that the finish in the "over"coat kept the stain from bonding as neatly as it normally wood.  So there was a fair bit of work to clean it up as I went and the final result still looks a bit more mottled than normal.  It's not a look I'd normally go for but it's growing on me in this case.  If nothing else it's pretty good proof that it was hand made.