Backer material that looks like water?

Hi all! I am going to make a lake art gift where I will laser cut the shape of the lake out of a 20x12 sheet, add text and decoration, etc. I’d like to back the piece with something blue so that the lake cut out is blue…evoking the sense of water. Any ideas?

I don’t want to use a full matching sheet of acrylic and would prefer something thinner. Aluminum? Are there metallic papers that would be durable enough?


Durable enough to do what?
(Like if it were hanging on a wall tissue paper would be fine but certainly not for coasters)

The most common thing like what you are looking for is mirrored acrylic.

There are really good paints and cardstock options out there. I’d paint your material then cut it or in the case of cardstock you can glue it to the material then cut the cardstock/substrate combo.

Take a look at my mandalas to see how it can look.

Also look at @Whengeekscraft’s map posts. They use poured resin to great effect.


Durable enough not to degrade over time. Anodized aluminum, for example, would last forever. Not sure about fancy metallic paper though.

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Beautiful mandala work. I’ve poured my fair share of resin and am worn out from it :smile:

Is this the kind of cardstock you were thinking about?

Many bathymetric maps use painted plywood.

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You might want to check out this video on the making of a map.


So maybe? The thing to “worry” about with foil cardstocks is that if the foil is really metal, the glowforge can’t really cut it. I did fool with some great metallic foil cardstocks, and the key was cutting them from the back. The foil tears quite cleanly, or at least it did on mine. I posted about it, let’s see if I can find it…


I don’t need to cut the card stock – just adhere it to the underside of the wood where the lake shape itself will be cut out. I just don’t want it to look chinsy compared to an acrylic or anodized aluminum.

There are more styles of cardstock with more finishes than you think. I’m sure there’s something good out there.

Here’s a crazy idea too: a really nice print of whatever image you want as your underlayer. You can make your own printed ocean image and go from there. If you dont want to do that, find a nice wrapping paper or premade printed cardstock and go with that. Several people have used very pretty origami papers as backings to similar effect… here’s one from @monosyth

Nothing chintzy about using cool mixed materials.


Great idea!!!

I would do it with resin, like @Whengeekscraft does. Another resource with details on how to do water ripples in epoxy resin would be this one:


Gotcha. I’d go with paint or resin over plywood as @eflyguy suggests. More personal than an even toned material.

@riverbank, I used pigmented resin in

Resin map


its weird being referenced by people as the person that knows something lol thats neat

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Not weird at all. I think your resin pours and use in mapmaking are easily the best on the forum. The D&D covers and the maps are far beyond what other people are posting.

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i appreciate that but i dont personally feel like i am very good yet but thats because im annoyingly critical of myself.

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