Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A simple dicing box for $2 (US)

My husband was in serious need of paint brushes after a week or so of frantic demon-painting, and so we found ourselves at the local HobbyLobby today. While there, I decided to pick up some things and do a little craft project I've been meaning to do but keep forgetting.

Now I know there are some folks over on the HirstArts web site who have designed some amazing dice-tumbling towers with complicated chutes and funnels all to make your players green with envy...and that's all fine and good if you want to spend a little money and a LOT of time making one..but for the rest of us who just need a place to roll the dice that will keep the dice on the game table without scratching up the surface of said table, here's what I made today.

Start with a simple wooden tray. Hobby Lobby sells them in various sizes and shapes and they cost anywhere from 99 cents to $2.99 depending on size. I chose this cute little oblong octagonal one. The one in the picture above is 8" long measured from outside edges.

Next, get a sheet of FunkyFoam. This stuff comes in all sorts of colours and in my humble opinion is something that no gamer should be without. The greens, browns and blues make for excellent ground scenics on the cheap, and the soft material is kinder to your painted models than traditional flocked felt or sculpted sand tables.

Start by aligning the tray with two edges of the foam. This saves cutting. Then with a pencil trace the outside edges of the box onto the foam.

When your done doing that, set the tray aside and use a scribing tool or something similar to draw a second smaller outline in the middle of the first tracing. I just so happened to have a craft stick that was exactly as wide as the sides of the tray so I used that to trace out the interior shape.

Then, cut out the exterior tracing, being careful to only trim along the drawn lines. Repeat with the interior shape. As you can see in the picture above, the interior shape will become the bottom liner of the box, and the foam between the interior and exterior shapes will become the tabletop-protection padding on the bottom. The bottom liner, if sized right, may not even require glue. The padding underneath can be attached with any white craft glue. Superglue should not be used with FunkyFoam, as it will dissolve it.

End result..you will have a simple and lightweight dicing box that keeps the dice in one place, saves your tabletop from scratches and dings, and can even be a nifty gift to a fellow gamer.

If you want to be fancy, you can always finish out the tray with some fine sandpaper and a stain or varnish and maybe even get a woodburning tool and personalize the tray. You could also substitute felt for foam if you want, though the foam really cuts down on the bouncing and clattering when you roll the dice.

So far, my tray has not proven to help my dice roll any better, but on the bright side, they've not gotten any worse.

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