Freelance Knight

Side Project: DIY Dice Trays

Side Project: DIY Dice Trays

Side Project: DIY Dice Trays

Like many avid gamers, I am slowly (VERY slowly) saving up for a large Geek Chic table to replace our dining room table. Even my wife agrees that it would enhance our hobbies because we could leave games and craft projects set up inside the table while we use the top for meals. Until that future day when we have such a table, one of our challenges is keeping dice in check while gaming. Some of our more zealous friends and family can really chuck dice which then bounce off the table onto the floor. Having seen quite a few simple DIY dice trays, I decided to make some for our family.

I have tried two styles of DIY dice trays (bowls and frames) and not sure which I like best as of yet. I think it will take a few months of using them and perhaps making a few other variants to see what style I prefer the most.

DIY Bowl Dice Tray DIY Bowl Dice Tray

My first attempt was using two wooden bowls I found at a nearby flea market plus some felt I purchased at Hobby Lobby. I really think the stained wood looks beautiful, even when it is just sitting on the shelf. Both bowls are also very compact. They fit easily behind a GM’s screen and can be readily passed from player to player during dice based games. I have found two issues with them, though. The bowl with the wavy sides has a slope toward the center, thus the dice all want to congregate together and don’t bounce as well when rolled. And both bowls are rather small, limiting the number and size of dice you can roll within them. I am curious to try some larger wooden bowls (perhaps a smaller salad bowl) to see if they would resolve the size and slope issue. I really do like the aesthetic of the round wooden bowl.

DIY Frame Dice TrayMy second attempt was using a deep 5″ x 7″ frame I found at the nearby Goodwill. I had seen some tutorials online of converting IKEA frames to dice trays so I tried the same with this frame and the felt I purchased. Functionally, this frame-based dice tray works great. The dice roll very well, and it takes a really hard throw to get over the edges of the frame. Even large dice, like those in King of Tokyo, can work in this dice tray. Aesthetically, I feel the black rectangle is rather bland.

What I liked most about these projects is that they were easy and cost less than a $3 by using thrift store finds and bulk sale priced felt. With some more patient thrift sifting, I hope to find more bowls and frames to try different sizes and shapes to get a better feel of what works best. For my local gaming friends reading this, I am going to have some extra dice tray prototypes available if you would like one.

Have you tried making dice trays? Do you prefer dice trays or dice towers? I have seen some plans for foam core dice towers that interest me as well. Look for those in a future installment of Side Projects.

Share

10 thoughts on “Side Project: DIY Dice Trays

  1. Angie Knight

    I know you find the black frame tray “plain,” but as I’ve thought about this (and just went and took another look at all three), I think it’s classy in its simplicity. :)

    1. T.R. Knight Post author

      And the black frame dice tray is the most functional so it is growing on me. I think I would like a frame dice tray better if I could find a stained wood one to utilize.

  2. Barbara Dixon

    Although the black frame is plain, there is no reason for it to stay that way. Enamel paints, or possibly even permanent markers could jazz it up a bit.

    1. T.R. Knight Post author

      My wife enjoys the classy look of the black frame so it will likely remain a classic look. The next frame I find to make one of these will likely be painted or something to make it more exciting. :)

    1. T.R. Knight Post author

      The bowls are apparently monkey pod wood from Hawaii and likely were a souvenir purchase at some time. I got both of them, two smaller oddly shaped bowls and a napkin holder all for $6 at the flea market. I am watching at flea markets and Goodwill for more wooden bowls. I really think they made some very classic dice trays once you clean them up and use some wood wax on them to seal them.

  3. David Miller

    hmm, so you’d probably want to use that resin to make a flat bottom before sealing the wood to insure strong bonding, then glue the felt onto the resin after oiling.

    With the flea market approach, I think you could create a very nice Etsy business with these bowls, they’d all be unique and I’d easily pay $30 plus $10 shipping for that wavy one. Add another $5 if you date and autograph the bottom!

    1. T.R. Knight Post author

      I craft these as a hobby, not a business. My work is very mental so I enjoy physical crafts and hobbies as a change of pace. I prefer to share my extras with friends as gifts rather than making a business of them.

    1. T.R. Knight Post author

      What a great discussion on Dice Trays. Thanks for sharing!

      I will have to spend some time today reading through that in more detail. Great ideas there.