Introduction: Basically Free Toys-to-life Figurine Storage

Toys-to-life games like Disney Infinity, Skylanders, and Amiibo are a growing genre of videogames. Licensed storage solutions are usually expensive, inefficient, and for small collections. Off-the-shelf, third-party storage is either not customized or inadequate. It's a hobby that can get expensive, and can be made more expensive by replacing broken figures. But safe storage doesn't have to be expensive.

I don't like the amount of wallspace such a collection would eat, and they'd have to be placed too high for kids to reach to keep them safe from pets. Instead, I came up with this. It used storage I already had, so the price was right.

This instructable focuses on Disney Infinity figures, but the method would work for any figures with round bases. This is my first instructable, so feedback is welcome.


Supplies:

  • As many shallow, stackable storage containers as you need. I had two in less-than-perfect condition on hand.
  • enough cardboard to cover the base of each container
  • poster tack to hold down the cardboard in the container and hold templates in place (optional)

Tools:

  • Utility knife and/or X-ACTO type knife
  • Pencil
  • Cutting mat or scrap cardboard
  • Correctly-sized piece of something

Step 1: The Original Solution

I tried this first. Just made a grid of cardboard that would fit the entire collection in two containers I already had on hand.

It left a lot to be desired. The figures are different sizes, and stick out at odd angles, so clearing the cardboard was tricky. Game mechanics require switching characters when one is defeated, so quickly jerking one out of the grid usually pulled the cardboard out of the box, or pulled at a figurine's appendages. It also wasn't the most efficient packing solution - the figurines' footprint allowed for more dense packing, but the cardboard didn't.

I could tape down the cardboard, cut holes for each piece that needed additional clearance, but with more figures coming out, I knew I'd need to make better use of the space.

Step 2: Think About It

Playing with the figures without anything to hold them let me see what packing would work. In this case, nine columns of five in a beehive pattern would work well in equal spacing. The "dead" space in each row would be good for larger figures.

For rough measurements, I laid a craft mat beneath the tray and eyeballed it.

Step 3: Measure Twice, Cut Once. or Just Trace Lazily, and Wing It. Cardboard Is Free.

The bottom of the tray is curved, so I'd have to accommodate that in measurements. I ended up tracing the footprint with a mechanical pencil, and that gave me result close enough to cut. Getting the angle of the pencil just right got a very good fit on the first try.

I cut it with the first utility knife I found.

Step 4: Figure Out Your Packing

I knew what I'd be going with, roughly. I could have used my figures, but the Disney Infinity power discs are the same dimensions, so I used those as stand-ins. I laid it out and traced the pieces onto the cardboard in the optimal layout.

If you can't do this, like with Amiibo, just find something in your house that is almost the same size. In this case, the inset of a cookie tin lid is the same size as an ability disc, so I could have used that as a template for cutting my circles.You could also use a specialized hole-cutting drill bit if you chose to use something like pressboard instead of cardboard, but a knife and a template were quick enough to suit my needs.

I attached poster tack to one disc to hold it securely while I used it as a template. I held it down with one hand and moved around it with an X-ACTO blade. I undercut the disc slightly, because I wanted the figures to fit securely.

Be careful. If you haven't cut cardboard like this, you should know that the corrugations can get tricky, and if you're trying to cut it all in a single pass, you can easily throw the blade out and marr your work or cut yourself. Be patient and take a few passes, and mind your fingers.

Step 5: Finished!

The undercut circles grip the discs securely enough to hold them in place without falling, but not so tightly that removing them topples other pieces. I got the room that I needed and they don't bump each other.

Comments

author
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2015-12-19

Nice organizer system. I need to make something like this for my DND miniatures.

author

I understand the D&D minifigurine system uses three base sizes, but they are all circular and of the same depth, which should be less then the thickness of a single sheet of cardboard. So this should work.

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