Introduction: Budget-Friendly D&D Miniatures

I wanted to have movable tokens for my D&D sessions that also showed what the creatures looked like, but building up a collection of D&D miniatures is an expensive endeavor. A tabletop miniature typically starts around $5.00 and goes up from there! The solution I came up with is budget-friendly, easy to make, and works really well for a tabletop combat grid. The bases are solid to prevent being easily knocked over and you can make miniatures out of any image you want.


  • clear flat marbles
  • clear packing tape
  • hot glue gun
  • elmer's glue/glue-stick
  • scissors
  • cardstock paper
  • color printer

Step 1: Printing Images

First, insert the images of your characters and monsters into a Word document. Then copy and paste the images right above themselves. While the copied image is selected, go to the picture format tab and under the rotate option select flip vertical. This will allow your miniatures to be double-sided and line up on both sides so they can be easily cut out. Be sure to include enough spacing between the images in your document for cutting out later. Print your creatures on cardstock paper.

Step 2: Cutting and "Laminating"

After printing the images, cut them into smaller groups for easier folding and cutting. Be sure to fold the images exactly in half; otherwise, the images won't line up back to back and you risk cutting into the image on one side. The miniature can be cut into squares or follow the outline of the character. The aesthetic of your miniature is up to you!

After the character is cut out, fold a strip of packing tape over the cutout so the sticky sides of the tape come together. Cut the packing tape around the paper leaving a little space for the tape to stay together. This is a cost effective way to "laminate" the miniature and protect it from being bent or smudged with grease.

Step 3: Gluing to Base

Cut the bottom of the paper miniature into a gradual arch so that it better aligns with the curve of the flat marble. Using a hot glue gun, squeeze a strip of hot glue across the top of the marble. Quickly take the cut out miniature and press it into the middle of the hot glue strip. Allow a minute to dry and the miniature should have a solid base now. You can also use large flat marbles for creatures that are size large. It makes for a great size difference on combat grids.

Step 4: Bonus! Color Bases

If you have a group of the same type of creatures and you want to make them easily distinguishable in combat, then you can cut out a small circle of colored paper and put a dot of glue on it and press it to the bottom of the marble. While the miniature is standing, the color of the paper will show through the clear marble giving the base of your miniature a custom color.

Glue & Tape Speed Challenge

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Glue & Tape Speed Challenge