Intro: Upcycled Dice Tray
Everybody gets a bit over zealous with that last roll in whatever game every once in a while. Sending dice soaring into the abyss that is off the edge of the table and apparently under something but heaven knows what because you will not see that die again until you move.
I got the urge to have some dice trays recently but a decided lack of an urge to pay $30-35 for one so I did some thrifting, made a stop off at a craft store, made made my own. Here is how.
- Tray or container. If you do not have something already you can do what I did and hit up a few thrift stores. There are lots of good options. I made 2. One out of an ammo tray from a gun safe and the other out of something I think was meant to hold potpourri. Really anything will work as long as it has a flat bottom and sides.
- Spray adhesive (al la super 77)
- (optional) Paint
- Newspaper or cardboard
- Cutting implement for the felt. Scissors or a rotary cutter and mat.
If you are going to paint the trays you will need:
- 220 grit sand paper
- Something you do not mind getting paint on. Such as old newspaper.
Step 1: Prep the Box
Clean up the box. Remove any unwanted stickers and associated goo. Give the whole thing a wash with water and rag making sure to clean the inside bottom of the box very well and remove any debris or dust that might be there. You want a good clean surface for the glue to adhere to.
Step 2: (optional) Paint!
My trays were a bit beat up so I decided to give them a fresh coat of paint to spruce them up and make them look a bit more matched.
- Rough up the surface of the box with 220 grit sand paper. This makes the paint you are about to apply adhere better.
- Working in thin, even coats apply 2-4 coats of your paint of choice. I went with a cheap gloss black acrylic that you can pick up at the hobby store in those $1 bottles.
- Let the paint fully cure. If you used cheap acrylic like me that means letting it sit overnight.
Step 3: Prepare the Felt
In my rigorous testing of laying pieces of felt on the bottom of the box and throwing dice on it till I got the level of muffling I liked I found that 3 layers of standard felt is the sweet spot. Past that and it gets a bit too bouncy. Below that and your dice box is kind of loud. If you get lucky at the craft store they might have triple thick felt but I have not found it very often.
If you do not find triple thick felt I recommend going to the fabric section and getting about 1/3 of a yard of really nice felt in the color of your choice. This will be the top layer. Then, pop over to the kids section and pick up any old crafting felt. This is what you are going to use as the extra padding. It is a lot cheaper, you are not ever going to see it, and it pads just as well. Color does not matter unless your top color is while and you think the other felt might show through.
- Measure the inside of your box
- Using a ruler to mark the felt to make sure you keep it square cut 3 pieces of felt to fit the bottom of your box.
Step 4: Applying the Felt
Fair warning, spray adhesive smells a bit like death. You should do this step in a well ventilated area.
- Take the first piece of your lower quality felt and spray one side of it with the adhesive. Let it sit a few minutes to set up according to the instructions on your adhesive.
- Starting with a short side carefully line up the felt to the inside of the bottom of the box and pres it into place from that end to the other holding the end up with your other hand and pressing it down with the other. An un-sharpened pencil works good here to help work the felt down.
- Repeat with layers 2 and 3
- using your finger or some flat tool like a flat screwdriver to a Popsicle stick push the felt down all around the edge to make sure there is no exposed edge of felt so it will not fray.
- Let it dry/air out. Really just let it stop smelling like death.
Step 5: Roll
Break it in with some dice. You are done and the proud owner of a new dice box for a total of about $5. It is a fact that your dice will appreciate you for all your effort and they will roll better. That is exactly how that works.