While browsing the dark aisles of a local box store, I happen to come upon a clearance item that screamed “dice box”. For $3.50 USD, I had to do it. I could have left it as is and been about my business, but that isn’t very fun. So here’s what I did to customize it and make it my own:
Step 01: Come up with your design.
In this situation, I went over to my local makerspace to take advantage of their Cricut die-cutter and some vinyl. I did this because I can’t draw worth squat and I wanted as clean of a logo as I could get for my dice bin. I used the Cricut software (free) to create my design and used the equipment there to cut it in vinyl. The vinyl allows me to apply the design to the bin without it sliding around or having to draw or tape it off. I can remove the vinyl later.
Step 02: Apply your design
I’ve cut out a reverse image for my design to create a template. Here, I’m applying the template the same way I would put the decal on the back of a laptop or car window. Nothing special.
Step 03: Make it shine!
I applied some wood-stain to try to give my dice box a more sophisticated look. Plus if this fails miserably, I can just paint over it. You can see the right side got some stain spilled on the wall. I’ll probably paint the walls to give contrast and hide my shame.
Step 04: Remove the vinyl and see what needs fixing
Well, I forgot to get a photo of this step. I removed the vinyl and I was pleased overall. My application of the stain was poor. I did not do multiple coats. I did not sand anything down. I played it on pretty thick. So my inner craftsman isn’t speaking to me anymore. But it looks ok and I’m willing to accept it as a first attempt at this kind of project.
Step 05: Finishing touches and sealing
I painted the edges to cover where the stain touched things by accident. Just a couple coats of some black paint. I think it also helps highlight or frame things. Close up, it probably needs another coat or two, has some hiccups and blemishes that could be sanded away. From 3 feet away or further, I think it works. Again, first attempt at this kind of thing. I’ve definitely learned some ways I would improve when I do it again.
I applied a spray varnish on it. The same matte finish stuff I use for miniatures. I’m hoping that helps protect the absurdly applied stain from getting damaged from any dice rattling around in there.
As I said, I made some mistakes. My stain application was poorly done. I had some stain hit areas I didn’t want it to. I should have taped things off. The thinner areas of vinyl didn’t stick to the wood very well and allowed stain to get under them. I should have sanded this. Maybe a few other things as well. Overall though, I’m pleased. I think this will be a fine dice box. On the next version, or even on this one after the fact, I might add a thin layer of foam or rubber on the back to help reduce the hollow noise when rolling dice in there. Right now it kind of sounds like someone rolling on a Realm of Battle board. Not sure how I feel about that yet. Having spent about $3 for the box, $2 for vinyl at my local makerspace, and using some leftover stain and paint I had laying around at home, I’m fairly pleased.