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Subject: Do it Yourself Dice Trays on the Cheap rss

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Lewis Goldberg
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I've been thinking about dice trays lately. Like about every time we play a game, and the dice roll into a stack of neatly arranged tank counters and scatter them across the Ardennes.

There are some great dice trays that you can find at game stores, I'm thinking of the octagonal ones, about 10" across, made of very nice wood with felt lining. But they cost like $20. I'm not saying they're not worth it (they are), but when you have little (and big) mouths to feed, blowing a 20 on a wooden tray doesn't make for domestic harmony.

So today, I went into Hobby Lobby to get a clock mechanism for an old clock that belonged to my wife's grandmother. It is a simple kitchen clock, but the sentimental value is high, so I think this is the second new mechanism we've put into it since she passed away in 1995. Anyway, Hobby Lobby has this aisle that contains lots and lots of wooden boxes that people use for crafts, where they paint them, or whatever. They're light, thin wood, but they're cheaper than dirt. You may also try Michael's Crafts, or even larger JoAnn's Fabric stores, as well. For our international friends, I have no idea what the equivalent outlet may be ... sorry!

So I walk down the wooden box aisle (after finding the clock, of course) and lo and behold, they just happen to have a set of three nesting trays, octagonal in shape (though elongated, which is okay too), for $2.50 to $2.95 a piece!! meeple

So this evening, I put together a couple of nifty dice trays, and with the felt included (25 cents a sheet) I spent around $6.00 plus tax.

Here's how I did it, if you want to try it out.

1. Wrap some scotch tape around the lip of the tray.

2. Place the tray inverted over the felt, and trace around the tray with a felt-tip marker. The tape prevents you from marking the wood. Less important if you plan on painting the tray. It'll look like this:



3. Cut the felt out just inside the line you made.

4. You should now be able to push the felt all the way into the bottom of the tray, with a small margin poking up on all edges. Use a plastic kitchen spatula to push the felt all the way into the corners all the way around.

5. Take a ball-point pen and trace a light line in the corners of the tray, all the way around.

6. Cut the felt out a second time, using the new line. The felt should fit into the tray easily now. Don't worry if it doesn't reach absolutely all the way to every edge - felt is stretchy, and after the glue is in, you will be able to fix the gaps.

7. Squeeze out some white glue in the bottom of the tray. It should be enough that you can use your finger to smear it all over every bit of the surface. Make sure to get all the way to the edges. Avoid puddles, and don't leave dry spots. Detached felt in a dice tray is a bad thing.

8. Put the felt in again, as straight as you can. Rub the felt with your fingers to smooth it out across the bottom, then observe where any gaps are. Take your plastic spatula, and gently push the felt just behind the gap to stretch it out to the edge.

Do not try to stretch the felt to the "right dimensions" in your hands before placing it on the glue! It will end up misshapen and lumpy, thus giving unsatisfying performance.


When the felt is in and stretched to the edges, the tray should like like this:



These trays were part of a nested set of three, but I did not get the largest size - I didn't think it was the right size for my game table. The ones I bought were from the last set of three they had (it's a set, but individually priced), but the lady at Hobby Lobby said there should be three more sets on Thursday ... I think I'll go back and break up some more sets devil



Well, there's my project. I hope you enjoyed it and can make use of it. Please share your results here if able. Also, I am sure there are other ways to do this, so if anyone else has good ideas, feel free to post them here.

Happy Die Rolling!!
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Chris Miller
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I've made some very similar ones but used self-adhesive foam sheets instead of the felt.
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Jonathan Powell
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Well done. I did something similar with a picture frame that was just lying around. I took out the glass, glued felt onto the chipboard backing, unscrewed all the hardware off the back of the frame (hook, folding leg, etc.) and glued on four thick washers for feet. Works really well with the cheap cardboard box dice tower that I made.
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Nisha Holloway
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Nice. And the handles make it a handy drink tray when you're not rolling dice in it
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Ze Masqued Cucumber
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Nice job. I've used almost exactly the same method for my "mini dice tray":

(click for how-to)

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millercv wrote:
I've made some very similar ones but used self-adhesive foam sheets instead of the felt.

Using anything other than self-adhesive sheets is madness.

I made mine when we were in a Deadlands campaign and I cut up a bunch of Deadlands cards and glued to the outside and upper rim edges which really overcomes the bland color of the wood.
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Lewis Goldberg
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Roolz wrote:
Nice job. I've used almost exactly the same method for my "mini dice tray":

(click for how-to)


Looks very nice! Where did you find a hexagon tray?

Mine look somewhat better in person than what the pictures show - my phone camera didn't do justice.

I may try staining and varnishing the wood, as well.
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Lewis Goldberg
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ukraineboo wrote:
Well done. I did something similar with a picture frame that was just lying around. I took out the glass, glued felt onto the chipboard backing, unscrewed all the hardware off the back of the frame (hook, folding leg, etc.) and glued on four thick washers for feet. Works really well with the cheap cardboard box dice tower that I made.

I like that idea too. There are probably lots of common things out there that would make good dice trays.
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David Gray
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Now all you need is a tower on the inside!
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lgoldberg wrote:
Looks very nice! Where did you find a hexagon tray?
Thanks. I found it in a craft store nearby.
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Lewis Goldberg
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graydo wrote:
Now all you need is a tower on the inside!

I used to be into dice towers, but now I prefer the simplicity of the tray alone. I have a tower that I made myself, but I use it primarily for holding dice on my shelf.
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Tom McThorn
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Now I have a weekend project...between scrap lumber and leftover felt bits I should be able to make one. I even have a cutoff saw so I can make a hexagon shaped dice tray.
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Lewis Goldberg
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Starfury wrote:
Now I have a weekend project...between scrap lumber and leftover felt bits I should be able to make one. I even have a cutoff saw so I can make a hexagon shaped dice tray.

Would be glad if you came back here and shared a pic if you are able. :-)
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Matt
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Hi everybody,

I wanted to share the dice tray that I made today.

I purchased two items from Hobby Lobby:

Cheap shadow box frame (grey)
Felt sticker (black)

Total cost with 40% off one item coupon: $6.98



To make this, I had to break the glass out of the frame (frame is build around the glass panel), then take the back board out (like you are inserting a photo) and just traced the board onto the back of the felt sticker with a pen.

I then measured all sides of the inside of the box up to wear the glass was, and cut my felt the appropriate size.

Then apply all the felt, put the back onto the frame, VIOLA!



Sorry about the crummy photos, I'm no photographer.
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Sean Boyll
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I used the same trays but with a self adhesive cork. They turned out real quiet.
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Bob Kohut
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I use the boxes that my bank checks come in. Line with felt. Everybody gets their own box. They don't take up much space. Great for the 4 player games. Nobody has to reach across the table to roll or retrieve the dice.
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Lewis Goldberg
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lgoldberg wrote:
graydo wrote:
Now all you need is a tower on the inside!

I used to be into dice towers, but now I prefer the simplicity of the tray alone. I have a tower that I made myself, but I use it primarily for holding dice on my shelf.

And then I contradict myself... shake

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/10620333#10620333
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No matter what you use for the dampening material, go with self adhesive. The cost increase is negligible compared to the ease of application.
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Sam Phillips Beckerman
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After checking out the games at a thrift store, I usually wander down the Nick-knack aisles - occasionally a nice wooden something jumps out at me that just needs to have a piece of cork or felt to make a classy dice tray. These are cheaper and better quality wood than what I would be willing to buy at a retail store. They make great gifts.
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James Garcia
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I did this method almost to the T with the same boxes and it worked out great. I added a few extra steps and put felt on the inside walls as well. Covering up the walls was surprisingly easy. The only bad thing is the felt covers up the handle holes but that doesn't bother me at all, I mean this box is tiny and was a few ounces so I wouldn't be using the handles anyway. I made a black one and a green one. I am considering making 2-3 more with some different colors and painting the box. The colors I'd use would be red, blue, and maybe one with a silly print or pink. I did see a felt sheet that had dinosaurs
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Andrew Adams
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Just finished making my own dice trays tonight. Picked up 4 shadow box frames from Michael's, some self adhesive felt, and some self adhesive foam pads.

Took the glass out of the shadow boxes, measured and cut the felt to fit the sides and back of the shadow box, also cut the foam pad to fit the back.

Placed the 4 side pieces of felt into the frame, then fit the back piece of foam pad in the frame and lastly the final back piece of felt overtop the foam pad.

The foam pad dampens the sound as the dice roll into the tray, great for keeping conversation going while you're playing or if you have kids who may be sleeping while you're gaming with your friends.

Total cost of all materials: $20 (with a 25% off all items coupon for Michaels)

And the finished product:





Edit: I actually chose those particular colors because they match the player colors for Quarriors!. Though they certainly work for any game where individuals might need or want to have a personal dice tray while they play.
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If you want a SUPER cheap dice tray that is themed, use the box to a game expansion you aren't using. Fantasy Flight's LCG deluxe expansions are great.

For example, I just store all of my Lord of the Rings LCG cards in the main box, so I had the boxes from Khazad-Dum and The Hobbit: Over The Hill and Under The Hill left over. I use KD as a travel box for LotR, but the Hobbit one I lined with a 99 cent piece of adhesive felt.

Voila! 99 cent dice tray!
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Lewis Goldberg
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ImhotepMagi wrote:
If you want a SUPER cheap dice tray that is themed, use the box to a game expansion you aren't using. Fantasy Flight's LCG deluxe expansions are great.

For example, I just store all of my Lord of the Rings LCG cards in the main box, so I had the boxes from Khazad-Dum and The Hobbit: Over The Hill and Under The Hill left over. I use KD as a travel box for LotR, but the Hobbit one I lined with a 99 cent piece of adhesive felt.

Voila! 99 cent dice tray!

Rolling dice in the box lid? We've come full-circle now!
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lgoldberg wrote:
ImhotepMagi wrote:
If you want a SUPER cheap dice tray that is themed, use the box to a game expansion you aren't using. Fantasy Flight's LCG deluxe expansions are great.

For example, I just store all of my Lord of the Rings LCG cards in the main box, so I had the boxes from Khazad-Dum and The Hobbit: Over The Hill and Under The Hill left over. I use KD as a travel box for LotR, but the Hobbit one I lined with a 99 cent piece of adhesive felt.

Voila! 99 cent dice tray!

Rolling dice in the box lid? We've come full-circle now!
Shocking, I know! It's almost as if dice trays were luxury items we don't really need...whistle
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R J
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I found a cheap copy of shut the box at goodwill, the numbers have sliders over them so it's nice and flat and good as a dice tray. Good find for $1.99.
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