Like many avid gamers, I am slowly (VERY slowly) saving up for a large Geek Chic table to replace our dining room table. Even my wife agrees that it would enhance our hobbies because we could leave games and craft projects set up inside the table while we use the top for meals. Until that future day when we have such a table, one of our challenges is keeping dice in check while gaming. Some of our more zealous friends and family can really chuck dice which then bounce off the table onto the floor. Having seen quite a few simple DIY dice trays, I decided to make some for our family.
I have tried two styles of DIY dice trays (bowls and frames) and not sure which I like best as of yet. I think it will take a few months of using them and perhaps making a few other variants to see what style I prefer the most.
My first attempt was using two wooden bowls I found at a nearby flea market plus some felt I purchased at Hobby Lobby. I really think the stained wood looks beautiful, even when it is just sitting on the shelf. Both bowls are also very compact. They fit easily behind a GM’s screen and can be readily passed from player to player during dice based games. I have found two issues with them, though. The bowl with the wavy sides has a slope toward the center, thus the dice all want to congregate together and don’t bounce as well when rolled. And both bowls are rather small, limiting the number and size of dice you can roll within them. I am curious to try some larger wooden bowls (perhaps a smaller salad bowl) to see if they would resolve the size and slope issue. I really do like the aesthetic of the round wooden bowl.
My second attempt was using a deep 5″ x 7″ frame I found at the nearby Goodwill. I had seen some tutorials online of converting IKEA frames to dice trays so I tried the same with this frame and the felt I purchased. Functionally, this frame-based dice tray works great. The dice roll very well, and it takes a really hard throw to get over the edges of the frame. Even large dice, like those in King of Tokyo, can work in this dice tray. Aesthetically, I feel the black rectangle is rather bland.
What I liked most about these projects is that they were easy and cost less than a $3 by using thrift store finds and bulk sale priced felt. With some more patient thrift sifting, I hope to find more bowls and frames to try different sizes and shapes to get a better feel of what works best. For my local gaming friends reading this, I am going to have some extra dice tray prototypes available if you would like one.
Have you tried making dice trays? Do you prefer dice trays or dice towers? I have seen some plans for foam core dice towers that interest me as well. Look for those in a future installment of Side Projects.