I hate it when I throw my dice and they... fall off the table, knock miniatures over, land tilted half on and off the game board (and the associated nullification of a perfect result), go into snacks, make a loud clattering noise in a box lid... you'd think that I would never want to play games at all. But that isn't true. The problem is that I have seen beautifully crafted dice rolling trays where the felt kisses the rolling polyhedron as it is cushioned on a lush, dark green bed of felt. I have heard the rich, low thumping of the dice as they tumble across this spongy surface.
And I have seen the price tag on these dice trays. $35.00 $50.00 $89.00 !?! Are you kidding me? What the heck?!? There has to be a better way... and there is! Many people have made their own out of cigar boxes. So I thought that I would have a go myself and show how I did it. As I was applying the dark green felt and watching the dice bounce in it for the first time, I could almost hear Telly Savalas' voice saying, "Vegas, baby, Vegas."
You need a cigar box, a sheet of black adhesive craft foam (there was only green at the store today, so I just used a Sharpie and blacked in the edges), a sheet of adhesive (peel & stick) green felt, wood glue, scissors, a metal ruler and an x-acto knife. I purchased the glue, felt and foam at Michael's Art Supplies for about $6. You can get an empty cigar box for a couple of bucks at any wine and cigar bar.
To start, you want to make sure that any loose wood is glued down. The little side pieces that guide the lid shut are only held in place by friction, so I pulled them out and applied some glue and put them back in. Next I cut a paper pattern for the bottom and then cut my craft foam to the same shape. Note that it is important to do a paper pattern as most cigar boxes are not perfectly square. The foam goes in first and sticks to the wood, then the felt is cut from the same pattern and sticks to the foam. Don't worry if the edges are not perfect. The sides will cover them up!
Next cut the foam for the sides. I left about 1/8 inch from the top or so from the top of the box. Make long strips and then trim them to length. Stick the foam onto the sides and do the best that you can with the edges where they meet. The pieces are smaller and you should be able to do a better job with the edges on creating a tight fit. But it doesn't have to be perfect yet! The felt is the magic that hides any gaps!
Finally, cut the felt in the same way you did the foam. Felt is pretty easy to work with, and it can stretch and contort slightly which should allow you to get a nice, professional looking fit. That's it! You are done! For about 30 minutes of time and around $10, you can get a sweet dice rolling tray that will impress your (nerdy) friends. Monocles will drop from eyes in astonishment as your associates at the gentleman's club, who have gathered for a game of Maurice, discover that you have repurposed something as manly as a cigar box for an equally manly activity. The dice are also pleased; I am rolling more sixes and twenties.