Making Dice

If you’re here for pretty pictures of dice, prepare to be disappointed. Making adequate dice is easy, but taking good photos of them exceeds my current skills.

In today’s standard “how I spent my winter vacation” small talk, I showed some colleagues a dice set that I made last week, and they seemed surprised when I explained that it was relatively easy.

Making excellent or perfect dice is not easy, but I’m not trying for excellent or perfect. I’m trying for “nice to look at” and “capable of showing random-feeling numbers when I roll them”. Those goals are easy to achieve with cheap products from the internet.


If you want to learn to make good dice, go watch Rybonator on YouTube, and the algorithm will start suggesting other good channels as well.

Next I’m going to share some Amazon links, and a note of the approximate price at time of writing. They aren’t affiliate links because signing up for the affiliate program requires more paperwork than I feel like doing right now. But they are the specific items I’ve been using to get pretty-okay dice out of.

The basic materials you’ll need to make dice are:

  • A dice set mold (~$8). Good molds are a solid slab of material. This is not a good mold, but it does make dice.
  • Epoxy resin. I got the 16oz of this set (~$9) because it was the cheapest option that seemed adequate, and it was cheap, and it was adequate. When warmed in boiling water before mixing, it has very few bubbles, and it cures overnight if left in a warm place.
  • Clean disposable cups and popsicle sticks or equivalent stirrers. Grab these from your recycling or dollar store. ($0-$2)
  • Waterproof gloves that you don’t mind getting resin and paint on, if you don’t want high-tech chemicals on your skin.

A dice mold and resin are enough to get you some transparent dice, but that’s boring. You can include household objects like game pieces or beads in the dice, and you can buy additives specifically designed for resin casting:

  • Mica powder like this colorful set (~$7) or this metallic set (~$10) gives a shiny metallic or pearlescent look
  • Dye like this set (~$10) gives the resin an even, transparent color.
  • Glitter like this assortment (~$11) can sparkle like tiny stars, contrast pleasantly with dyed resin, or just display interesting behaviors where the larger pieces sink if the resin is too warm and the smaller pieces remain in suspension.

Plan what you want to include in a given dice set before starting to mix the resin. I find that 40ml (20ml each of resin and hardener) is just right for a single pour of the mold linked above. Then it’s just a matter of following the directions for the resin. After mixing, you can split the resin into several different disposable cups if you’d like to pour different colors together.

Once the dice are hard, unmold them and be amazed! If you want the numbers to be visible, consider flooding them with whatever paint you have on hand, then wiping off the excess with a paper towel. The molds emboss the numbes into the dice, so the number will be the only paint remaining after you wipe it.

If the dice come out too rough, zona papers (~$12) are popular for sanding to a glass-like finish.

If the dice have huge bubbles, you can fix them with UV resin (~$10) and an ultraviolet bulb. The trick to the UV stuff is making sure that the wavelength required by the resin (405-410nm) is included in the spectrum emitted by the lamp (385-410nm). You may already have a UV lamp around if you do gel nails or resin printing.

I find that bubbles often show up in the corners of dice, and sticking some clear tape to the sides I’m mending with UV resin helps keep it where it belongs while letting the light in to harden it. I’ve also gotten some fun effects by painting the inside of the bubble a contrasting color before filling it with UV resin. After repairing bubbles with UV resin, the affected sides often need to be flattened out with a file or coarse sandpaper before polishing with fine sandpaper or zona papers.

In making several sets of increasingly less-bad dice, I’ve noticed that some techniques seem to yield better outcomes:

  • Start with the resin really hot. I set both prats of the epoxy in a container of almost boiling water before use, then dry them off and measure it out immediately. Hot resin flows better.
  • When using large glitter, make sure to get some glitter-free resin into the very bottom of each die first, or stir it. Big inclusions have a nasty habit of blocking the resin from getting into the tip of the D4.
  • Place the mold on a plate or tray before pouring, and do not remove it from the tray until the dice are hard. Bending the mold at all changes the volume of the cavities, which presses resin out then sucks air in.
  • Smear some resin on the lid before capping the mold, and slowly roll the lid onto the mold. Setting the lid straight down allows air to be trapped under it in the middle.
  • Over-fill the mold cavities slightly.
  • Expect heavier inclusions, like large glitter, to sink to the bottom when the resin is poured hot. The pros often wait for the resin to get tacky before pouring part of a die, but that’s advanced technique and I have yet to try much of it.
  • Paint can be easily removed from the dice numbers with an ultrasonic cleaner. Don’t try to clean the dice this way if you want the paint to stay in!

This barely scratches the surface of dice-making, and there are better resources on every topic for becoming an expert, making custom molds, and other advanced topics. Although it’s very hard to make excellent dice, it’s shockingly cheap and easy to make mediocre dice, and mediocre dice are often more than adequate to have fun with.