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Re-Inking Your Dice 101: Marker, Paint, or Crayon?
How do I re-ink my dice? What's the easiest way to re-ink my dice? If you've ever asked yourself how to make custom dice then read on!
Multi-sided (polyhedral) dice are a staple of any good tabletop gaming experience. Today, gamers are free to choose from countless designs, color schemes, and sizes of dice. We can mix and match, buy full sets, and really find the dice that speak to us (and our characters). For this we'll reink some of our limited edition Huntress Dice.
Sometimes, though, an out-of-the-box dice set isn’t enough. Sometimes you want that little extra something. Maybe your dice have a beautiful, glittery sheen, but the numbers are still plain black or white. Maybe you want the numbers to pop a bit more, so they can be read more easily across the table (and maybe you want to rub those nat 20s in your DM’s scheming face).
Regardless of the reason, we have an easy solution for you: re-inking your dice. We’ve put together a complete guide for the most popular strategies. These steps are easy, clean, and require very little investment.
There are three major ways you can re-ink your DnD dice: marker, paint, or crayon. We’ll walk you through some of the easier re-inking methods. Re-Inking Your Dice With Permanent Marker
Likely the easiest method of re-inking your dice, a fine-tipped permanent marker can dramatically change the appearance of your dice set without altering the way each die rolls.
- Fine-Tipped Permanent Marker (Try metallic markers!)
- Paper Towel or Cotton Swabs
- (Optional) Rubbing Alcohol or Nail Polish Remover/Acetone
- Hold the die firmly between your thumb and forefinger.
- Use a fine-tipped marker to fill in each number completely. Don’t worry about going outside of the lines.
- Take a paper towel (or, if you’re bold, your finger) and wipe the areas where the marker went outside of the number.
If any of the marker dries outside of the number, use a paper towel with rubbing alcohol (or nail polish remover) to gently wipe the outside of the die.
Warning: rubbing alcohol and acetone can dull the finish of some dice! Always test first (we offer up our percentile die as sacrifice!).
- Touch up or refill the color as needed—especially if you wiped out a little bit while cleaning up the edges.
Re-Inking Your Dice With Acrylic Paint
Acrylic paint and a brush gives a more professional appearance to your re-inked dice. Not only do acrylic paints dry quickly, but they come in a number of vibrant colors.
- Vice Grip or Flat Pliers
- Paper Towel or Cotton Swabs
- Paint (Acrylic paint for DnD miniatures works great)
Regarding paints: Acrylic is the best type of paint for this project. Watercolors are not likely to bond with the dice and won’t provide much pigment. Oil paints tend to be too thick and take too long to dry. Finally, while enamel hobby paint can be a good option, it’s more difficult to work with and requires turpentine to clean off. Acrylic is water soluble, fast to dry, and easy to work with.
Regarding brushes: Use a small, thin brush. Craft brushes come in numbered sizes. Generally, a 0 or a 1 will be exactly what you need to fill in the small recessed space to paint numbers. A small, fine-tipped brush will hold the right amount of paint, and fill in and clean off easily for a quick and smooth process.
- Secure the die in a vice grip, if you have one. Alternatively, you can use a flat set of pliers—but take care not to squeeze too tight, or you risk damaging the die. (You can also just hold the die, but you’re likely to get paint on your fingers, which will then transfer to the die itself.)
- Clean your brush with water and dry it before use. Dip it into the acrylic paint. Only load the brush with a small amount of paint.
- Apply the paint directly to the recessed number, being careful not to smear it around the edge of the die. As with marker, don’t worry if you go a little bit over: you can fix this later.
- Use a paper towel or cotton swab to wipe the excess paint off the die as you go. Don’t wipe too hard or you’ll get the paint from inside the number! (Tip: be especially mindful of numbers with larger gaps, like 4 or 8. Anywhere two lines cross in a number, there is the slightest increase in the size of the open area. Wipe across these numbers from left to right to avoid smearing paint up or down the number.)
- Allow the die to dry completely between coats. Apply more coats as needed, but don’t apply any more than necessary: it could alter the way the die rolls.
- Wait a few minutes for each side to dry.
Re-Inking Your Dice With Crayon
- Paper Towel or Cotton Swabs
Of all of these options, crayon is likely the most dramatic—but it has some downsides as well. You can re-ink your dice by filling in the numbers with vibrant crayon wax, but this can impact the way your dice roll.
- Hold your die firmly between your thumb and forefinger.
- Scrape your crayon across the number on the die, back and forth, as though coloring. Don’t be afraid to apply pressure: it’s necessary.
- Repeat the process until the interior of the number has been filled.
- Use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe off any excess wax from the die.
Note: Some recommend oil pastels for this process. Oil pastels are softer than crayons and easier to work with. Unfortunately, while oil pastels are easier to apply, they are also more likely to come off in your hand. It really depends on you.
That’s it! A quick, simple afternoon project can turn those bland, illegible numbers into sparkling, bold colors. You can infuse your old dice with personality and panache, making them uniquely yours. Paint every number a different color. Paint every set of die your favorite color. You’re limited only by your imagination.
Happy questing, and happy crafting!
Last updated: January 27, 2019
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