Dice Tray Pattern by Keira Spencer
Back in June I made a Synthetic leather Dice Tray from our epic Roll the Dice print! So many people asked me how I made it, and now that we’ve released a new colourway—Take A Chance—what better way to celebrate than a FREE PATTERN!?
Admittedly, as cool as my first one looked, it kept giving me cocked dice and needed a few tweaks to make it useable, so HERE WE ARE! This tutorial is using the original Roll The Dice print. It will give you a 30cm (approx. 11”) hexagonal Dice Tray (flat, measured from widest points) with a 23cm (approx. 9”, from widest points) of rolling space with a 2.5cm (1") tall, six-sided wall.
I’m so so incredibly excited to bring you this pattern! As always, please get in touch if anything is unclear to you, I’m always happy to help! ENJOY!
P.S. Shout out to my husband, Sam, whose hands will be appearing in some of these tutorial shots and because I promised I'd shout him out if he helped me. Without his engineering brain, this tutorial might have been a flop. Thanks Sam!
What you need
- FREE Dice Tray pattern: Download A4 here or Download A3 here
- Sewing machine (obviously, but you won't need an overlocker/serger)
- 1 FQ of Synthetic Leather (this is enough to have the same print on both sides)
- Material to create a solid base between fabric layers—VERY important (read ‘Dice Tray Base – Materials and Adhesives’ to determine what will work best for you)
- High strength Epoxy adhesive (see recommendations below under ‘Dice Tray Base – Materials and Adhesives’)
- Coordinating thread
- Rotary cutter (recommended) or scissors
- Leather needles or Heavy Duty needles (HIGHLY recommended)
- Air erasable marker or otherwise wipeable marker. A washable marker won't work as you can't wash this product once it’s finished. Test your chosen marker on a piece of scrap to ensure it will wipe away.
- A Teflon/non-stick/ultra-glide foot is HIGHLY recommended. Worth the investment if you’re looking to work with Synthetic leather/vinyl more often. A walking foot is a good alternative.
- 6x KAM snap sets (6x sockets, 6x studs, 12x caps)
- Snap applicator/press
- Snap awl
Dice Tray Base - Materials and Adhesives
Without a solid base, this dice tray will not be useable. The flex and bounce in the Synthetic Leather will compromise your dice rolls resulting in frequently ‘cocked dice’. Secondly, it’s incredibly important that you choose a high strength adhesive so that the synthetic leather doesn’t separate from the base and create bubbles.
Recommended Adhesives (High strength epoxies from Bunnings or Spotlight):
- Selley’s Araldite Epoxy Adhesive (this is what I used because we had some in the garage)
- E6000 Regular or Crystal Clear (industrial strength craft adhesive)
- Gorilla Glue
- Tarzan’s Grip Epoxy Adhesive
- UHU Epoxy Quick Set
Recommended Base Materials:
The best solution for a stable base may not be easily accessible or useable to the everyday household, so here are my suggestions from best to least ideal, however all will work fine if they are bonded correctly with good-quality, epoxy adhesive.
Plywood or MDF Project Panel, 3mm
PROS: Easy to purchase, best adhesion with glues, very solid for optimum dice rolling
CONS: Difficult to cut to shape without the right skills and tools
This is available from Bunnings. The trickiest part will be cutting it to size/shape. Bunnings will only cut rectangles to size, so you will still need a safe method to cut your hexagonal tray base. If you can safely and proficiently use cutting tools, a jigsaw or bandsaw is recommended.
Acrylic/Perspex Sheeting, 3mm
PROS: Very solid for optimum dice rolling, cleanest cut if using a laser cutter
CONS: Hard to access and cut to shape without the right skills and tools
This is available from online acrylic retailers, or Bunnings. However, cutting acrylic to a specific shape can be problematic for the average household. We are lucky enough to have a laser cutter, however acrylic may be cut with a scoring knife, jigsaw or bandsaw. Be VERY careful, and only opt for this option if you have a confidently safe method of cutting it. If you have access to a laser cutter (yay for you!), you can download the SVG file to cut your acrylic base to the exact size and shape here.
PROS: Easiest to access and cut to shape
CONS: Softest/bounciest of the three options, may compromise dice rolling if not adhered correctly, worst adhesion due to surface shape
Also available at Bunnings and the easiest cut as you can use your rotary cutter (though it will blunt your blade so a box cutter or scissors would work too). You can also get 5mm thick Corflute sheets from Officeworks but be aware that I have not tested this thickness for this tutorial. This is not my top choice, but the overall best choice in terms of ease of cutting and accessibility.
Cutting and Prepping Instructions
In case you missed it above, we’ve created a FREE Dice Tray Pattern.
The A4 printable is trimless, just overlap the pages so that the right-hand page meets the solid line on the left hand page, and tape! Note: My printable pattern will look a little different to yours as I made a few tweaks after recording the tutorial. I am also using two different materials for the inner (Roll the Dice) and outer (Mermaid Waters) as it is what I had on hand.
Cut your main fabric: DO NOT CUT YOUR SYNTHETIC LEATHER TO SIZE/SHAPE YET! Instead, cut a square around the hexagonal pattern piece with about 1.5-2cm around it for both the inner and outer piece. Use the pattern piece to mark the centre of both pieces on the UNDERSIDE of your main fabric. Due to the shape of the pattern, it does not matter whether you cut along or against the grainline.
Cut your base material: The instructions for this will be different according to which material you chose. Use the base cut line on your pattern piece as a guide. For both plywood and corflute, I found it helpful to fold each edge down to the base cut line and trace onto my base material, then cut using your chosen method. I used acrylic (cut with a laser cutter) for my final but here is an example of how it fits in the base cut guide. Mark the centre of your base material using the pattern piece.
If using Acrylic or Corflute, it is crucial you prep your base to ensure your Synthetic leather adheres to it securely and long-term. Smooth surfaces don’t have enough texture for adhesive to grip to and is more likely to separate. Simply grab some rough/coarse sandpaper and give the smooth surface a light sand to create a fairly scratched-up, rough surface. Plywood or MDF will not need prepping, you can skip this step if you are using it.
Once your main pieces are cut, marked, and prepped, you’re ready to glue your base on and sew, yay!
Sewing and Construction
Prepare your adhesive according to packet instructions (for example, Araldite requires mixing prior to use) and evenly coat your prepped base material. Align your centre points, ensuring you place it in the correct direction (so that there is 1.5-2cm outside of the main pattern piece on all sides) and press the base material into the underside of either of your main fabric pieces.
Evenly coat the opposite side of your base material and align the centre point with your remaining main piece, wrong side facing the adhesive. The base material should be sandwiched between the wrong sides of your main pieces.
Use a rolling pin with medium pressure to smooth out the adhesive, ensuring even gluing.
Place your glued pieces under something heavy. I used my snap press and base, but a stack of heavy books will suffice. Leave to cure according to adhesive instructions, I recommend leaving overnight for maximum and long-term adhesion either way.
Now that your pieces are sufficiently glued, sew alongside the base material with the inner layer facing up (this mostly matters if you’re using a different print or chose a specific placement). If the print is the same, or you’re not bothered by placement, keep track of which side you have sewn facing up as it will be the inside of the tray and determine the direction of your snaps.
Sew as close as you can without your needle hitting the base, no wider than 1/8”. Sew slowly and carefully ensuring you don’t accidentally break your needle by sewing into your base material. Leave your needle down, and pivot the tray pieces when you reach a corner, following all the way around your tray base.
A note on sewing machine feet: This is where a Teflon or non-stick foot will help enormously! It will ensure the synthetic leather feeds smoothly and doesn’t stick to your machine foot. I initially used a zipper foot for this step because it allowed me to sew as close as possible without hitting my base, but after sewing one side with an acrylic inner, I realised my foot was catching on the synthetic leather and damaging the main material (see below), so I switched to my Teflon foot. This didn’t damage the material but made it trickier to control where my needle would hit, hence needing to sew carefully.
Some progress shots of the base stitching completed from both sides!
Using your erasable marker (test to ensure your marker is erasable on a scrap as you will need to remove these markings afterwards), mark and draw parallel lines 1” from the lines you just stitched (around your base). You should now have a larger hexagon, about 1/8” smaller than your pattern piece. Sew along these lines, pivoting, with your needle down, around corners. Wipe away markings once you've finished stitching.
Cut 1/8” outside of your stitching on all six edges. Optional: you may trim the corners for a more rounded look. Almost there!
Using your pattern piece, align your corners and mark your snap placement. Pierce these points using your snap awl. If your final piece has not finished up to be the exact same size, use one corner of the pattern piece on all corners of your tray to ensure even snap application.
Apply 1x socket and 1x stud to each corner as pictured. Ensure the cap is on the outside of your tray, and the socket and stud are on the inside of your tray. My outer hexagon didn't line up very well with my inner because of the way I marked it, this is okay if it happens to you as long as you used your pattern piece to mark the snaps.
Snap them together and you’re finished! Roll some dice on your new fancy tray (and hope your rolls are better than my first, I kid you not I rolled a Nat 1, yikes!).