Oogie Boogie's Dice

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This one is a fairly approachable make for someone just getting into carving and its a relatively useful object that you're left with. :)

I use power tools but you could (though with a bit more difficulty) use hand tools to do everything described in this instructable.

I have been getting into tabletop games recently and when gaming I like to use particularly fun and quirky dice.
I could remember the Oogie Boogie dice from nightmare before Christmas being particularly fun So I set about crafting some relatively screen accurate ones.

This project uses some very scrappy wood rescued from the firewood pile. I would recommend using hardwood if you are going to recreate this project Because it will genuinely give better results.

Now I have made them I feel the need to train some bugs to help me cheat with my rolls. (just like Oogie Boogie)

Step 1: Cubism

Making cubes does require knowing if you have right angles and having your machines set up accurately.
My band saw table and blade are at 90 degrees to each other but I could not tell without a machinists square if my wood had any 90 degree angles. I checked by putting my adjustable sliding try square snugly against the wood and checking if I could see light shining through any gaps. This gave me an idea of what faces were flat from previous operations and what I needed to remove.
I set my band saw fence to a position where I could cut the non 90-degree faces to size and to the correct angle and left it at this distance for the rest of the band saw steps.

Once I had a good square length of wood I set my I set my guide to 90 degrees and set the wood up against it, I used the band saw fence to identify how far the wood should extend. This cut gave perfect cubes.

Step 2: Get Ya Drawing on

As to avoid potentially upsetting any copy right holders i will not post up a direct reference to the faces, I will just say a quick search will show you all the faces of the Oogie Boogie dice. The order that the faces appear is relatively important if you are going to game, though I am somewhat sure these dice will not be completely fair due to variable factors which are out of my control.

I sketched these faces onto the cubes using a black pen to make sure it would be easy to see.

Step 3: Rotary Eyes

I wanted a non-round looking eyes/ dots. To get this I used a rotary tool with a burl.

It's important when using a burl in this way to approach at an angle, If you use the tip of the tool head on you are unlikely to make fast progress or get the results you're looking for.

You could do this with a drill press or a hand drill whilst ensuring your dice is well secured in a vice.

Step 4: The Cool Kids Are Carving

To get the skulls above the background I first made a cut down on the line I had drawn and then carved to it using a sharp chisel. I did this for all the faces.

At around this point, I realized that it was a bit repetitive making eyes and carving skills on multiple dice. (i had previously planned to make a bunch of these and sell on etsy, but I am happy with just one set for me)

(the other cubes you can see in the background in some of this instructable were going to be smaller dice, now they are prototype game peaces)

Step 5: Stain Sand and Dust

The original dice were a redder brown colour than my walnut. I used rosewood stain to alter my dice colour and then sanded the dice, this resulted in the dice developing an artificial patina and softened all the edges to be more like the original. I then dusted the fluffy bits out of the eye holes ect.

Looking back this stain was perhaps too dark, a lighter red would have been better for this job. (I am still very happy with the results)

Step 6: Waxing Time

Ordinarily with items likely to be handles I would tend to finish with a more resilient coating, but I think wax would be better for the boogie dice.

The trick to getting a shine here is applying the wax, holding back a few minutes for the wax to set/ harden a little and then buffing. If I had been thinking, I could have increased the tonal difference by using pigmented wax here, the darker wax would be left in the places I could not buff out. I can still return to this project and do this, I might do it later.

I used a buffing wheel on my rotary tool but it really wasn't needed

I hope you have enjoyed this instructable and feel inspired, the whole project takes around 3-4 hours.

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Thank you for this lovely comment. I think it's a fairly approachable project for most people to get into carving without having to go too deep + it's really nice to have dice you crafted yourself. I think small projects like this are ace for developing new skills without having too much invested