We love going on adventures around our house! Using your imagination you could be a Pirate sailing the vast sea of..outer space looking for the lost treasure of an ancient museum from Mars. Want to write a story about a Ninja and a Princess who have to rescue a magic crayon from an evil Giant Spider deep in the ocean or maybe there is a Fairy and a Mage or a Fairy Mage! They have to find a Magic pocket watch before the evil Yeti does. The possibilities are endless and to help with your adventures you can make Story Dice!
We homeschool and as part of our lessons we write a story. I am working on putting together a lesson packet for that but for now I will show you how to make your very own Story Dice. We use them at the beginning of our book during the gathering info and writing characters, places, plot, etc. Each kid has a notebook for this and it also is used to write up the draft of the story. The final story is put together using white paper and construction paper..but again working on that one.
You could use the Story Dice as writing prompts, story ideas, pretend adventure ideas or just for telling a story. So many uses and so easyish to make….Well simple enough to make but it will just take a little time. Let’s get started!
Here is what you will need:
- Printed pictures to put on the dice. – Each picture needs to fit inside of a 1 inch square.
- Modge Podge – Gloss or Matte it is up to you how you want your dice to look in the end.
- Paint brush
- Scissors (optional)
- X-Acto Knife – You could cut them with scissors but X-Acto is easier for trimming at the end if needed
- Metal or hard Ruler
- Package of wooden 1 inch blocks from craft store – Number of packages depends on how many you want to make
Step 1: Planning
First we need to figure out what pictures you will want to use for the dice and how many dice you want. Each die will need 6 pictures or words. When we first made our story dice we made 2 for characters, 1 for items, 1 location (ocean, desert, etc) 1 for bad guys, and one for vehicles.
We have since added more and have places like Museum, Zoo and Castle and more characters, items, animals and bad guys.
Decide with your kids what kind of dice you want and then decide what you want to put on each die. I will show you how we found some Places for a die.
Let’s say we are making a die with a Maze, Ruins, Hotel, Farm, Playground, and a Skyscraper. This was the latest die we made along with several others. We tend to make about 4 or so at a time.
Step 2: Image Search
Once you have your list Google will be your friend. You could also get old magazines and cut out pictures to use or write words on paper or the dice. This would be a fun way to for kids to make their own! We didn’t do that though. I have a background in graphic design so I tend to use Photoshop but you don’t have to and in fact Word or Google Docs will work just fine.
Search for the things you have chosen but add the word Clip Art. This is important if you want the cartoon type look but if you want real life pictures of farms or whatever it is you are using then just type it in the search.
You can also purchase images that are better quality from sites that offer Stock Images, Clip Art or Vectors. It is up to you though be advised that using these dice to make money is illegal (and unethical) if you find the pics online unless they say for commercial use.
Most important is finding and saving your picture. Then open up a Google Doc or Word. I’m using Google Docs for this one. You will want the picture to be a square and about as close to 1 inch as you can get. I’d leave a little room so you don’t have to line up the edges perfectly though. (You can crop in Google Docs by right clicking and going to Crop Image).
Now find the rest of your pictures, put them in your Doc and crop them. Print and verify size by putting one of the images on the dice and have a light behind it. Light tables are great for this sort of thing…but I don’t have one so I use my lamp over my table.
Step 3: Assemble
Cut each image out into a square. Use the ruler and X-Acto or scissors to cut them. I use a metal ruler and X-Acto but I can’t cut straight lines to save my life with scissors. Once you have them all cut out measure them again and if you have extra fold it over so it will be easier to line it up when you are ready to glue.
Now take your Modge Podge (or other glue and sealant type stuff) and your paint brush and use a little on either the paper or the wooden block. Your choice! I think I mix it up…put the paper on the block and push and smooth out. Now I know you will want to do the whole thing all at once but…let’s do a bit at a time.
Next do the exact opposite side to the side you just did. This helps keep the pressure on the side you just glued. Before you glue this side, however, take that X-Acto and trim up the extra pieces off the side you glued.
Go gently though especially if you used too much glue…in that case wait a bit longer til it dries some. I ripped one right off doing that..I get impatient. Now I just use less glue.
Once trimmed up glue the next picture on the side that is up. Then trim this side up a bit and turn it sideways to do an empty spot between the two already done.
You will do 4 sides and then let it dry off to the side but put an empty side on the table. The picture can and will stick to the table or area you have it in and then rip off..I learned this the hard way as well.
Make sure you are not applying the modge podge as the top coat just yet. You want to do that after all the sides are dry…it is up to you and if the sides dry quickly apply the top coat when you want to. I tend to need more drying time…or I rip or tear due to it sticking….it’s been a learning process.
Once you have the 4 sides done on all the dice you are making, finish up the 2 sides on all the dice and let them dry. Then apply the modge podge as a top coat if you haven’t already and let them dry.
Make sure they are very dry before you store them…I didn’t do that and put them in a container and they stuck to each other…oops…
These dice have so many uses and making them yourself or having your kids make them or help you is a great family project…and if you homeschool is perfect for art or writing! We use them as writing prompts, to create stories for either writing down or just telling and the kids use them to go on adventures!
If you want to download the ones I used click HERE. I found most of the images off of the internet and made a few. Enjoy!
Show us your dice! @MyGeeklings #DIYDice