DIY Crafty Gamer, Issue 17


Instead of interviewing someone, this time I’ll be sharing one of my own tabletop craft projects! If you’d like to see a tour of the craft space that my husband, Greg, and I have at our house, you can check that out here.

Vulcan, our Glowforge.

We bought a Glowforge when they were still in the pre-order stage. We made a few test items (see the dice below!) when we first got our Glowforge, but then had trouble starting it up, so we had to send it back and wait for a replacement. The replacement process was pretty easy – we kept the original packing/shipping box (as they instructed), so getting the unit prepared to send back went smoothly. The folks at Glowforge had our new unit shipped before we even packed the one we were sending back. So far, our experience with their customer service has been great.

Dice that we made using a free design in the Glowforge design catalog.

With our shiny new Glowforge, we made several dozen snowflake and meeple ornaments to give as gifts to our family and gaming group. I plan to have a unique meeple/gamey design each year to give to folks.

This video shows the Glowforge in action! It’s cutting meeple ornaments.
A sheet of ornaments after being cut on the Glowforge.

Featured Project

We started a new Dungeons & Dragons campaign recently and I really wanted to make something for our party to celebrate our new adventure. I considered making more of the dice, but wasn’t really feeling that idea, so I started looking for ideas for dice towers. I’ve never designed a dice tower before, so I wanted to check out a few designs and then I completely fell in love with a design that I found on the Glowforge user forums. Jeff Bowman shared his dice tower design for free with the Glowforge community and he also has it available on his website.

I made a tower for myself first, to test out the design. I’m playing a Wood Elf Ranger, so I went for a forest theme with mine. Each tower for the D&D group has the logo for the RPG contingent of our gaming group, RNG Gaming.

A note on materials and file types: for every tower, I used Glowforge’s Proofgrade Medium Draftboard. I used default settings for this material, but I passed over some graphics twice. Some graphics are PNG, some are SVG. I used Illustrator and Inkscape to handle file editing.

One of my favorite parts of this design, aside from it all folding up into a box that takes up very little space, is the SECRET COMPARTMENT:

I love this design. The fold out floor, the secret compartment, the tiny footprint. It was also easy for me to assemble. Once I tested out the design, I was incredibly happy with how well it went together and the ease of use. I love that it folds up into a portable box that doesn’t take up a ton of space.

My next task was to gather graphics to put together towers for the rest of my D&D party. I’m not an artist myself, so I sourced many of my graphics from Adobe Stock and Noun Project. I’ll link to these as I mention them. I asked each of my party members if they had any requests for their towers before I set out in search of the perfect graphics.

Set of 5 laser cut dice towers
All 5 dice towers for our D&D party

First, I put together a tower for Krystle, who plays a Mountain Dwarf Barbarian named Bellemora Mountainbraids. She left the design decisions up to me. I *had* to include some mountains and also threw in a dragon, and the moon and some stars! This is Krystle’s first RPG experience and she isn’t 100% sure she’ll continue as a Dwarf Barbarian in her next life, so I wanted to give her a fantasy design that she could use from campaign to campaign if she wanted.

Next, I worked on a tower for Rich, who plays a Gnome Rogue named Umver, of the Raulnor clan. Rich said he wanted something “sneaky” for his tower and the first things I thought of were a fox and a full moon. I also decided to put the fox in a natural landscape with some trees and a few stars in the night sky. For this one, we actually decided to leave the contact paper on the moon because the shading looks pretty cool.

Next up is Kim’s tower. I didn’t have any feedback from Kim about what she wanted, so I based it on her character. Kim and I play half-sisters. I play a Wood Elf Ranger named Kyrathiel Solanaceae. Kim plays her younger sister, a Half-Elf Druid named Amanita Solanaceae. Since we’re playing half-sisters, I went for the same forest image on her tower, but… where I have a Ranger class symbol, she has a graphic that represents her Druidic focus: a jackalope skull! I also left the contact paper on the skull for this one because it looks like the perfect shade for bone. Eventually, it could be removed and painted, if desired.

Then I started working on Kevin’s dice tower. Kevin plays a Halfling Sorcerer named Alton Sunmeadow. I didn’t have any feedback from Kevin for his tower design, either, so I based it sort of on his character and sort of on how I met Kevin: at a Meetup for tarot. I chose a few tarot cards that I thought reflected Alton: The Magician, Justice, and The World. The Magician because he’s a sorcerer; Justice because we know little about Alton’s past, but we do know that he’s escaping Neverwinter due to a crime he committed that he is ashamed of; The World because I’m hoping things work out for Alton – I’m guessing there might be some big change coming up to resolve his past and I’m hopeful that he sees the passing of *many* seasons and dreams fulfilled. Thankfully Kevin was happy with my choices! I also put a magical feeling image on the front panel. I ended up doing two passes on these to really pull out the detail in the designs. The result is rather stunning.

My husband, Greg, is GMing for us and at first he said he was going to design his own tower, but… I reeeaaalllyyyy wanted to make him one, too, so perhaps he’ll end up with multiple towers! I didn’t want to do anything related to what he’d talked to me about for his own design ideas, so I started brainstorming and then I ran into these amazing dungeon maps by Dyson over at Dyson’s Dodecahedron. I decided to try wrapping the tower in a dungeon map with a dungeon door (by Daniel Walthall) on the front. The inside panel features a dragon shield. I love how it turned out! And so did Greg!

Dice towers in action on the table
Our first D&D session with the new towers!

I’ve also made two towers for two awesome young ladies who aren’t in our D&D campaign. My niece was visiting while I was working on these and she loves gaming with us, so of course she needed a tower. She wanted to design her own unicorn tower and picked out four different images ( 1, 2, 3, 4). You can see her testing out the tower here.

The other young lady I made a tower for is my friend Kim’s daughter, Iris. Iris got really interested in learning about D&D after seeing us all play a session and hearing her mom talk about it, so Kim threw together a campaign for Iris! Iris is playing a badass 13-year-old folk hero Cleric whose name and focus have EVERYTHING to do with unicorns and rainbows. I designed her dice tower in secret using a unicorn/rainbow pattern on two sides of the tower, some fun text on the back, a crystal on the front (her focus is a unicorn headband with a purple crystal!), a unicorn horn on the top, and a rainbow on the inside panel. I even got fancy and added some watercolors! I’m in love with how the crystal on the front turned out and Kim says that Iris is THRILLED to have her very own dice tower and shared a photo (below) with me so I could see Iris’ excitement.

Notes about the project

I cannot sell these dice towers or take commission requests or anything. I’ve had several folks ask, but the copyright on the design for the tower allows for personal use only. If you’d like to get a tower made for yourself, I’d recommend checking with your local library or colleges/universities or any public maker spaces to see if they have access to a laser printer and if so, then they can help you with cutting one of these towers.

Call for Submissions

Do you have a tabletop gaming project that you’ve created? Contact me with some information and photos. No project is too big/small — as long as you made it yourself and you use it when you game, it is eligible for submission! I would love to see projects for board game upgrades and accessories, RPGs, miniatures (I would love to see mini paint jobs!), terrain, dice towers, custom playmats, custom dice, or anything else you have made.

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