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Monday, May 4, 2009

Off the beaten path: Painting dice

I recently picked up some Gamescience dice (through and they are beautiful. These are the hard/sharp-edged dice from days past, and, yes, you still have to paint in the numbers yourself (though you can pay a few dollars extra for prepainted die.)
But if you want some classic dice and would like to paint in the numbers, here's an easy way to do it:
1. Gamescience dice are molded on a sprue, just like plastic model kits, so they will have a bur on on the edge of one face. You can get rid of this bur by either carefully cutting it with a sharp blade, or by sanding it off with some fine-grade sand paper (as is shown in Step 1.)
2. Get some paint (whatever color you like!) and cover the engraved number with the paint. Be sure to get the whole number filled in.
3. And while the paint is still wet, use your finger to rub off all the excess.
4. You may have seom streaks left over. These can be rubbed off with your finger, or gently scraped off with your finger nail.
5. That's it! Beautiful dice. And I like the idea, now, that I have to prepare my dice. If I've dedicated some of my time to the dice, perhaps the dice gods will give me a few more 20s.

Note: This particular color is not "available," per se. I chose Gamescienc's Fire Garnet, but the color was out of stock. When the new dice were molded to fill my order, I got an e-mail that an off-color had come out instead. I was offered the off-color or to wait for some proper fire garnet-colored dice. I kept the off-color because I wanted something fairly unique. I'm glad I stuck with this new color. They are gorgeous! The best I can describe the color is that of a deep rose wine.
And I know I probably won't be able to get any more, sigh.


  1. Thank you so much for putting this up. I've been looking all over the place for something like this and this is the first place I've been able to find it. I'm going to use this method on the Game Science dice I just got.

  2. I live to serve! I hope the painting goes well for ya. When you do the dice, do a few faces on one die and move on to the next one, then come back after a few minutes to do the remaining faces; it's just a little less messy.
    Another neat little trick (for fun) is to first paint a color such as red or blue into the numbers, and then do the white. When you look through the dice you can see the reversed numbers in color. It works best with the clearer dice- not the greatest cool thing in the world, but it's certainly different and adds some more originality to your own dice.

  3. How do you remove the paint if you wanted to switch to a different color. I have several sets of GameScience dice I've recently purchased. I've found a couple methods to color the dice (Sharpie, and crayon) but neither are giving the deisred effect. Also, I've used colors that don't show well (Black crayon on Gem green dice (can't remember the exact green color)).

    I do appreciate your blog entry and it's a great way to get the dice painted. One more question, what type paint did you use?

  4. Perry, I'm not sure how I'd remove Sharpie. Wax crayon can probably be gently scraped out with a toothpick perhaps. I use acrylic paint (the same I use for miniatures.) If I wanted to remove the paint, I'd probably throw the dice into some Simple Green cleaning fluid, then gently scrape out the paint. You might try Simple Green to remove the Sharpie markings.
    I've used Simple Green on plastic before with no ill effects; I'm not 100% sure the effects of Simple Green on GameScience dice, however, so you might find a sacrificial dice first JUST to be sure.
    You also might try simply painting over the Sharpie, though, I think the Sharpie will bleed through most colors.