Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Foam dice - a tutorial

For Christmas, I made my girls a set of dice to play the game of  'Yahtzee'
I have such happy memories of playing this game as a kid - on holiday with my family, and I'm thrilled that my girls seem to love it just as much.  Now that I'm playing it as a parent - I'm seeing too, just how good it is for my girls numeracy skills: 
If you're interested in that side of things - I wrote about it on my other blog 'Be Our Best' here.

But back to the dice themselves.  I used some cubes of foam that I got years ago.  Originally I covered them with pretty fabric and appliquéd letters on them, so when my girls were little they could use them to spell out simple words like c-a-t, and use them as building blocks.  They'd kind of grown out of that, so this was a good way to recycle them!
Of course when I made them I forgot to take pictures for a tutorial, so I popped to our local rubber and foam shop and picked up another cube (they have a large bin of offcuts for just a few cents each, and will even cut them to cubes if you ask nicely!)
Then I used an old pair of trousers - and my bag of scraps left over from other appliqué projects - these are great scraps with the iron on Vlisoflex / Bondaweb stuff already on the back! A nice budget project!

So here's how to make the dice:

First cut 6 squares of fabric, 2 cm wider than the cube itself, and 6 numbers ready to iron and appliqué on.
I used the numerals this time as the girls already have 5 large dice with dots on, so thought it would be good for them to have a different one!

Iron one number onto each square

Then appliqué around them for extra strength (I often find the glue comes unstuck after a while - partly thanks to the humidity of the tropics!)

Then lay the squares out upside down like this:
and pin the long row together

Then stitch them with a 3/8" seam
 (sorry my measurements are a weird mix of cm and inches - comes from growing up in a metric country, with imperial parents!)

Then pin and stitch the two side squares on too:

And then pin the sides together to form a cube - and stitch!

Almost there! The push the foam cube into the pocket you've created (now turned right sides out)

And using a needle and thread - stitch the remaining sides together!

Then roll your dice!!

Having a big foam dice means a simple board game can become quite an 'active' game as the kids run around the garden chasing after the dice!
Or perhaps you could draw your own 'board game' with chalk on the driveway or pavement outside!

You can use your imagination as to what you could put on the sides of the dice, for example you could make a 'conversation dice' - similar to the talking coasters I made recently...

Or you could use fur and make your own set of fluffy dice for your car! (do people still have those?)
The possibilities are endless!

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

If you liked this tutorial, I have over 100 free sewing tutorials for making all kinds of things for all levels of sewing abilities. Why not take a look at My Free Sewing Tutorials Pages.


  1. That's awesome - my kids love novelty toys like that. I made a big crochet die a while ago and it gets pulled out when we play board games....always makes it interesting :)

  2. That's a really clever idea Jill. I like how you used to use it for making words, great idea for a teacher of little ones. Yahtzee was one of my favourite games too, I haven't played that in ages thanks for the reminder that would be a great game for the girls to play now. Have a great day. xo

  3. I love the big giant honkin' dice! What a fun way to play Yahtzee! And doing the same with the conversation coasters = genius!

  4. Those dice are amazing and so adorable! What a great idea! I loved playing Yahtzee!! And I can see how the kids would love playing the game as well with these dice! Wonderful!

  5. Thank you so much for your nice comment on my blog! And for following! I had a great time reading through your blog and I'll be stopping by frequently! Love this dice idea by the way. i made some wood ones before and I have to keep them far away from the kids because they could probably do some serious damage :) I never thought about foam! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Cool idea! Thanks for visiting me from the blog hop at www.survivingateacherssalary.blogspot.com
    I'm following you back & cant wait to see more!

  7. These are awesome... I'll have to give it a go... Thanks for the follow... following ya back.. and look forward to reading more..


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