Advice on making stickers for dice

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BaronVonWreckedoften
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Advice on making stickers for dice

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften »

OK, here's my problem, I'd be interested in the thoughts or advice of anyone who has encountered, or possibly even dealt with, something similar. I seem to recall one or two of you have been involved in printing decals or small stickers in the past for putting onto figures, possibly using specialist printing programmes on your own computers, or bespoke decal manufacturers.

Background - I recently managed to purchase three lots of Flames of War Irish Guards dice (total 60) for a WW1 project - they can be seen here:-

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... &sim=15,16

Now I won't need all 60 of these, so I plan to sell on a few when they arrive in the UK late July, or possibly use them as "prizes" for a Through The Mud & The Blood game I may run in the Lard Zone at various shows next year. However, I do need an alternative colour for rolling different weapons/different ranges/etc and I decided on the Irish Guards plume colour of light blue, with the same regimental badge on the "6" face. Unfortunately, FoW decided to make these dice in 14mm, which rules out having customised dice made in the US (they only work in 12mm or 16mm - Chessex also refused to help because light blue is not one of their "approved" colours for custom work), whilst the only people I found to customise them in the UK, eM4, can only find completely blank light blue dice, which means that they want to charge me to customise all six faces of each die, even though faces 1-5 are just conventional spots - that's £10 + VAT + P&P, making each die a whopping £11 each.

So I decided to go down the sticker/decal route, but bizarrely, every on-line dice retailer in the UK appears to have sold out of 14mm light blue, and word on the streets is that the main manufacturers will not be reprinting this colour (possibly to fall in line with the US and eradicate 14mm dice). However, I have found some 14mm light blue dice in Germany, and now just need to find someone to make the stickers/decals to fit over the "6" face. I have tried to approach some industrial sticker manufacturers, but they either want an insane print run, or the items are too small, or the price is ridiculous.

So, guys, over to you..... :thumbs:
Last edited by BaronVonWreckedoften on Wed May 01, 2024 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Paul
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Re: Advice on making stickers for dice

Post by Paul »

It's very easy to do waterslide ones yourself.

If you have an inkjet or even better colour laser printer.
Get some decal paper from amazon. This comes in clear or white....the white is mainly for printing decals that have white in them.

Any graphics program, even MS paint will enable you to produce the designs you need (just copy and paste from the internet and recolour and resize as needed.
Make up sheets of the required design and size(I use MS word for this, just...because.... and drop images into tables with deleted borders) and print.

You need to seal the sheets with a light coat or two of sealant and then just cut them out and use them like any waterslide transfer.

Happy to help if needed.

(The one caveat is that if you're using a copyright design then you can't sell them and even giving them away could technically be seen as the wrong side of the law!)
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Spanner
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Re: Advice on making stickers for dice

Post by Spanner »

There's one thing to consider about using decals too, mate. You'll need to put two thin coats of a really tough poly varnish over the dice or the decals will rub off in a couple of hours.

As for the printing, that's a piece of urine. What Paul so eloquently described, with a couple of minor additions. What colour for the spots and badge? How good are you with graphics programmes?

1. Use white decal paper.

2. Take a photo of the dice, no flash or in direct sunlight. Do a colour reading of the dice in your graphics programme and use that as the base for your decal art.

3. If you use an inkjet then you cut the decals off the sheet then seal the cut edges before wetting the decals or the ink will bleed out.

This took less than three minutes to do:
T_Dice.jpg
T_Dice.jpg (2.63 KiB) Viewed 553 times
If you're not good with a graphics programme then let me know what you want done, mate, and I'll need a good, .png format, photo of one die face.
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Paul
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Re: Advice on making stickers for dice

Post by Paul »

Absolutely seal them after placing on the dice, I forgot that step, :(
There are also modelling supplies ( I forget who makes them) that blends the edges of the transfer into the model (or in this case dice).

I hadn't thought about sealing the edges as i've always left a clear(unprinted) border but that's a good catch too saving a possible disaster :)
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BaronVonWreckedoften
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Re: Advice on making stickers for dice

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften »

Thanks, guys (and especially for the offer of assistance, Mr Spanner) - I was going to ask about how robust these things were once they are applied, given the rough-and-tumble existence of wargaming dice (mine in particular, which spend a lot of time in mid-air, followed by an abrupt halt, every time the "anything but a 1" cry falls on deaf ears.....). Anticipating the inevitable short life-span, I had planned to buy a gloss varnish spray - probably a harder-wearing version from Halfords one, rather than a run-of-the-mill modelling/artists' type - to try and forestall this.

Here's the badge I'm planning on working from (minus the blue-red-blue underlying flash):-

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/324836118520 ... 23e7c02269

The dice are 14mm and rounded rather than square-sided - is that a problem? You will need to explain "sealing the edges" to me - my last foray into the world of decals was with Airfix tanks in my early-/mid-teens (so about 50 years ago); I suspect I may have forgotten some of the finer points of their application.....
:eb:
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Re: Advice on making stickers for dice

Post by Paul »

Like this ? (Minus the Watermark) Image

The design wouldn't be a problem and the transfers would just need to be sized to fit onto the flat space on the dice. Super easy...barely an inconvenience :D

The only slight complication I can see is that, because of the white in the centre of the design, you' might need to use white transfer paper. That would mean you'd need to cut around all of the "twiddly" bits or you'd end up with a white border.

An alternative would be to use clear transfer paper and underpaint white where you need it to show through.
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Re: Advice on making stickers for dice

Post by Spanner »

Paul wrote: Thu May 02, 2024 12:46 pm The design wouldn't be a problem and the transfers would just need to be sized to fit onto the flat space on the dice. Super easy...barely an inconvenience :D
True, Paul.

So what you'd want is something like this:
T_Irish_Guards.png
T_Irish_Guards.png (159.46 KiB) Viewed 506 times
The blue background would be measured from the die face photo and would be a close match. For 12mm dice I'd set the artwork (spots patterns and star) at 10.5mm sq, with a 12.5mm sq blue surround.

The badge and spots would be printed on white decal paper, as Paul suggested, with the blue surround to match the dice.

To avoid getting a white edge you'd cut through the blue surround to the star/spots. That's normally not good, because some sealants don't penetrate the ink fully, so the cut exposes the ink and it will dissolve when you wet the decal.

So, after cutting the star out you need to run a brush, loaded with a clear, non-water-based sealant, around the edge of the cut, to seal in the ink.

The other option is to deliberately leave a white border as a sort of frame around each face.

PS the star comes from Wiki and is the work of The Hon Joshua Wood, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.p ... d=46844370
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Willz the Wargamer
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Re: Advice on making stickers for dice

Post by Willz the Wargamer »

Baron a bit of cut and pasting to make the badge, I just printed the regimental signs for my WW2 stuff on thin cheap white paper .
A little practice to get the size required, then glued them on the Tanks/AFV's with UHU glue.
After dry matt varnish and then dry brush dirt.



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Paul
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Re: Advice on making stickers for dice

Post by Paul »

Spanner wrote: Thu May 02, 2024 2:21 pm
True, Paul.
If you can get the blue to match that looks good. :)
I think the faces on round cornered dice are almost circular so if you changed the frame to being circular you could probably enlarge the badge size too. (Relatively)
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Re: Advice on making stickers for dice

Post by Spanner »

Paul wrote: Thu May 02, 2024 6:45 pm
If you can get the blue to match that looks good.
That's fairly easy with a decent graphics programme, even a freebie like paint.net. Use the colour sample tool to read the dice colour in the photo and set that as the background colour for the spots and star. It may not match 100%, but it should be close enough.
Paul wrote: Thu May 02, 2024 6:45 pm I think the faces on round cornered dice are almost circular so if you changed the frame to being circular you could probably enlarge the badge size too. (Relatively)
Good point. You could make the blue background a circle for that. However, having to cut out six decals each for a lot of dice may be taking the idea towards the "Too Hard" basket.
If "The System" is the answer, who asked such a bloody stupid question?
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