Giant Metallic DIY D20

Geek Decor: Giant DIY D20Have you ever stared at that empty spot on your bookshelf and thought “A giant, metal D20 would look great right there”?

We did. So we made our own giant DIY D20 – it only took a few minutes, and cost pretty much nothing. You know how IKEA calls most of their “wood” furniture “[type of wood]-effect”? Like “Birch Effect” or “Walnut Effect”? Well, we’re calling this “Metal-Effect”, since it’s just cardboard, masking tape, and spray paint. But it’s almost as close to real metal as IKEA wood is to solid wood. (we still <3 you anyway, IKEA)

We started with cardboard. We found that the ideal cardboard for this is the thin kind used for cereal boxes (or in our case, LEGO boxes – specifically the LEGO Lord of the Rings Tower of Orthanc box). So step one is to eat some cereal or buy a LEGO set and save the boxes.

Cam spent forever figuring out the math on how to make a papercraft D20 (that little white piece of paper was his practice template. Recommended). Later we realized we could have just Googled it, but there’s probably less fun in that. Here is what he came up with, drawn on cardboard (I badly used Photoshop to better show you the shape, since our pencil lines were pretty light):

Papercraft DIY D20Makes sense, right? Each side of each triangle is 4 inches. Use a ruler to draw all of the triangles. We wanted to include a printable template for you, but this is just too big. If you can’t get it all on one piece of cardboard, don’t worry – you can break it up into sections and just tape them together.

Once it’s all drawn, fully cut out the main shape (in red, above) then LIGHTLY score along all of the lines. Don’t break through. We used a box cutter type knife for everything.

Geek Decor: DIY D20When you’re done scoring, it will easily fold into the familiar D20 shape. Just use masking tape (or painters tape, gaff tape, whatever you have) to stick it all together from the INSIDE. Oh, hey Saruman:

DIY Giant D20To seal the final section, we put the tape on the outside, then smoothed over the tape with some wood filler. Not pictured: We also put a tiny bit of wood filler up all of the seams.

DIY Cardboard D20To give it the Metal-Effect, we used the BEST SPRAY PAINT EVER. Seriously, this is awesome. Rustoleum Paint + Primer in one. We normally use the Rubbed Bronze finish (it sticks to metal, plastic, wood – everything), but for this we went with Hammered Pewter. Because pewter and geeky go hand in hand, right? Of course you could just use whatever paint you have around. Make a neon D20, black D20, glitter D20… whatever you fancy.

You probably noticed the lack of numbers. Initially we were going to paint numbers on it (or maybe just a “20”), but in the end decided to go more subtle and leave it blank. This will probably change eventually.

We actually made two, testing out different cardboards. So now we have bookends that are too lightweight to actually hold up books, but they look cool. You COULD throw something heavy in the DIY D20 before sealing it up, to give it weight.

Geek Decor: Giant DIY D20 BookendsWhat do you think of the DIY D20/s? Do you think we should add numbers?


  1. says

    There aren’t adequate words. My World of Warcraft guild is having a meet up in May and we have stuff to give away to attendees. Rolling a giant d20 for stuff is perfect. I could make it in the guild colors. Thanks for the fantastic idea.

    • says

      Haha, thank you! I’ve been carrying that dogeared copy of Please Kill Me around since 1997. One of my favorite possessions, even with part of the back cover missing and yellowing pages. 🙂

      • KatieKeene says

        I read Please Kill Me when I was a teenager (probably about 2002 or so). To see a fellow geek with such awesome taste in books makes me very happy indeed!

  2. Joelle says

    I agree with Jessie, Un-numbered is modern art style, yes it is a D20, but is that why you have it or is it just a cool geometric nick-nack? Keeps you mysterious. My son’s 18th birthday is next week and he has asked for nothing more than the 4th Edition D&D books (DM Manual, Player’s HB and Monster’s compendium) but this will give me a great DIY to personalize it and he’ll have something to take to his college dorm that won’t take up too much space and may serve a purpose. I also have old map weights because I work with field geologists and there are a bunch my office recently were going to throw out. I was going to use them to make shelf-sitting dolls or stocking hooks for the mantle, but I can use one to weigh down the dice! I think I’ll try the roll of flashing I have at home instead of cardboard and emboss the numbers so that it is still subtle. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Sarah says

    This could not have come at a better time… I’ve been hand stitching a D20 on a shirt for my sister, and its going pretty badly (i only have one hand and have never tried sewing other than buttons before) Its her birthday in four days, and I wanted something nerdy dicey for her. So YAY for you guys!! I’m off to eat my body weight in cereal so i can buy more boxes 🙂

  4. says

    Looks awesome! I’ve been kinda obsessed with the geometric trend, so this is totally working for me! Plus it’d make a great gift for my Warhammer-playing husband ^___^ I was wondering if one wanted to make them heavier if they could be filled with plaster of paris or something similar? I’m not sure how the seams would hold up though!

    • says

      We love the geometric trend too! Which was initially part of why we didn’t want to number them (so that the shape stood out more than anything else). Plaster of Paris would probably work – the seams could always be reinforced with duct tape from the inside?

  5. Mary Higgs says

    My son is turning 17 and having a D&D party- I loved your idea and decided to make a gigantic version- using 18 inch triangles. I added the numbers using contact paper and my silhouette machine. It is beyond awesome and everyone was in awe. Thanks for the tutorial! Love your site!

  6. Anne says

    Make a fuzzy pair for your rear view. Cover them in felt. Tie the ends of the string through cardboard pentagons and anchor them inside the D20 before sealing it up. (as a geeky aside – and you probably already know – a D20 is also called a regular icosahedron and one of the five Platonic solids) Thank you for letting my inner geek commune with your inner geeks in some random geekyness. Great job!

    • says

      Thank you, Anne! Next weekend I think we will make the fuzzy dice you suggested. A couple of years ago I bought the version that ThinkGeek made, but unfortunately they were pretty disappointing (too spherical).

  7. Liz A. says

    Currently making a full 7 dice set for my brother’s surprise birthday party, all about this size! I love being a geek!

  8. Alexis says

    I love this! I like it best blank. I do like it subtle and all your nerdy friends will know what it is anyway. I am making a gold one, thanks for the idea and tutorial!

  9. Kathleen says

    I’m so glad I found this site! I’m making one for my dad for tomorrow (father’s day), he’s a big D&D fan and I usually try to get or make him something surrounding that platform every year. I like your blank idea, but I’m painting it red, darkening the lines, and painting the numbers in white. I’m trying to make similar copy to one that he already owns. Thank you so much for this idea!


What do you think?