This blog is still under construction. I am currently uploading past projects before posting current projects. Keep checking everyday for more content!

What is Akik Dice Project?

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Making Gemstone Dice at Home Part I: the simple d6

When I started this blog, I was a highschooler with great enthusiasm and spirit, hoping to greatly expand this hobby. However, as I entered college, the business and hassle of life put this hobby to a stop. It's a dying dream, if you wish to say so (but I won't stop collecting dice!). However the dream won't end here. I'm here to share my several years experience of on-and-off making gemstone dice at home so that YOU can make them yourself at home.

There's something special about dice made from gemstone. No, I'm not talking about glass (such as goldstone) nor powdered gemstone cast in resin. It's about REAL, NATURAL gemstones. They're simply one of a kind, and feel significantly different from plastic dice. Making one yourself is an entirely different story. It's like sculpting your minis and painting them. It's just that feeling of attachment that lasts forever. And to mention it, these gemstone dice will probably outlast me and any minis I (wish I) have.

There are quite some manufacturers of these gemstone dice, but choice is rather limited, and the price is steep. I'm here to surprise you, that it IS possible to make one at home. Some exceptions aside, there are only some basic knowledge to know and tools to get, and after trying once or twice you'll get the hang of it.

This article is about making a dF or d6 (or any variant), more details in later posts.
This was literally my whole dicemaking tool lineup,

So to get started, what do you need?
  • Rough/tumbled gemstones
    Try finding affordable gemstones, and check their properties on or Some gemstones (quartz, agate, amethyst) are incredibly tough and some (serpentine, howlite) are easy to work while still affordable and beautiful.
  • Tools: Grinder, Sandpaper, and dremel (if you wish to engrave your dice with pips, numbers, etc)
    I used an old, hand cranked grinder with grinding head for glass/ceramic. If you have an electric grinder and diamond saw you will be able to speed up production up to around 80%.
  • Measuring tools: Caliper and try square
    They are used to measure your work, if you have cut them to the right size and check the angles between the sides.
  To illustrate the process, this is how I made this simple serpentine d6.

    A chunk of serpentine! Pardon me slippers.
  1. Start with a chunk of rock. Grind down a side until it's flat. You want the flat area to be large enough for your dice (e.g. if you want to make a 12mm d6 make sure that you can put a 12mm square inside the flat area)
  2. Grind the opposite side flat, then use your caliper that they are parallel to each other (i.e., they are equally thick wherever you measurent). Now, grind them to the desired thickness (12mm in this case). If you have to grind a lot, you can use a diamond saw to cut the rock. However, note that you still need to finish the surface of the dice so don't cut exactly 12mm, but leave a bit 0.1 or 0.2mm extra.
    Flat on opposite sides.
  3. Draw a square on one of the flat sides. Grind or cut away the area outside of the square. Don't cut too close to the square since you risk to over-cut the rock.
  4. Removing the excess. Notice the faint marks of a square with its diagonals.
  5. After removing most of the unused area, carefully sand down each opposite sides to the desired thickness while keeping them parallel. Make sure that the andacent sides are perpendicular to each other, so you will get a perfect cube. Pro tip: mark your original sides to use as a reference side so you don't get lost and end up skewing the dice.
  6. The cube is done! Note that I mark the sides R for reference and OK if they're already properly cut
  7. If you done this carefully, congratulations! You have a gemstone cube! You can just put some dots with a marker and start rolling, but it wont look as nice as a properly finished dice.
  8. Beware that stones like agate, quartz and their family are very hard to engrave this way.
  9. Now you need to engrave the pips or numbers on the dice. I used permanent markers and rulers to pinpoint where I wanted the pips to be. Then I carved the pips by vertically pushing the dremel onto the cube. Note that this may harm the dremel motor and/or the drill bit/burr. I used dental burrs because they're rather small and inexpensive.
  10. After finishing with some sandpaper.
  11. After getting done with the pips, you can start sanding the faces, edges and corners of the dice. Be sure to sand each face, edge and corner with equal force and angle to get consistent results. And then use finer and finer sandpaper (1000 grit would already IIRC).
  12. Waiting for the paint to dry.
  13. With most of the finishing done, you can paint the dice. I used wood paint to paint the dice, its surface would be similar to glass so most markers won't stick well. The painting process is similar to the industrial painting of dice: put a lot of paint then remove the excess with a polish.
  14. As mentioned in the previous step, the final touch would be to polish the dice. I used cerium powder which is usually used to remove scratches on glass surfaces. They're easy to use and readily available.
  15. Congratulations, you just made your own gemstone dice!
Next tutorial would be about other polyhedral dice and making a rounder d6 (a.k.a. chinese style)

Friday, November 18, 2016

ADP 004 - Quartz D6

Project Number : ADP - 004
Material : Quartz
Size (Edge) : ~12.5 mm
Last Updated : Early 2016
Cut : Done
Sanded : Done
Pipped : 1 out of 6 sides
Painted : 0 out of 6 sides
Polished : 0 out of 6 sides

Well, another D6. Now it's made from quartz. I had high hopes on this project until I started making the pips; the dice was so hard and the surface was very slippery. So I finally gave up after barely making a single pip.

If someday I found a way to effectively carve the pips, I'll surely continue this project.

ADP 003 - Labradorite D12

Project Number : ADP - 003
Material : Labradorite
Size (Edge) : ~5mm
Last Updated : Early 2016
Cut : In progress
Sanded : 0 out of 12 sides
Pipped : 0 out of 12 sides
Painted : 0 out of 12 sides
Polished : 0 out of 12 sides

This is rather messy. The D12 started out well, but I screwed up when cutting the last sides. I forgot which were the sides that were cut first. The first few sides were cut more accurately so they were useful for angle reference and approximating whether the other sides had been cut properly or not. At the end I couldn't make a perfect dodecahedron so I abandoned this project. I mean, most of the sides are so far from regular pentagons ;-;

Sunday, July 17, 2016

ADP 002 - Labradorite D6

Project Number : ADP - 002
Material : Labradorite
Size (Edge) : 0.935 cm
Last Updated : December 2015
Cut : Done
Sanded : Done
Pipped : Done
Painted : Done
Polished : Done

This was my first time to actually make a finished dice. Unfortunately the labradorite I used wasn't a good one so the colors are only visible on two opposite sides. (Sides 1 and 6)

Here's some picture of the dice before the numbers were carved.

I have to admit I was amazed by the chatoyancy. It is something that a bunch of photos can't describe.

On this project, I decided to try carving numbers instead of streaks or pips.

It worked fine, although Labradorite was very brittle, making the numbers look messy. The dice itself has numerous tiny pores and natural cracks which got filled by the paint, which become the small blue dot and lines :( Some of the corners also got chipped when I was making the dice, mostly when the dice fell from some height (higher than normal rolls obviously).

Again, it seemed I need to get better pictures.

ADP 001 - Diorite + Hematite (?) D8

Project Number : ADP - 001
Material : Diorite + Hematite (?) D8
Size (Edge) : ~0.9 cm
Last Updated : December 2015
Cut : Done
Sanded : Done
Pipped : Done
Painted : Done
Polished : 0 out of 6 sides

This dice was also one of my earliest dice. I wasn't serious about making dice back then so I didn't ask the seller what this rock was. Diorite with hematite is my best guess since it looked like diorite and slightly attracted to magnets. I bought the rock as a chunk and cut it down into a cube, before sanding the corners into an octahedron. Since I had difficulties making pips on rocks, so I had an idea to make streaks instead.

On the picture to the left, the dice shows the "3" side. There are 2 horizontal streaks and 1 vertical streaks. Therefore the side shows 2+1=3. The other picture shows side 3 (top), 2 (right), 8 (bottom, visible on the reflection), and 5 (left). Might need to take a better picture.

To make the streaks look more contrast, I colored them with silver markers.

ADP 000 - Bloodstone (?) D6

Project Number : ADP - 000
Material : Bloodstone (?)
Size (Edge) : 1.15 cm
Last Updated : November 2015
Cut : Done
Sanded : Done
Pipped : 4 out of 6 sides
Painted : 0 out of 6 sides
Polished : 0 out of 6 sides

This was my first attempt on making a dice. I bought a chunk of green rock (which seems to be the green part of bloodstone?) at a local store for a really cheap price. Since there were right angles already, it was fairly easy to make into a cube. Rounding the corners were also easy. However, making the pips are totally different story. I didn't have a proper tool to make the pips, so it was rudiculously hard to do, and I quit doing the pips after 4 sides done. The last time I touched this dice was last year's November.

Friday, July 15, 2016

What is Akik Dice Project?

Hi, welcome to Akik Dice Project. This project is commited to make unique polyhedral dice completely by hand.

In Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language), "akik" means a type of agate. However, these days the term has been generalized to refer to semi-precious stone (or just some rock that look good for jewelry), which are usually en cabochon and used on rings.

So "Akik Dice", well, means dice that are made from semi precious stone. But why make dice from rocks? Why not plastic? Most rocks are more durable (harder) than plastic, although some are also very brittle. If proper material was chosen for a dice, it would last for a very long time. Moreover, naturally occuring rocks would have unique pattern and colour, which make the dice more beautiful. Making dice from rocks are challenging from choosing the correct material, cutting them, sanding down to the proper shape, to carving and polishing.

There are three series in this project, which are:
  • ADP (Akik Dice Project), "regular" dice, but still, one of a kind.
  • ADX (Akik Dice Project Extended), "special" dice, which is unique from an aspect or more.
  • SP (Subsidiary Project), other things, which may be not really a dice, etc.
Each series are numbered separately and each number designates a particular dice.

As of now, I have no plans to sell any of the dice, but I still don't know in the future.