How to make your own Dungeons & Dragons chocolate dice mold

Guest post by Ariel Segall
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I've had several people request a tutorial for the Dungeons and Dragons dice mold that I created for Chocolates By Ariel. So, here's my step-by-step tutorial for how to make this:

How to make your own Dungeons and Dragons chocolate dice mold

So that you can make these:

How to make your own Dungeons and Dragons chocolate dice mold

Before we begin, some disclaimers. First and foremost: This is about as complicated and expensive (net cost: $100 + shipping) a mold as you're likely to get, for anything reasonably sized. (Well, unless you want molded daleks complete with little plunger-arms or something else that is fundamentally not a convex shape.) That's because it has a lot of little, tiny, fiddly pieces, and it's a two-piece mold meant to create solid 3D shapes with no flat back. And the little fiddly pieces are of variable depth so you need way more silicone than you would if, say, you were just molding your favorite buttons. Chances are, your mold doesn't need to be this insane. But that's fine! You can still use this tutorial, just skip the pieces that are clearly irrelevant.

Second: I learned how to do this from MakeYourOwnMolds.com. Not only do they sell all of the materials you need for food-safe custom molds, but they have excellent YouTube tutorials. If you decide to do a project like this, I do encourage you to go look around their site. That goes double if you're doing a one-piece mold of a single object; they have other products that are much easier to use than the liquid stuff for simple projects.

How do make your own D&D chocolate dice mold

Materials:

  • 7 sets D&D dice
  • 5 lbs two-part liquid molding silicone (NOT latex)
  • 4-5 lbs food-safe modeling clay (you can get away with less, but I'm not that good)
  • Food-safe wax (“Release-Dit” is the silly brand name)
  • A handful of simple 3D objects to make the mold alignment slots/tabs. (I used the flat-bottomed oblong glass marbles we use for counters in board games.)
  • Disposable containers for mixing the silicone in (large Chinese soup containers are great)
  • Sturdy disposable stirrers for stirring the silicone
  • A flat container at least as deep as a standard baking dish, large enough to hold all of your dice spread out; or, more modelling clay, parchment paper, and patience. (Note: you will be shoving modeling clay into said flat container. A smart person would probably not have put modelling clay directly into her good baking dish. Not being a smart person, I can tell you that it's a bitch to clean; you might want to use a disposable container if you can find one that's big enough. You definitely want something with smooth walls, though, because the silicone will ooze into everything.)
  • A kitchen scale, or measuring cups you don't care about (improvised will do, as long as you can evaluate equal amounts of two liquids)
  • A natural bristle paintbrush that you don't mind throwing away when you're done. (Two if you're making a very detailed two-part mold.)

We're going to be molding this in two halves, so that we can separate the halves, fill them, empty them, all that good stuff. However, silicone is thick stuff; we can't just stick the dice in a layer of it (which would be the easy approach), because they'll float rather than staying at the level we want. So instead, we're going to mold from the top down.

PART ONE:

STEP ONE:
You'll want to put a layer of clay into your container that's deep enough to hold all of your dice to the level you want one half of your mold to be. (For everything except d4s, that's “halfway.” For d4s, you're basically going to have the entire volume of the die in one half, and just enough depth to mold the numbers in the other half.) Get the surface reasonably flat and smooth; this will become the model for your mold's dividing surface, and it'll be easier to clean if it's not rough.

STEP TWO:
How to make your own Dungeons and Dragons chocolate dice mold
Push your alignment markers into the clay, making sure that you have at least one per corner. (I ended up doing five, so that I couldn't accidentally rotate one half of the mold; in this picture, you see six because I wasn't yet sure how much of the clay base I'd need for the dice.)

STEP THREE:
Then, begin inserting your dice one by one to their dividing line. Make sure to leave at least a quarter inch of space between them at the narrowest spots; any less than that and the silicone may be too wobbly to get a good shape.

How to make your own Dungeons and Dragons chocolate dice mold

You will notice shortly — probably when you get to the d10s — that many dice do not actually have a simple horizontal dividing line between the “top” and “bottom” halves. Instead, they have a jagged edge where the faces meet. This is rather inconvenient, since silicone will creep under any exposed surfaces and create molds that have a little inward divot. We'll just have to live with some of that — after all, that's the shape we're trying to create — but we want to have as little of those fragile lips as possible. (Remember how I said that less than 1/4″ of silicone isn't reliably stable?) So when putting dice in, I found it helpful to use a little extra clay to fill in some of those hollows, just a little bit.

Remember, it's not the end of the world if the final mold surface isn't perfectly flat; we just want it smooth enough to easily scrape/scrub clean.

STEP FOUR:
Once all the dice are inserted, you may discover that your container is too big for your dice after all. If so, build yourself a little clay wall, like so:

How to make your own Dungeons and Dragons chocolate dice mold

This will make sure you only use the silicone you need, and don't waste it filling unnecessary space. Note how the clay there is actually rubbed up to meet the wall of the dish: the silicone is liquid, and *will* get into cracks if you leave any. And then your mold will have little stringy bits, and you'll have to cut them off, and that will just be annoying. So be sure to smooth your edges together.

So you should now have a final “master,” that looks something like this:

How to make your own Dungeons and Dragons chocolate dice mold

(As an aside: Note how mine is crooked and tilts slowly up as it goes left? Yeah, the final mold ended up lopsided too. It's usable, but annoying. Don't do that. Silly me didn't think to look from the side when deciding whether the clay was flat.)

STEP FIVE:
Next, we're going to mix the silicone. With the stuff I used, it's a 50-50 mixture. I did an initial volume estimate in water, divided that in two, and used that to measure the amount of silicone I'd need. Note that I used my good measuring cups for this, figuring that stainless steel would be easy to clean. Unmixed silicone is sticky. Very sticky. Also not water-soluble, and soap is only of limited use. Don't make my mistake; you'll regret it for the next three weeks of scrubbing. Use, say, smaller Chinese soup containers instead. Or use a kitchen scale to get 50-50 weight ratios; it'll be more accurate anyway. Also note that when combining silicone, it is really important to get it well-mixed. If you think it is well-mixed, it's not; scrape out the bottom and sides some more. This stuff is thick and sticky.

STEP SIX:
How to make your own Dungeons and Dragons chocolate dice mold
You'll want to mix an initial small batch, using a subset of your final volume. This will be used to brush into the cracks and fine details in your master: in this case, to highlight all the numbers on the dice. You'll also want to use it to get a thin coat of silicone around the final surface of the mold: all of the major edges, the top, etc. This is to prevent annoyingly-located bubbles from causing problems with the final casting. (It isn't critical that you get to the edges of the dish; after all, that's just aesthetic.)

STEP SEVEN:
How to make your own Dungeons and Dragons chocolate dice mold
Next, mix the rest of the silicone for this half, and pour it in, as far from the critical components as you can without splashing. Make sure to fill to a depth of at least 1/4″ beyond your tallest object; make a note on the side of the container before pouring if you need to. You'll end up with something that looks (with my silicone, anyway) disturbingly like a casserole dish full of Velveeta.

STEP EIGHT:
Let it sit for at least four hours, or whatever it says with the instructions for your silicone. Overnight works great. When it's done, it should be solid, not even a little bit sticky, and if you press it with something thin like a coin, it'll just spring immediately back into shape without leaving even a temporary dent. In other words, it'll look and feel like solid silicone. Remove it from your container; don't worry about prying a bit, it's tough. Peel off any clay that's stuck to it, and voila:

How to make your own Dungeons and Dragons chocolate dice mold

How to make your own Dungeons and Dragons chocolate dice mold

You've got half of your mold! If you want something with flat bottoms — say, you want to decorate your cake with half-dice, or whatever — you can stop now. Otherwise, on to Part Two!

PART TWO:

STEP ONE:
First, liberally coat your shiny new mold with your Release-Dit or other handy-dandy wax. Wipe off the excess; you just need enough that the next batch of silicone won't stick to itself, not so much that you get lumps where the wax was. And then go through and put all of those dice back into the mold, being sure to align the numbers correctly. (You may need to rub them down in paper towels to clean the excess clay off; remember, you want those numbers clear!) Do NOT put your alignment components back in: the whole idea is that you'll have a raised piece of silicone in the other half of the mold that you can slot in when you're creating your real objects.

STEP TWO:
Put the mold back into the container, once you've removed the clay; or, if the container didn't have straight sides so your mold won't fit, or if you forgot to put plastic wrap at the bottom of the container so you get fed up trying to get the clay back out (oops), put the mold on a piece of parchment paper big enough to protect your table from leaks and splashes, and use that extra clay to build a wall around it on all four sides, remembering to smooth the clay to prevent leaks. (Sorry, didn't get a work-in-progress photo of this one.)

STEP THREE:
Use the same technique as before to mix a little silicone and cover the surfaces and details, then a large batch to fill in. Let set, and voila:

How to make your own Dungeons and Dragons chocolate dice mold

STEP FOUR:
Remove the dice, clean off clay and wax with a quick scrub in the sink (non-scratching sponges only!), and you're ready to go. You may see a few flimsy little raised edges in the new half, from where silicone leaked under dice without the clay barrier; you can use an X-acto knife or small sharp scissors to cut those off, but small firmly attached ones won't do you any harm.

And there you have it: one 3D mold for D&D chocolate dice.

How to make your own Dungeons and Dragons chocolate dice mold

And if you end up deciding that this is way too insane, but you desperately want D&D dice anyway…

D20 chocolate dice pops!

Comments on How to make your own Dungeons & Dragons chocolate dice mold

  1. I’ve been looking for a good way to make game pieces for Thud out of chocolate. Looks like it’s entirely feasible to do short runs at home, and I don’t need to spend thousands to get it done professionally. Yay!

    No need for any fancy-pants shaking-beds or centrifuges! I have been lied to by the professional chocolatieres!

    Only thing is, I’ve a friend with anaphylaxis to latex: deathly allergic to the point of not being able to handle newsprint, nor to be in a house with air conditioning where a balloon has recently burst or people have been using erasers in case her throat swells to the point she can’t breathe, etc.

    She’s never mentioned an issue with chocolates or other molded candies, so I suspect that eating the chocolate would not be an issue (though I’d let everyone how they were made, so they could make their own decisions), but latex anaphylaxis is something I’d definitely worry about when *curing* the latex, since she can’t be in a house with drying latex paint, and that’s probably a similar thing.

    Possibly something for others to bear in mind too.

    Also, from my experience, curing latex smells strongly of cat urine. If this stuff’s the same, you might want to do it somewhere with good air flow even if you know all your friends aren’t sensitive to latex! πŸ˜€

    • This is silicone, not latex, so it shouldn’t bother your friend at all! Most food businesses ae completely latex-free nowadays for exactly this reason.

      The shaking-tables are really handy, but easily imitated using these handy things called wrists. πŸ™‚ your arms get a bit tired, but it’s much, much cheaper.

      • UNLESS you’re like me, and allergic to silicone! (Bad when you wear glasses and end up with silicone nosepads; now I have to specially order non-silicone ones with every new pair of glasses.)

        But, on the other hand, silicone doesn’t seem to leave a residue, or not enough of one to bother me, so as long as I don’t touch it for lengthy periods, it should be fine for projects like this. As long as I don’t actually use chocolate, either, since I’m allergic to it. (yay, since I can’t stand it)

        BUT, now I’m wondering, what about GUMMY DICE?

        Anyone worked with making those?

  2. If you’ll insert the d10’s sideways into the hold, you won’t have the divots that from the centre line.you’ll have a four-side top line, two sides will be the line between facets, and the other two will divide a facet.

  3. Ariel, I read this post, then saw your bio. You sound like an amazing and highly accomplished person! Obviously this chocolate mold idea is brilliant.

  4. These are awesome! Since you mention it at the end of the article: How much would it cost to order the chocolates from you since I live in MA (relatively) close to Boston?

  5. why did you bother with the percentage D10’s nobody really even uses those anymore ESP not in D&D

    • Actually, the Chaosium system (the system that Call of Cthulhu is run out of) is played exclusively with a set of percentile dice. Also, fore some the mere fact that they come in a set of dice is enough for some people to consider them worth the time.

      My fiance and I met at a D&D game and he bought me my first set of dice. These will Definitely be the favors at our wedding. πŸ™‚

    • When we played Marvel, we only used the D10s and I’ve used them for both percent chance and when my rangers were leveled up and for damage on certain weapons.

        • Two words: White Wolf! And since you can use percentile d10s just like “normal” d10s, who cares if there’s an extra 0?

          I… may have an awful lot of d10s lying around in my dice bag. And yes, a d10 only mold is on my (long) to-do list…

    • Percentile dice are used a lot for rolling on random tables, and some systems are entirely percentile-based – including Chaosium (Call of Cthulu/Runequest), as well as the FFRPG and several others! GMs often use percentile dice more than players do in things like D&D, moer than you might realize.

  6. This is really awesome, thank you! I’m trying to think of geeky things to make for the Cookie Brigade for this year’s PAX East, and while this is a little involved, I’ll think about it!

    • Good question! I’ve never made gummy anything. I don’t see any reason why *not*, but I’m not sure whether the two-glued-together-halves approach would work as well with gummies. I’ll have to try it sometime.

      That said, there’s someone else on the net with a three-part instead of two-part dice mold design that can be poured into; no reason you couldn’t use that for gummies. (He doesn’t have a step-by-step guide to making them, though.)

  7. I LOVE THESE! That was a labor of love or insanity. But they’re amazing! πŸ™‚

  8. This is really nice! But what I really like is that you founded the Laboratory of Chocolate in MIT, congratulations!!

  9. This is a fantastic tutorial. I am looking forward to making some chocolate d20s.

    When I’ve done (non-food safe) moulds before, I used Lego to build a fence around the mould. You can adjust the lego pieces to whatever size mould you are making, it gives a nice, clean-looking edge to the mould, and I suspect that many people making d20 chocolates have Lego kicking around their apartment.

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