Handmade Freemasonry Dice
The story of how these handmade polyhedral Masonic-themed dice sets came to be.
How It Started
I had my very first vendor booth at ICON 46 (Iowa’s longest-running Sci-Fi/Fantasy Convention) in October of 2021. The Saturday of that convention, a gentleman by the name of Kerry Staggs stopped by my booth and was marveling over my handmade, pressure-cast, epoxy resin dice. When I explained that I make these by hand, he asked if I could make some dice with a certain symbol, pointing to the artwork on his ring. It was the Square and Compass. As Kerry put it, "DnD is the new golf. LOTS of Masons game and they would love to have a Masonry set to roll at the table!" I told him I’d have to do some research because I knew next to nothing about Freemasonry, other than we have that cool museum in Cedar Rapids.
The following week my friends were asking me how my first vendor event went. I was chatting with my dear friend Monica Schmidt about it and told her about Kerry and what he had said. She said, “Hang on, I know a guy,” which didn’t surprise me at all seeing as how she runs in some pretty big Sherlockian circles and seems to know everyone, or at least someone who knows someone. Suddenly, I’m in a Facebook Messenger chat discussing Freemasonry symbolism with Guide Sobecki and Dr. S. Brent Morris. And thus was the beginning of my R&D team.
Research and Development
I've lived within a 30-mile radius of the Iowa Masonic Library and Museum my whole life, so I knew exactly where to go for more information. I called them up in November of 2021 and met with the librarian, Bill Krueger. He was very kind in taking me on a tour of the museum, teaching me about the symbolism, and allowing me to use the library's resources for my research.
After compiling a giant list of symbols, Mr. Sobecki and Dr. Morris were kind enough to help me narrow the pool down to just the most “universally recognized” symbols across all factions of Freemasonry.
D20: Square and Compass. The ubiquitous logo of Freemasons around the world.
D12: Open Book. It can represent a holy book, the rule of law, or your Player's Handbook.
D%: Acacia is an evergreen tree, and it symbolizes immortality. Every campaign has those few amazing moments that are simply unforgettable.
D10: Hourglass with Wings, reminding us that time is fleeting. Be present at the table and enjoy the people you're with.
D8: 24-inch Gauge. These old-fashioned rulers were collapsible, folding down into 8-inch lengths. It reminds us to spread our time evenly between work, play, and rest.
D6: The All-Seeing Eye. This can be a reference to a holy deity or the eye of the Game Master.
D4: Trowel, reminding us to spread brotherly love as one would spread mortar on a stone while building a wall. Here it symbolizes how players work together to build the story of their characters and their epic adventures.
D2: The Sun and the Moon are like two sides of the same coin, representing day and night. TTRPGs were once a guilty pleasure to be hidden away in a dark basement. Now they have come into the light of mainstream gaming and entertainment to spread joy and comradery among the masses.
Then came the question of which dice got which face. We knew the d20 had to have the Square and Compass, since it is the main die in the set and the main symbol of Freemasonry. The next-most-"popular" die and symbol are the d6 and the All-Seeing Eye, so we put those together.
Since mortality and immortality are intrinsically linked, we decided to put the Acacia Sprigs and Hourglass with Wings on the two ten-sided dice in the set, the d% and the d10, respectively. We had the same idea for the Sun and the Moon, so we put them both on the d2.
The shape of the trowel meant it was the easiest shape to fit on the d4 without it getting so tiny you couldn't tell what it was. Same thing with the 24-inch Gauge—the image took up a good chunk of space, so we put it on the d8, the die that had the most surface area per face. Finally, by process of elimination, that left the book and the d12 together.
With that, we had the concept designed and ordered our first set of masters from RevelBrokerDice.
While the masters were being made, we started considering colors. I decided early on that all the dice would be inked in a sparkling yellow-gold, since nearly every Masonic faction uses gold as accents, outlines, and other decorative touches. Gold also evokes the gold one spends at the tavern on a round of drinks for their adventuring buddies.
But what color should the actual dice be? Again Mr. Sobecki and Dr. Morris were right there with the answer—Blue. Blue Lodges, Craft Lodges, or Ancient Craft Lodges refer to the lodges that work the first three Masonic degrees, and therefore is the most ubiquitous color in Freemasonry. After some color tests with my non-Masonic dice molds, I came up with a “recipe” of bright shimmering white, deep inky black, and sapphire blue with blue foil flakes, all marbled and swirled together. When I inked them in that sparkling yellow-gold, we all knew I we had a winning combination.
Trial and Error
Until this point, I had been working by myself in The Studio (a spare bedroom in our house), but if demand was going to be what everyone assured me it was going to be, I’d need to really scale up production and get some help. My husband quit his job at the end of January 2022 and joined me full-time in The Studio.
Spring and summer of 2022 were full of experiments to determine the best way we could make the most dice as quickly as possible while still maintaining the same quality I was able to achieve when I was making them by myself one set at a time.
Methods of making mold forms and what size to make them
Which silicone would work best for the slab molds (1 mold with all 8 dice in it)
Curing times and pressures for the silicone
Different mold release methods for casting the silicone
Getting the small-scale recipe to work at larger production scale
Different mold release methods for casting the dice
Various polishing methods
Different inking techniques and formulations
We decided to purchase a 3D UV Resin printer so we could make our own masters. We’re completely happy with the service and quality we received from RevelBrokerDice, but we wanted to have more than one set of masters so we could make more than one mold at a time. It was more cost-effective to get our own equipment and do it ourselves.
We also expanded our equipment and supplies and got set up for production. While all this was happening, I partnered with my friend Skylar Laud, who is a graphic designer and works at a printing company. I had an idea in my head of what the packaging for these special dice should look like but had zero clue how to make it happen. She happily took on the project and I must say, she outdid herself. The labels for the boxes, the Certificates of Authenticity, and their golden envelopes and seals, it’s all very clean and classy.
By August, Graeme and I were pouring 18 sets of dice every day. Also, Graeme got his first degree.
Kerry arranged for us to have a booth at the 178th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Iowa A.F. & A.M. in Cedar Rapids, IA September 16-17th to do our soft launch of the entire Handmade Freemasonry Dice project.
At the banquet the evening of the 17th, while the winners of the charity silent auction were announced, the Grand Secretary Craig Davis asked me to come on stage and speak a bit about this project. After I told the audience everything I’ve just written here, I presented set #0001 of Craft Lodge Blue, set #01 of 18 of our Master Dice, and our first dice mold to the Iowa Masonic Library and Museum for their collection.
I also announced that, to thank them for all the time they spent helping me with this project, and to help them continue to curate their incredible collection, Studio Eldeen Handmade Art LLC is donating a portion of all proceeds from the sales of our Handmade Freemasonry Dice sets to the Iowa Masonic Library and Museum.
As things stand now, we are finishing the inking process for all the Craft Lodge Blue dice we poured this summer and expect to ship out our pre-orders as early as November 2022. You can place your order here.
We’ve also been working on colorways to represent other facets of Freemasonry such as York Rite, Scottish Rite, Shriners, and Knights Templar. There are other plans as well, but I’ll share those when the time comes.