Skin Cups.

Posted by DmentD | Making,Pictures | Thursday 20 June 2013 11:43 pm

Continuing adventures in leathercraft!

A little background for this project: Steve Jackson Games, an Austin game manufacturer who has been producing well known gamer favorites such as Chez Geek and Munchkin, released a quick, fun, and addictive ‘press your luck’ style dice game a few years back called Zombie Dice. Knowing me, you know I can’t refuse many zombie themed things, and a fun game is always good to have around. I eventually bought two sets of the game (and it’s expansion, Zombie Dice 2) — one for the house, and one to keep in the car for impromptu game sessions.

The game itself is awesome, and my only complaint has less to do with the game, and everything to do with the game’s container. The game comes in a dice cup which is essentially a cardboard tube with a plastic cap at either end. It’s noisy as hell when you shake the dice, and we find ourselves playing in places like coffee houses where that dental-loosening rattle is more than a little obnoxious.  SJ Games sells a soft bag you can use in place of the cup, but there’s something a little sad about pulling dice from a bag. I filed away the desire to find or make something better for another time.

Fast forward to now. I’ve got a few leather projects under my belt, and it occurred to me that I could make a sturdy leather cup, lined with felt or velvet, and that would look good and muffle a good deal of the rattle. Even better, I can make it themed to the game… why not have the appearance of zombie skin, greenish, brown and mottled. But hey, this a game where you play a zombie — no self respecting zombie would use a cup made from zombie hide, oh no, they’d cobble something together from their victims. Which to choose? Oh, wait, I have two sets of the game, looks like I’m making both! *grins*

The cups are made from heavy vegetable tanned saddle-grade leather that is nice and stiff. They’re stitched together using artificial sinew for that ‘harvested from a corpse’ look. The cups are very roughly stitched together (that’s a feature, not a reflection of my neophyte status as a leathercrafter, honest!). The insides are lined with a deep red velvet, and the caps are not lined, but instead stained with a very similar shade of red (‘cranberry’ to be precise).

The zombie skin cup has extra stitching to suggest closing up of tears or wounds to make a solid vessel. If I were to make another of this style, I would either eliminate that altogether, or use the same ‘loop stitch’ I use everywhere else. I particularly like the dirty discolored effect that is a result of staining the leather, then softening it with alcohol to shape and stitch it.

The cylinder of the human skin cup is assembled from four individual pieces of leather that were stained different shades of skin tone, then stitched together. There is no straight line seam on the cylinder itself such as the other cup has. Again, that may be something I add to v2 of the zombie skin cup.

Lastly, the Zombie Dice 2 expansion adds three dice to the original game. Sometimes we don’t always feel like playing with the expansion included, so I made little dice pouches out of shaggy black suede to contain the expansion dice to keep us from having to dig them out every time. It fits neatly into the cup for storage.

They all turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself, and I learned a lot more about working with leather from this project. Isn’t that the goal, after all?

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1 Comment

  1. FABULOUS! You don’t need to be a “game GEEK” to appreciate the imaginative mind behind these dice cups. Lovely work on these and the pouches shown in a previous post.

    Sorceress
    June 23, 2013 @ 2:19 pm


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