Expedit dice

Published on November 23rd, 2011 | by Jules Yap


Expedit + dice

Expedit + dice (a lot of them)

Description: Recently we decided to beef up our bland Ikea furniture a bit. The victim was an Expedit rack that we use as a hi-fi rack in our living room. I am a huge fan of pixel art and would cover my whole apartment in 8-bit if I could. Anyhow, as we wanted it to be something that is functional and nice to look at, we decided the only reasonable thing to do is to cover the whole rack with a curtain of dice.

From a functional perspective, this had two benefits. First it stabilised the rack by making it heavy and rigid, which makes it a perfect base plate for a vinyl player. Secondly it hides the mess in the rack. I have to be honest. Mess is inevitable and good cover techniques are vital sometimes. In any way, we also wanted something that is a bit unusual, interesting, but a pleasure to look at.

Finally, we had long discussions who would be best to decorate our new rack. Personally I am a big fan of Italian spaghetti-western uber hero Bud Spencer, so the decision was quite easy. However, everything we were looking for was a picture that comes with a clear contrast and a pleasant smile. The overall cost for this project was about 90 Euros, for about 3000 dice (we found cheap remnants on ebay) and 4 Expedit panels.

Also we made a video about it:

See more of the Expedit + Dice.

~ Robert, London

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

14 Responses to Expedit + dice

  1. Laurent B says:

    I think it’s awesome and I’m really thinking about doing the same thing.

    So I’ve understood the thing with the software, but I’ve searched for really cheap dices, and for sure it won’t be 90€ !
    Without event counting the doors to put the dices on, for 3000 dices I found nothing less 190€ ! :/
    Which is quite pricey.

    Does somebody know any website to get some really cheap dices ? :)

  2. I played with this a fair bit today to make it easier for others to use. Now it can load external images (you dont need to download the code yourself), can show with die colored white, black or both and is using a die image rather than the font approach for better compatability:


    Could still be a lot cleverer but its a start

  3. Mister Visso says:

    Pas de réponse et suppression de mes commentaires !!!!
    Pathetique !

  4. Caroline Riley says:


    Yes, please post about your methods of placing dice, Jules. I understand pixels, and it’s obvious (I think) that the more dots per side, the lighter the effect, but I’d like to know how you put that knowledge together and end up with an arrangement that works!

    I’ve just played around a little with this, and here’s what I came up with, using Corel’s Ulead PhotoImpact as my editing software (it’s a good but much cheaper package than Photoshop):

    1. Crop the image you’d like into a pefect square or whatever shape fits your project. (I like the facial close-up that Jules used… why bother with a background?) Who says this has to be only an Expedit door project???

    2. Resize the image so that the length & width in pixels is equal to the number of dice you can fit in your project. (This presumes you’ve done the math with your project and your dice.)

    3. Convert the image to grayscale.

    4. Darken/brighten to your preference.

    5. Save it as a GIF file with only 6 shades (since you’ve got only 6 different dice faces).

    6. Open the saved GIF file.

    7. Enlarge the grayscale image on your screen so you can see individual pixels well enough to distinguish them. (This will differ based on your monitor and eyesight!)

    9. By examining the individual grayscale colors CAREFULLY, determine the relative darkness of the 6 colors in your images and assign those to the 6 different dice faces.

    10. Place your dice on your project surface to correlate with the pixels/shades on your monitor.

    Steps 1-9 took me ~10 minutes to figure out. Step 10 seems like it would take hours. ;-)

    Ooooh, I’m going to make something nice with dice! Thanks, Jules!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Taken from his Blog:
    “Using the Pixastic library we built a javascript based prototype (that you can find online here). Basically, we converted a variety of images into a monochrome version, scaled it down to a resonable amount of pixels and subsequently posterized the image to 6 levels of grey that we could easily replace with one of the faces of a die”

    There is also a link to the script used to do the process, however, I can’t seem to get it working with eithe Firefox or IE.
    If anyone has better luck, please share how as I’d love to experiment with it :D

  6. Anonymous says:

    great vid – love bonaparte ;-) but anym2 is right: some help on where to put the dice is sure needed… unless you’re a genius.

    anyway, awesome idea and realization!

  7. Nicole says:

    This is so great! And I love the video!!! :-)

  8. Archangel says:

    I love what you did, that you used such great imagination. I love the video you made and only want to know ALSO how to make such a sort of ‘stop motion’ video, sorry dont know what to call the action in it where things sort of magically appear. What is it called. And I hope every roll of the dice for your live is a great one.

  9. Anonymous says:

    For me, the video almost was the best part. Fun! :-)

    But I was very interested in seeing how you put that image together. Well, no dice.

    Pray DO tell! Was it very dicey?

    I’ll stop now.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE IT! great talent

  11. Anonymous says:


  12. Anonymous says:

    Cheesy video aside (:p), the end product is great. Any chance you could shed a little more insight on your art creation process – you make it look like you just knew in your head exactly where to put what dice number where … which if you’re a genius you may have, but a mere mortal like myself would assume there was a planned approach…Thanks :)

  13. Anonymous says:

    Bud Spencer for the win!

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