There are quite many manufacturers of miniature storage boxes on the market. I particularly like and recommend the quality boxes by Feldherr and the cheaper ones by Safe & Sound. Sometimes however you’ll want something custom made for a particular army or warband. That’s why in this quick tutorial I’ll show you a relatively simple way to build a custom DIY miniature storage box to carry your wargaming figures. I used mine as compact and custom way to transport my 15mm Kings of War Historical 2.000 points Carthage army as featured here.
Planning and preparing you DIY miniature storage box
For this project you’ll absolutely need a Proxxon hot wire or even fancier a laser cutter. Believe me.
- Proxxon Thermocut
- a box of some sort
- foam sheets (I used 5cm and 2 cm) to fit in my box
- pens (to draw on paper and foam)
- hobby knife
- all purpose glue (test if it sticks to foam)
- printed labels (optional)
- felt (optional)
First I started with a gridded paper cut to size of the future box. Then I laid down my miniatures and traced the necessary space with a pen and a ruler. Make sure to leave some gap of minimum 1 cm between each of the future holes in the foam.
Cutting the foam the DIY way
After cutting out the paper template, I laid it on the custom cut foam block (I used the 5cm sheet for the main part) and traced the spots with a felt pen.
Using the Proxxon Thermocut I cut out the 3 middle “lanes” (yellow and orange: 4+5). Those will be cut to size later on and glued back on as the 1 cm spacers (4) an as the actual footprint cut offs (5) to use them as bottom parts for the holes. For that you’ll need to cut them to the right height. In order to cut the main frame (green: 1-3) you’ll have to cut through some areas (1, 2 and 3) of that last one. Accordingly you’ll need to glue them together again. Speaking of gluing, I used cheap all purpose glue, which worked quite well. I advise you to test it out first on a piece of off cut, which I did as well.
Above I added a rough schematic “plan” to illustrate the cutting process with its respective steps below. But I think the picture above and below should help explaining the process as well.
Make sure to always dry fit the inserts and spacers using your miniatures during the build process. At one point you’ll need to adapt to the situation at hand.
After some cutting, dry fitting and gluing, my foam tray started to look like this:
To finalize the box I cut and added a 2 cm foam piece to cover the miniatures. Remember my box is 7 cm high on the inside, hence 5 cm plus 2 cm foam sheets.
Finishing touches for the miniature storage box
Finally I typed in the desired labels in LibreOffice Calc (free). You can use the spreadsheet software of your choice (Excel, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Google, etc. …). It’s important to adjust the column widths and row heights to your desired size. Afterwards I printed them out and glued them on the foam using the same all purpose glue as I did for all of the other foam bits. Furthermore I printed my army list on a small enough size to fit inside the box. Laminating it helps to strengthen and protect it further.
Finally I glued in some thin felt sheet on the interior side of the lid. That way, I can use it as a dice tray during play. To conclude I added a label and club sticker as final touches.
Basically if you have a Proxxon thermo cutter, this project is quite accessible and could be done in an evening. The hot wire is a must though. I don’t see myself cutting the foam with a knife.
I hope you’re inspired to build your own custom DIY Miniature storage box for your favorite army or war band.