HOWTO: Propose

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Last month my friend Ryan came over and we used our collective skills and tools to convert a novelty 3" six-sided die into a ring box for a proposal to his girlfriend Sylvia. We took a bunch of build photos (as one does) but I couldn't share them, of course, because that would ruin the surprise1. Ryan and Sylvia met at a Nerds at Heart game night, so it seemed apropos.

I'm happy to report that this last week, Ryan proposed to Sylvia on the London Eye ferris wheel and she accepted. It also means that I can finally share the build photos that Ryan has now posted. Love, whatever. Power tools!

We used a circular saw to cut the die in half and that's the one thing I think I'd do differently next time2—it took quite a bit of material out and the box is now noticably non-cubic3. (Cubal? Cubicle?) I couldn't find my large clamps to secure the die for cutting, but I had the brainstorm of using packing tape to tape the die down to a board. I'm not sure I'd recommend it for large-scale production, but it seemed to hold the die safely in place enough.

The ring had come on a nice little velvet stand (seen above) and Ryan's idea was to embed that into the die for a nice presentation. We cut out a shallow indentation for the base using a sander bit on a Dremel. For the deeper indent needed on the top, we took out quite a bit of material using a drill to "swiss cheese" the die and then cut between the holes and smoothed things out with the sander bit again.

Ryan had, smartly I think, decided to avoid the complications of hinges and we joined the two halves with two dowel pieces (left over from an Ikea parts pack). I wish we had had a drill press to make the holes perfectly vertical, but I did pretty OK with my cordless drill and a steady hand, and then Ryan was able to tidy things up as he was glueing the dowels in later. Ryan also painted the interior of the die black to make it even fancier.

All told, a successful project, I think, from both a handyman and a romantic perspective. And congratulations to Ryan and Sylvia.


[1] I have very strong opinions about proposals—I think that deciding to get married should be a mutual decision and whole stereotype of a woman fretting while she waits for her man to "pop the question" is pretty raddicho. But Ryan said that he and Sylvia had already decided to get married, but that they also thought it would be fun to have a production proposal. I can get behind that, and hey, a chance to use my filter mask.

[2] You know, the next time I'm making a giant six-sided die into a ring box for a proposal. I have a feeling it's going to become a cottage industry for me.

[3] To my eye, anyway. I probably shouldn't say anything, lest I ruin this precious memory. But I have to be honest, for science.

Update: Ryan's take on the build.