For a while, after Icehouse Games, Inc. went out of business and before Looney Labs started producing the hollow plastic pieces, the only way to acquire new Icehouse pieces was to make them. Once pieces were again commercially available this activity was no longer necessary, but it continued as among certain crafty and dedicated individuals.
People who make or modify Icehouse pieces are often referred to as "Pieceniks", and their activities are often called "Pieceniking".
Ideas for custom pieces
Here are some ideas for how to make custom pieces. Many of these ideas have been inspired by sets found online, so credit is due to all the people who originally came up with the ideas.
- Fill the clear stackable pieces with colored sand and seal it in with hot glue, or just fill them in with decorative hot glue
- Make molds and use polymer clay (Sculpy or Fimo) to make pieces which can be baked in the oven
- Color in paper pieces
- Make actual Origami Icehouse sets, or other paper based designs, which can have designs drawn or printed on
- Cut pieces out of wood
- Bend sheet metal into pyramids
- Paint existing white or other color pyramids
- Mold or sculpt pyramids out of chocolate
- Construct pieces with a MakerBot. See here and here and here.
Games for custom pieces
The best games for use with custom pieces are those that require one stash per player, don't refer to specific colors, and don't require stacking. That way, everyone can use their customized pieces in the game, and have a wider range of construction methods available than would be possible if stacking were required. Here are some games that work well.
- The official specifications of an Icehouse set, along with some ideas for how to make the pieces.
- Elliott C. "Eeyore" Evans has some step-by-step instructions (with photos) on how to make lots of kinds of Icehouse pieces.
- Andrew Plotkin has some nice examples of and instructions on how to make decorated Icehouse pieces: wood, plastic, and paper.
- Bill Adams has created a design for real stackable and nestable origami Icehouse pieces (folded from a single square of paper, no cuts or gluing), which Ryan McGuire has reworked and provided here (Word Document) and here (PDF)
- Eric Zuckerman has a fairly old page with a lot of information on Pieceniking.