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★ Homemade Games & Toys | Fun DIY Projects for Indoor & Outdoor Activities ★

Updated on February 18, 2016
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How to Make Games for Everyone to Play

Whether you want water toys to entertain the kids in summer, games for adults to play at a party, or family activities for a Labor Day weekend BBQ, this page will hopefully give you plenty of ideas for homemade projects. I know people who enjoy crafts and DIY as pastimes will also enjoy the process of making their own awesome games...and you can save money too!

I have compiled a variety of tutorials showing you how to build all kinds of products from giant Jenga and board games to water sprinklers and bazookas! There are indoor and outdoor options, plus lots for kids to play with as well as adults. I've also written my own how-to for making a large game of checkers.

I hope you enjoy the ideas and I hope this page inspires you :)

Wooden Puzzle

A puzzle like this can be made quite easily by starting with a square of thick wood and cutting it into different shaped pieces. You can then construct a wooden frame to hold all of the pieces together in the original square shape. Simple!
A puzzle like this can be made quite easily by starting with a square of thick wood and cutting it into different shaped pieces. You can then construct a wooden frame to hold all of the pieces together in the original square shape. Simple! | Source

Fun Games for Groups of Adults

These indoor board games are bound to have you all rolling around in giggles - I especially love 'Cards Against Humanity'!

An Introduction

Different Ways You Can Create a Game or Toy

If you are a keen DIY-er or crafter, then making your own games and/or toys is a worthwhile and very fun exercise. There are a few options for doing this:

- Invent a new game: This is for the most creative, and is my personal favorite idea because you can really use your imagination. You could invent your own indoor board game, or props for a made-up game, or even adapt an existing game.

- Make a giant outdoor version: There are quite a few indoor games which are perfect for making into 'giant' versions in order to make them more suitable for outdoor party games. Examples of this include Jenga, Pick-up Sticks, Scrabble and Ker-Plunk - all of which you can find tutorials for on this page.

- Create a custom or personalized version: To do this you can either make an existing game from scratch and put your own personality into the design, or you can adapt the existing game pieces and game board. Examples of this include a Monopoly board made using places in your hometown as the property squares, a Guess Who? game using photos of family members and friends, and even a hand-illustrated Cluedo set.

- Recreate a game or toy: You can recreate an existing game by copying it directly to be as close to the original as possible, which could save you money as well as being enjoyable to do. Another option is to make a game/toy that isn't available to buy anymore (perhaps it's rare or was only available in the 80s for instance), so you'll have to recreate it from memory or any photos you can find online.

Water toys (e.g. water bomb shooters, water blobs, sprinklers & slip 'n' slide) are popular things to make at home because they're often quite simple constructions and mostly work out much cheaper compared to buying them.

Giant Jenga

Making an extra large version of the classic Jenga tower game would actually be a pretty straightforward woodworking project.
Making an extra large version of the classic Jenga tower game would actually be a pretty straightforward woodworking project. | Source

How to Make a Giant Game of Checkers

diy-checkers-game
diy-checkers-game

(Image credit: me)

What you will need:

* 2 Square pieces of clear plastic sheet, in as large a size as possible (depending on how big you want your game to be).

Clear shower curtains or tablecloths would work for this. I use plastic sheet so that the game can be used outside and rain won't damage it - plus it's wipe clean. If you can't find suitable clear sheeting or you won't be using the game outdoors, then you can simply exclude it from your project :)

* Flexible, clear and strong glue which is suitable for glueing plastic.

I've listed an example of a good glue below this tutorial.

* Black fabric and white fabric

Both the black and the white fabrics should be the same type e.g thin cotton. You will need enough of each color fabric to cover half of your plastic sheet square.

* Sewing machine

* Black and red spray paints

* Pins

* Iron

* Flat circular objects to represent the checkers.

The size of your finished game board will determine what size of checkers you will need, but suggestions for what you could use include lids off jars or other packaging, frisbees, plates, and stacks of unwanted CDs - or you could make them yourself from wood such as pine.


- Make sure both of your plastic sheets are exactly square, then measure the length of one edge in inches. Divide this number by 8. As an example I will assume the plastic sheet is 72" square, and therefore 72" divided by 8 is 9".

- The resulting number is going to be the length of each side of the individual squares. So next cut out 32 black squares and 32 white squares of exactly the same size. For this example, each square would be 9" x 9".

- Next you will need to sew the squares together, row by row, alternating the colors i.e. black, white, black, white...etc. To sew two squares together, place them face-to-face (right sides together), pin them together so they don't move around, and then sew straight down one edge (through both layers). The seam allowance* will be 1/4", and you should use a straight stitch.

* The seam allowance represents the distance between the sewn line and the edge of the fabric.

- Repeat until you have 8 rows of 8 squares sewn together.

- Press open the seams on the reverse of the fabric rows with an iron so that the seams are opened out and are flat. You can topstitch if you wish.

For more information on piecing fabric pieces together, click here and here for help. You will want to follow the instructions for the 'open seam method'.

- Center your fabric game board on top of one piece of the plastic sheeting. You can hem the 4 edges of the fabric before this step to neaten it up if you wish. Apply glue around the edge of the plastic sheeting and put the other plastic sheet on top, so that the fabric is sandwiched between the 2. Make sure the plastic sheets are perfectly aligned and then leave to dry.

If you are not going to use plastic sheeting, then you can now hem the 4 edges of the fabric square and sew on a fabric backing, making sure the raw edges are hidden.

- Spray paint the round objects that you are using as your counters so that 12 are black and 12 are red.

- Finished!

TIP: If you don't have a sewing machine, you could instead create the fabric section of the game board by having one large piece of white fabric (e.g. canvas or drop cloth) and then, using masking tape as the stencil, paint black (fabric paint) squares in the correct configuration. This eliminates the need to sew.

Products Needed to Make a Game of Checkers

Benson Mills Clear Plastic Tablecloth, 60-Inch by 84-Inch
Benson Mills Clear Plastic Tablecloth, 60-Inch by 84-Inch

This tablecloth would need cutting down to make it square in shape, but it's perfect for the checkers project, and is inexpensive too.

 
Loctite Vinyl, Fabric and Plastic Repair Adhesive 1-Ounce Tube (1360694)
Loctite Vinyl, Fabric and Plastic Repair Adhesive 1-Ounce Tube (1360694)

Labelled as being clear in appearance, flexible when dried and waterproof, this is a very good choice for use on all kind of materials, even those to be used outdoors.

 

Homemade Quoits

Made using just PVC pipe and rope.
Made using just PVC pipe and rope. | Source

Creative Video Tutorials

Top-Rated Outdoor games

Here are a couple of classic, popular games for fair-weather fun:

DIY Cornhole Game

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Junkyard Chess Set

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Homemade Board Game

To exercise your creativity you could invent your own board game, and the best way to start is to decide on a theme - for instance, this board game (shown above) has an Alaskan theme.

The best thing about DIY board games is that you don't have to worry about licenses and copyrights because you are only making one for personal use, so you can use all kinds of character images and TV or movie themes; from Harry Potter to the Powerpuff Girls!

Photo and game by Medinamom3.

Paper Chess Set

Made entirely of paper, this chess set is very inexpensive to make.
Made entirely of paper, this chess set is very inexpensive to make. | Source

Fun Video Tutorials - For Making a Hovercraft, the Game 'Operation' & more!

Have you ever made a game?

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    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      I love these home made game ideas. My daughter made a personalized game when she was in elementary school, and really liked playing it.

    • profile image

      cyndi 24 months ago

      my husband just made the bean bag toss boards and they came out great.

      thanks for the instructions

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