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How to Make a Board Game

Updated on November 10, 2012

Making Board Games is Fun

It's an excellent activity for kids that encourages creativity as well as exercising their reading and writing skills, and at the end of the board game project you have an awesome keepsake of time spent together creating and playing custom board games!

Keep reading for step by step instructions for making your own board game, as well as the supplies you'll need and links to download printable board game templates.

Presto Chango Becomes Hallow-Opoly

Follow along as we convert a thrift store $1.98 board game into our own custom game.

Presto Chango-O Becomes Hallow-Opoly with Scissors and Contact Paper
Presto Chango-O Becomes Hallow-Opoly with Scissors and Contact Paper

Board Making Supplies

The most important thing you need for making a custom board game that will last is a board. I like to recycle old board games from the thrift store (because I can usually buy a game for .99 or 1.98). Plus, old board games sometimes come with game accessories (pieces, dice or money even) that we can also recycle.

Old board games can be recycled by using white contact paper. You'll also need some clear contact paper after you're finished pasting-up all the elements in your custom board game, to seal it all in permanently.

Step By Step Instructions to Cover an Old Game Board

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pull board out and measure.  Most board games are 18x18 inches (but that is not always the case).  Monopoly boards (for example) are 20x20 inches.Measure and cut a sheet of contact paper to fit over the entire board (if you can).  If you need to, you can cut two pieces.  Leave a little extra to fold over the board if you can.I used two sheets of contact paper to cover this board completely.  One sheet didn't hide all the bright colors.I love recycling thrift store board games not only for the boards, but also for the awesome game accessories (peices, cards, dice and money) that come with them.
Pull board out and measure.  Most board games are 18x18 inches (but that is not always the case).  Monopoly boards (for example) are 20x20 inches.
Pull board out and measure. Most board games are 18x18 inches (but that is not always the case). Monopoly boards (for example) are 20x20 inches.
Measure and cut a sheet of contact paper to fit over the entire board (if you can).  If you need to, you can cut two pieces.  Leave a little extra to fold over the board if you can.
Measure and cut a sheet of contact paper to fit over the entire board (if you can). If you need to, you can cut two pieces. Leave a little extra to fold over the board if you can.
I used two sheets of contact paper to cover this board completely.  One sheet didn't hide all the bright colors.
I used two sheets of contact paper to cover this board completely. One sheet didn't hide all the bright colors.
I love recycling thrift store board games not only for the boards, but also for the awesome game accessories (peices, cards, dice and money) that come with them.
I love recycling thrift store board games not only for the boards, but also for the awesome game accessories (peices, cards, dice and money) that come with them.

Carefully trim off extra contact paper

In our house an adult does this part with an exact-o blade.

Presto Chang-o with Contact Paper

Presto Chang-o with Contact Paper
Presto Chang-o with Contact Paper

Then you can decorate.

You can draw directly on your board, glue pictures down, or even print off custom board game templates to paste down. We like to do a combination of all three.

Sharpies are Awesome For Drawing on Custom Games

Sharpies are Awesome For Drawing on Custom Games
Sharpies are Awesome For Drawing on Custom Games

Game Board Making Supplies

Duck Brand 1063853 Peel N' Stick Laminate Adhesive Shelf Liner, 20-Inch x 15-Feet, White
Duck Brand 1063853 Peel N' Stick Laminate Adhesive Shelf Liner, 20-Inch x 15-Feet, White

I like this better than contact paper for covering board games because it's 20 inches wide and covers most all board games without having to use two pieces.

 
Sharpie Fine-Tip Permanent Marker, 24-Pack Assorted Colors
Sharpie Fine-Tip Permanent Marker, 24-Pack Assorted Colors

Sharpies are perfect for writing on contact paper. I prefer the fine tips and who doesn't want 24 different color choices?

 
Elmer's All Purpose School Glue Sticks, Clear, Washable, 4 Pack, 0.24-ounce sticks
Elmer's All Purpose School Glue Sticks, Clear, Washable, 4 Pack, 0.24-ounce sticks

Glue sticks are perfect for gluing down print offs, photos or paste up board game templates.

 
Trademark Poker 19mm A Grade Serialized Set of Casino Dice (Red)
Trademark Poker 19mm A Grade Serialized Set of Casino Dice (Red)

If you need to purchase dice for your game you can get them from Amazon.

 

Glue Sticks to Paste Down Pieces of the Game

Glue Sticks to Paste Down Pieces of the Game
Glue Sticks to Paste Down Pieces of the Game

Do you like to make your own board games? How do you do it?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      When I was little my mom made us one. it was called "going to Grandma's House." I recently made one like it for my kids. I made a road that would split off different ways. It had squares to land on and we used a die to roll for moves. Some of the squares would say things like Stop for gas skip a turn or Dad helped someone along the road, move ahead 3 spaces. In the end the winner was whoever got to Grandma's house first. I drew little pictures to go along with the different squares that said things (gas station). My daughter helped me draw trees along the way and so forth. My kids and I love to play this games.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have my students read a classical story. Using the literature parts of every story (title , author, setting, main character, plot, conflict, resolution and parts of their story which they enjoyed ) they make a board game. One glance at the board and I know if they comprehended their story!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      need scrabble board template

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      played many board games with my little brother. This lens inpires me to make my own Thanks

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      When I was a kid I loved making board games. Reading this is making me feel inspired again.

    • profile image

      makingartsandcrafts 4 years ago

      These How to Make a Board Game is a great idea.

    • lilymom24 profile image

      lilymom24 4 years ago

      Love this. We used to make our own board games when I was a kid and it was always a lot of fun. I guess I should get busy and help my kids make their own as well. =)

    • profile image

      Waterfront-Properties 4 years ago

      How fun. What a great lens!

    • profile image

      AidenDavis 4 years ago

      Looks like fun. Thank you.

    • MarcoG profile image

      Marc 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      I used to love making board games when I was little - fantastic lens here. Blessed :)

    • yayas profile image

      yayas 4 years ago

      I love this page on how to make a board game. I never thought of making a new game with a previously owned board. Great tips.

      I've been trying all day to read this page. My 'puter keeps giving me static. I finally managed to stay on long enough to congratulate you on making the Front Page. Very well done an' most deserving. Congratulations!

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 4 years ago from Maryland

      How fun! My son is making a board game right now, recycling some boxes we just used in our move. I'll have to show him your ideas...excellent! :)

    • bossypants profile image

      bossypants 4 years ago from America's Dairyland

      What a great idea! How much fun it would be to play a game you made up yourself?! Twice the fun! Nice lens!

    • RedShoesGirl profile image

      RedShoesGirl 4 years ago

      This is an awesome idea. It is so much fun to make your own games. Thank you for the tips.

    • kiratalley profile image

      kiratalley 4 years ago

      Great idea! I have got to try this with my hubby ... with the rainy season coming up, there are always room for more ideas of what to do while we are stuck at home. How do you come up with a fun idea that isn't similar to some kind of boardgame that already exists?

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 4 years ago

      I made a board game or two when I was younger, but haven't even thought of it in years. What a great way to pass the time on a rainy day!

    • profile image

      Zeraton 4 years ago

      really cool

    • thememorybooksh1 profile image

      thememorybooksh1 4 years ago

      i like board game. nice lens

    • profile image

      Success_At_School 4 years ago

      Love DIY -- especially when you learn in the process.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 4 years ago

      What a fun and fantastic idea to recycle an old board game into a make your own board game project. Great family fun!

    • shauna1934 profile image
      Author

      shauna1934 4 years ago

      @KarenCookieJar: Maybe now you will! Hope you'll share if you do!!

    • profile image

      KarenCookieJar 4 years ago

      I've always wanted to make my own board game, I loved reading about yours!

    • sweetstickyrainbo profile image

      sweetstickyrainbo 4 years ago

      looks like a great idea for the litle ones

    • A RovingReporter profile image

      A RovingReporter 4 years ago

      I love to. I made one who I was a young boy.

    • Dustinnh profile image

      Dustinnh 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this. Check out my board game i made, it's called pumpkin Land.

    • profile image

      mumsgather 4 years ago

      What a fantastic idea. I've never thought of this before or knew there were supplies available for making your own board games.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 4 years ago from Vermont

      I do enjoy making games for my family. I like all your suggests, particularly the idea of recycling an old board game to salvage the game pieces and the board itself.

    • profile image

      MintySea 4 years ago

      My game was kids had to do a special, task sing a song. I didn't have dice or money.

    • profile image

      MintySea 4 years ago

      This looks amazing. I once made my girls a board game but yours looks a lot sturdyer.

    • profile image

      EllisRosie 4 years ago

      I would love to. I think the closest I ever had to making personal board games was when we were assigned this group project in middle school. We came up with something similar to snakes and ladders. :)

    • shauna1934 profile image
      Author

      shauna1934 5 years ago

      @sunlightseer: I'd love to hear more about your game!! I love games that focus on building virtues! I have a few lenses on some store bought virtue games, but custom games are sometimes better!

    • sunlightseer profile image

      sunlightseer 5 years ago

      I created a game called "what I like about you" and kids love to play because it's all positive comments. But the biggest thing my focus group complained about was there is no board. I think you just solved my problem!! Thanks for all the great info.

    • kislanyk profile image

      Marika 5 years ago from Cyprus

      Interesting idea...

    • profile image

      lilpixiedust 5 years ago

      I am not creative to make my own. I would have to buy one for my kids. Those are very nice tips though.