This week, we built a game board which you can customize to play marbles, skittles, carrom, billiards, pool, shuffleboard, crokinole and more!
My game board features two games, marbles and carrom. Marbles has been played for thousands of years in various forms. Carrom is a “strike and pocket” game that evolved in East India. Both games provide hours of entertainment for young kids during rainy days and family game nights. Carrom Company of Ludington, MI has a 100-in-1 version of this board that many, many grown kids remember.
This game board uses vinyl stickers for decoration, 45 degree miters reinforced with pin nails and grooves. This construction technique can be used to make large playing surfaces. I used the same technique to make The DIY Knock Hockey project a few weeks ago, and it will show up in next week’s project.
The DIY Game Board
- 24” x 24”x1/4” thickness MDF or plywood, usually sold as 2’ x 4’ “handy panels” at a home center.
- 1”x6x10’ Pine, No. 2 Common
- Vinyl Sheets for graphics. Paint also works.
- Wood stain
- Acrylic or Shellac for the clear coat.
- Table Saw with Combo Blade
- Miter Saw
- Dado Stack
- Digital Bevel Gauge for Table Saw Blades
- Digital Angle Finder
- Pin Nailer & Air Compressor
Milling & Dimensioning:
- Use your table saw to rip the 1”x6” pine into 2 1/2” wide strips.
- Use your table saw to trim the MDF to size.
Dimensioning the Frame:
- Set up a 1/4” dado stack with a dado blade on your table saw. Set the blade height for 3/8”, then set the fence at 1 1/8”.
- On each 2 1/2” pine frame stock, run a groove down the center. If you want a completely centered groove, flip the stock 180 degrees and run over the dado stack again. Use a feather board if possible to keep the board from lifting which creates a light dado and decreases safety.
- One the miter saw, set the bevel angle to 90 deg using the digital angle gauge for accuracy. Set the miter angle to 45 using the digital angle finder for accuracy. Make a test cut for final fit.
- Using the miter saw to cut the miters for the frame. Each side of the frame is 24 3/4” long on the outside dimension (the side without the groove). Make sure you use a depth stop to make each frame member equal lengths.
- Use a compass to lay out 2” radius pockets on each corner of your game panel.
- Cut out the pockets with a jigsaw fitted with a fine-tooth wood blade.
Assembling the Base:
- Dry fit the frame and game panel.
- Use glue and pin nails to fasten the mitered corners together. This should trap the game panel in the groove.
- Fill any gaps with wood filler. Wait until dry, then sand smooth.
Sand & Finish:
Sand, decorate and finish as desired.
To achieve my effect:
- Beginning at 80-grit, sand both panel and wood frame through the grits to 220.
- Stain the wood frame with your wood stain. I almost exclusively use Minwax Oil-Based Stains. I really like oil-based stains and can get consistently great results from them.
- Cut out graphics on a vinyl cutter and transfer onto the game board.
- Seal with clear acrylic sealer. I used Minwax Polycrylic.
I use the Silhouette Cameo & vinyl stencils to design the marble and carrom board. Silhouette School is a great blog with tutorials to create these special shapes. You can also download the SVG and STUDIO files I used for this project. I describe my process in more detail in the DIY Custom Bike tutorial.
Thank you for your continued support.