How to Make a Limbo Set

Updated March 23, 2017

Limbo, a classic party game with easy set-up and simple rules, provides an upbeat atmosphere for party guests. The object of the game is to dance underneath a pole, without knocking it down. As the game progresses, the bar is lowered making it more difficult to pass under. Players are generally instructed to lean backwards to clear the barrier; however, variations include crawling, wriggling, crab-walking and sliding. While you may purchase a limbo set from most party suppliers, making your own allows you to customise each piece for a seamless match to the rest of your party decor.

Cut all dowels to size. Ask your wood supplier to cut your dowels to save time measuring and cutting at home.

Mark two 5-foot dowels, 3 inches from the top. Continue marking 3-inch increments until fourteen marks have been made (i.e., 39 inches from the top or approximately halfway)

Put on safety equipment such as breathing mask, goggles and gloves to limit contact with wood dust and prevent injury while drilling.

Chisel or drill 1/4-inch holes through the dowel at the marks.

Test the holes to ensure the 1/4-inch dowels can be inserted and removed.

Sand the dowels.

Cap the ends of the drilled dowels. Use a drop of wood glue to create a secure bond between the dowel and dowel cap.

Glue a wood cap to one end of each 3-inch long dowel to create the height pegs.

Wrap the final 5-foot long dowel with pipe foam. Cut the foam so it covers the dowel from end to end. Tape or hot glue the foam into place.

Decorate all pieces as desired. Wrap with ribbon, glue beads to the surface or sprinkle with glitter. Avoid covering or filling drill holes.

Spray the surface of the dowels with acrylic sealer and set aside to dry.

Ensure the pegs still fit into the drill holes.

Sew the pencil case to the hook-and-loop fastener tie.

Store the game by placing the CD in the pencil case and securing the hook-and-loop fastener around the holes; additional hook-and-loop fasteners may also be applied to the top and bottom of the bundle.


Play by inserting two pegs into corresponding drill holes. Hold the posts vertically or insert into the ground. Lay the foam-covered pole horizontally across the pegs. Adjust the height by removing the pegs and reinserting into a lower hole. Use all pegs to create three different height levels. Posts may be inverted to lower the height; the lowest setting is 3 inches high. Use plastic tubing instead of wood dowels for a lighter set. A bamboo stick or foam noodle may also be used in lieu of a foam-covered dowel.


Always wear safety equipment whenever working with wood and power tools. Work in a well-ventilated area.

Things You'll Need

  • 1-inch Poly foam pipe covers
  • 3 dowels, 5 feet 1 inch long
  • 4 dowel caps, 1 inch
  • 6 dowels, 3 inches 1/4-inch long
  • 6 dowel caps, 1/4-inch
  • Ruler
  • Chisel or drill
  • Ribbon
  • Paint
  • Hot glue
  • Safety mask
  • Gloves
  • Wood glue
  • Sand paper
  • Acrylic sealer
  • Hook-and-loop fastener tie
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Cloth pencil case
  • Party music CD
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About the Author

Sylvia Cini has written informative articles for parents and educators since 2009. Her articles appear on various websites. Cini has worked as a mentor, grief counselor, tutor, recreational leader and school volunteer coordinator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Clark University of Worcester, Massachusetts.