Games to Make Out of Wood

Written by melissa smith
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Games to Make Out of Wood
Make a "green" family heirloom by using wood. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Develop strategic skills, increase critical thinking or solve a tricky puzzle by creating wooden games that are fun, good for the environment, educational and can be passed down to future generations. Take pride in making your own unique wooden games that are customised according to your family, business or leisure interests.

Tools Required

Power tools and hand tools (drills, routers, saws, planers and sanders) help to craft versions of wooden games like Tic-Tac-Toe, the Up Hill/Down Hill Game and the Marble Game. Use woods like oak, maple, walnut, pine or birch to create games that will last for generations to come. Hand rub the finished product with linseed oil to bring out the wood grains.


Play the perpetual game of Tic-Tac-Toe by drawing two sets of parallel lines at right angles to each other. One player marks a circle and the other player uses a cross or "X." The winner of the game lines up three of the same symbol in a straight line, horizontally, vertically or diagonally before the other player does so. This wooden version of the game can take a lot of abuse and could be passed to the next generation for many more years of play. Take this game with you and play with it on your lap, the floor or on a table. The circles and crosses have dowels that insert into the board so they won't slide, but make two each of extra circles and crosses in case of loss. Parts include a birch plywood base, six circles, six crosses, 12 support dowels and four inlays. Sand all the parts with fine sandpaper. Apply four coats of clear polyurethane. Let the parts dry, and then rub with steel wool. Apply wax and polish to finish the project.

Up Hill/Down Hill

Use extreme patience to play Up Hill/Down Hill. Make a walnut base and create pegs from birch dowels to play this challenging game. At the start of the game, four pegs are on either side of the centre hole. One set of pegs is square; the other set is circular. The purpose of the game is to exchange the square pegs with the circular ones or vice versa. Jump a peg of either shape. Pegs can move forward but not backward. Avoid wrong moves to win the game.

Marble Game

Timing how long it takes for a specific number of marbles to roll down the slope is the object of playing the Marble Game. Observers glue their eyes to rolling marbles that cascade down marble troughs. Place the marbles on top of the upright so they can come out of the side and then fall on top of the uppermost marble trough. Game parts consist of a marble tray rim, marble tray bottom, a short upright, a tall upright, end turnarounds, a top end bumper, nine end bumpers and ten marble troughs. You will also need glue, fine sandpaper, flathead screws, and paint or stain of your choice for the finished product.

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