11 Homemade Board Games

Michele Meleen
Craft supplies

When you want to play a board game, but you don't want to spend the money to buy one, just create your own game with supplies that you likely have on hand. Not only will you save money, but your homemade board game ideas will have more character and may even be personalized to make them a better fit for your family's gaming style.

DIY Scrabble Game

Scrabble is a classic word game that includes a game board and letter tiles. Use an online image of a Scrabble board and letter tiles as inspiration to create your own out of cardboard, cardstock, paper, or wood. You can invent your own rules or use printable board game instructions for Scrabble to play the official way.

What You'll Need

  • Poster board, cardboard, or wood for the game board and letter tiles
  • Scissors or appropriate cutting tool
  • Markers in red, pink, light blue, dark blue, and black
  • Printable Scrabble score sheets

Steps to Make the Game

  1. If you can find a free, printable Scrabble board you can simply print that out to start. A game board like the Thanksgiving Words Around the Table printable game is set up in the same format and could eliminate some work for you.
  2. If you want to make a game board from scratch, start with your hard material. Cut it into a 15 inch by 15 inch square.
  3. Use a black marker to outline the 15 by 15 grid.
  4. Use red, pink, and blue markers to color in the spaces to match an official Scrabble board.
  5. Cut your letter tiles out of the same hard material you used for the board. Each tile should be 3/4 of an inch square.
  6. Write one letter on each letter tile. Save time by printing out free block letter tiles and gluing them to your tiles. The official game has the following number of tiles for each letter:
    • A-9, B-2, C-2, D-4, E-12, F-2, G-3, H-2, I-9, J-1, K-1, L-4, M-2, N-6, O-8, P-2, Q-1, R-6, S-4, T-6, U-4, V-2, W-2, X-1, Y-2, Z-1 and Blanks-2

DIY Monopoly Game

Personalize your own version of Monopoly to feature streets and attractions you enjoy. Come up with your own property names and values, then get creative with game pieces. Look for small toys and figurines such as LEGO minifigures that can double as unique game pieces.

What You'll Need

Steps to Make the Game

  1. Design a game board with 40 spaces to represent the 22 properties, four railroads, two utilities and four corner spaces that go around the outside edge of a Monopoly game board. Use the My Monopoly board planner to help you design your game and see how the board should look.
  2. Cut out small pictures to represent the different spaces and glue them to the board, then write in the property, railroad, and utility names. You can also color-code the properties that make up a set.
  3. Use index cards to create the property cards for each space and write the price to purchase each space on the card.
  4. Cut index cards in half to use as Chance and Community Chest cards, writing phrases such as "collect $20" or "Go back 3 spaces" on each card.
  5. Print out the play money. You will want at least 20 of each of the larger denominations and 40 of each of the smaller denominations.
  6. Find a few coins, paper clips or other odds and ends to serve as playing pieces.
  7. Use modeling clay to make your own six-sided dice by shaping clay into two cubes and using a toothpick to create the correct number of dots on each side.

DIY Payday Board Game

Use a blank desk calendar to create a fun homemade Payday board game. Similar to The Game of Life, Payday walks you through some of the typical milestones of real life with a fictional twist. Kids can play for educational purposes or adults can enjoy paying fake bills for once.

What You'll Need

  • Blank month page from a desk calendar
  • Markers
  • Printable play money
  • Index cards
  • Scissors
  • One homemade or purchased six-sided die

Steps to Make the Game

  1. Make up fake businesses players can buy and draw/write them each on a separate index card. Write "deal" on the back of each card.
  2. Make up fake mail players could get like letters, advertisements, winnings, or requests for money and write each on a separate index card. Write "mail" on the back of each one.
  3. Print of the play money.
  4. Use a picture of the Payday game board to draw the appropriate tasks or events on each calendar day.

DIY Trivial Pursuit Game

If you love trivia and board games, you can make your own quick version of a Trivial Pursuit board game. You can use the classic categories, or choose your own fun categories for the trivia questions.

What You'll Need

  • Poster board or cardboard
  • Index cards
  • Printable trivia questions
  • Markers in six different colors
  • Pen
  • Small game pieces in the same six colors of markers you choose such as one by two LEGOs, pipe cleaners cut into small pieces, or bits of paper
  • One homemade or pre-purchased six-sided die

Steps to Make the Game

  1. Print the trivia questions.
  2. Assign each trivia category a color.
  3. Create the classic Trivial Pursuit wheel-shaped game board using markers and the poster board.
  4. On each index card write trivia questions on the front and answers on the back.
    1. Write one trivia question from each category on the front and make a dot with the corresponding category color next to it.
    2. Write the matching answers in the same order on the back.
  5. Leave the colored game pieces in a pile near the game board.

DIY Pictionary Game

In the classic Pictionary game, players advance to the finish line by getting their partner to guess what they've drawn. You can use any basic blank board game PDFs as a game board for this simple party game. Make your Pictionary game unique by adding a theme such as Geography Pictionary or creating custom categories.

What You'll Need

  • Blank board game template
  • Markers in four to five different colors
  • Pencils
  • Scrap paper
  • Index cards
  • Optional Pictionary word list
  • Timer
  • One homemade or pre-purchased six-sided die

Steps to Make the Game

  1. Choose your categories and assign a color to each one.
  2. Print the game board.
  3. Color a few squares on the game board in each category color. Make sure there are an equal number of spaces for each category and a few that feature all the colors as free spaces.
  4. Create the game cards by adding one word from each category to one side of an index card.

DIY Mancala Game

Turn an empty egg carton into your own version of the two-person board game Mancala. There are several versions of this ancient game that all use the same game board so you'll get a variety of different games out of this one game board.

What You'll Need

Steps to Make the Game

  1. Cut off the front flap and throw it away.
  2. Cut off the lid of the egg carton.
  3. Cut the lid in half width-wise.
  4. Place each half on one end of the bottom of the egg carton so that a "bowl" sticks off of each end.
  5. Tape the halves of the lid to the bottom of the egg carton.
  6. Use the beans, seeds, or pebbles as the Mancala pieces.

DIY Sequence Game

Two decks of traditional playing cards and some poker chips are all you need to make your own version of the Sequence board game. This fun board game is great for two players or a couple teams of two.

What You'll Need

  • Two decks of traditional playing cards
  • Scissors
  • Large piece of cardboard or poster board
  • Glue
  • Poker chips in blue, green, and red (you only need red if there are three or six players)
  • Sequence game instructions

Steps to Make the Game

  1. Take a deck of 52 cards and cut each card in half.
  2. Arrange the card halves in a 10 by 10 grid on a piece of cardboard or poster board. Cards will be about 2 1/2 inches wide and 2 inches long, so the board should be at least 25 inches wide and 20 inches long.
    1. Place one Joker in each corner.
    2. When the cards are placed on the board, arrange them so that each half of the board contains the same cards in the same order.
    3. Make sure you place all cards of a suit in order so that they are touching each other.
  3. Glue the backs of the cards to the cardboard.
  4. Tear small pieces of colored paper or use different colors of poker chips as the playing pieces and a second deck of cards as the draw deck.
  5. You may have some Jokers or face cards left over, so remove whatever cards you do not use on the board from the draw deck.

DIY Checkers Game

Make a giant board game version of a checkers game using a tablecloth and some paper plates. This game can be easily folded up for use outdoors at summer picnics or on the kitchen floor on rainy days.

What You'll Need

  • One solid-colored red tablecloth
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Tape
  • Black fabric paint
  • Black and red dessert plates (can be painted or colored with marker if needed)
  • Checkers game rules

Steps to Make the Game

  1. Spread the tablecloth on a large, flat surface and tape in place so it is pulled taut.
  2. Use the ruler and pen to draw a 64-square, or 8 by 8 grid on the tablecloth.
  3. Paint every other square black to match an official Checkers board.
  4. Use the plates as the game pieces.

DIY Dominoes

Turn standard index cards into a set of unique, fun dominoes. You can make these standard dot dominoes, or create cool tiles by choosing a theme such as numbers, letters, shapes, family members, or your favorite characters to use in place of the dots.

What You'll Need

Steps to Make the Game

  1. Use standard 3 by 5 index cards and cut them in half so you have 28 individual tiles.
  2. Draw a line horizontally across each card half with a black marker.
  3. Take the black marker and make dots to represent the different tiles in a regular game of dominoes as listed below.
    1. Double Domino Tiles to Make (one of each): Blank-blank, One-one, Two-two, Three-three, Four-four, Five-five, Six-Six
    2. Other Domino Tiles to Make (one of each): Blank-one through blank-six, One-two through one-six, Two-three through two-six, Three-four through three-six, Four-five and four-six, Five-six

DIY Boggle Game

Instead of the Boggle blocks and shaker, try a different approach by making a two-dimensional paper version of the game Boggle. Play the game as normal, setting a timer for three minutes to time the round. Instead of shaking the game to get new letters like you do in a regular game of Boggle, just switch to a new card.

What You'll Need

Steps to Make the Game

  1. Make a 4 by 4 inch grid on a small piece of paper.
  2. Make copies of the grid or draw out about 15-20 more blank versions.
  3. Use the random letter sequence generator to get four sequences of four letters each.
  4. Write each letter in one square of the grid.
  5. Repeat Steps Three and Four on all blank grids.

Printable Board Games

Invent your own board game to make at home using whatever materials you have on hand. From homemade digital board games to DIY board games on cardboard, you are only limited by your imagination. Printable games for kids, adults, and groups can be used as is or updated to fit your gaming needs.

Homemade Board Games for the Win

It does not take a lot of time or money to create your own versions of popular board games or make your own card games. At first they may not have the same feel as the classic game, but in no time at all you may find that you enjoy them even more than the originals. Make up your own rules or find the rules online so that everyone gets to enjoy playing the game.

11 Homemade Board Games