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Giant Yahtzee!

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So last summer, we made a giant Jenga set for the kids, their friends, the middle school PTA, our family and anyone who drops by. Needless to say, it’s gotten a lot of use. I never got around to blogging about the process, but here’s a picture of my niece Isabelle contemplating a move near the end of a particularly tricky round.

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I found a bunch of tutorials on Pinterest and had my husband cut the pieces from a few two by fours, then my father and I sanded them down.  I stamped a starfish on each end of the boards and that did it.  But like I said, check out Pinterest for better, more detailed instructions.

So, on to this Summer and our Giant Yahtzee, or “Yardzee” as it’s known.  I started off with a 4 x 4 pressure treated deck post from Lowe’s Home Improvement.  This is the one I got…

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When you are choosing your post, be sure to pick one that looks good, meaning it doesn’t have many, or any knots, isn’t cracked, is uniformly colored, etc.

I cut mine into squares with a mitre saw.  The post was actually 3-1/4 inches square, so I measured out 3-1/4″ sections and cut out 5 of them.  I actually cut a 6th block so that I would have something to practice on when I went to drill into my blocks.  Here is what the blocks looked like fresh from the saw…

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Next up, I sanded them.  I used a power sander with a rough (maybe 60 grade) sandpaper.  What you want to do is to make the sharp edges rounded wherever two sides meet and at the corners where three sides meet.  Here is what it should look like when you are done.  Note that all flat surfaces should be sanded smooth.

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Smooth like buttah.  Now, on to the dots.

To help make my dice look uniform, I made myself a stencil using a piece of cardboard and a hole puncher.  I cut a piece of cardboard the same size as a face of my dice, then I measured out a four by four grid.  I then punched holes at the junctures like so…

imageNow, I lay down the stencil onto the die and drew where I wanted the holes to be drilled.

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I wanted my dice to be like a real die, only bigger so I used a small one to show me how to arrange the dots on the big ones.  For instance, when you turn the side with the six up once, there should be the side with the four. It probably makes no difference, but since it took only a small effort to get them “right”, my anal retentive self said “go for it”.

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Once I got all 5 dice marked, I used my Dad’s drill press to make the “holes” or “spots”.  I used a 1/2 inch spade bit and set the drill press to stop when the hole was about 1/8″ deep.  Then I just lined up to each of my marks and drilled a hole.

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Pretty cool, huh?  Next, you will need to sand out each of the holes, and for this, I used my Dremmel with a small, rough sanding bit.  After sanding out the hole, you will want to take a piece of sandpaper to the outside edges of each hole to sand off any extra rough edges.

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The last thing I did before painting them is to wipe them down with a damp paper towel and run over the insides of the holes with a wet Qtip to grab any last bits of sawdust.

To paint the dots, I used a small craft paintbrush, and one of those sample sizes of latex paint from Lowe’s.  One generous coat of paint did the trick.  Here’s Trevor showing us the final product.

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With the dice complete, I needed a few more accessories to play the game.  I took one of the score card from our game and used whiteout to change the heading a bit.  Additionally I used the old cut and paste method (like real cutting with scissors and pasting with glue) to change the name of the game.

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So I then took my new score card to Staples and had them enlarge and laminate it so it could be used over and over with a dry erase marker.  Additionally, I picked up a covered utility pail to use as both a rolling cup and for game storage.

The boys and I had our inaugural game this morning on our screen porch.

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And I won!  It was lots of fun and, surprisingly, a little bit of a workout with all those throws and squats.  Here’s hoping that our Yardzee game gets as much use as our Giant Jenga game does!