There’s no shortage of time to spend outside now that summer is in full swing, but the list of things to do can become a little dull. Pool, beach, grill, drink … now what?
Playing games with friends over beers is always fun, but the idea of crowding around a table takes away from experiencing the summer days. Besides, this is America, if we’re going to do something, do it big. This is where giant Jenga comes in. There’s not many games better suited for an afternoon with booze and friends — it doesn’t matter if somebody wanders away, no complex rules to learn and the ultimate thrill of watching your friend’s hopes of victory (literally) come crashing down.
Giant Jenga sets can be found on Amazon or eBay, but they run between $50 and $100. That’s not a big price tag if you’re getting a lot of use out of it, or if it was a complex DIY task, but all this requires is cutting large pieces of wood into smaller pieces. With only a couple tools and twenty bucks, anybody can make their own giant Jenga set. Here’s how.
First, head to the nearest home improvement store for two-by-fours, avoiding pieces that are warped or have knots. You’ll need to make 54 blocks, so if you’re using a standard 96-inch piece, you’ll need to buy six of them. Grab an extra piece just in case, there could be unseen knots and having a couple extra blocks doesn’t hurt. The wood costs less than $3 per piece. Pick up a pack of 120-180 grit sandpaper as well, which should be less than $5.
Official Jenga rules (yes, these are a thing) state a block should be three times as long as it is wide. A two-by-four, despite the name, is actually one-and-a-half inches tall by three-and-a-half inches wide. This means you’ll want the blocks to be ten-and-a-half inches long. Either measure and mark the cut lines or place a “stop” on your circular or miter saw to ensure the blocks come out the same size.
After the pieces are cut, use a belt sander to smooth the ends and edges. You can do this step by hand if you don’t have a sander, but it’ll be more laborious and time-consuming. Adding a little wax and buffing the blocks is optional. You might notice they are a tad hard to slide out at first without any, but this also allows you to have friends write and draw on them.
That’s it. To recap, you need about $20 to buy six or seven two-by-fours and some sandpaper, a miter or circular saw, a belt sander (although not required) and an afternoon. If you’re looking for an easy storage method, a linen bag works great. This quick and cheap DIY project is the perfect way to bring some extra life to the backyard party.