I had Lawn Dice on my Pinterest board for while before I made the set in this picture, and I only really got serious about making them after I volunteered to bring “my set” to our company picnic. I didn’t mention that I hadn’t made them yet. Or that I’d never made a set before. That was not important at the time. I just knew I wanted them and this would get me moving.
I knew that this would be a great, family friendly game for my co-workers and kids. It was also something unique that you don’t see at every backyard BBQ. I knew it was a hit when I sold that ‘test’ set to a co-worker and about had about 5 more requests for Christmas presents.
The kicker was a set I made for my company’s United Way Silent Auction that brought in $80. (EIGHTY DOLLARS!) That’s waaaaayy more than they cost, but it was for a great cause.
Online, you can buy a handmade, real wood set for around $50. But that’s alot for blocks of wood… so I’ll show you exactly how I made them.
Cut, Cut, Cut. The hardest part of this project may be buying and hauling a 4×4. This sucker was Eight. Feet. Long. I know several big box stores will cut down wood for you for a minimal fee.
But I’m cheap and impatient. So, I enlisted the husband and his big truck to get this beauty home.
4x4s are actually 3.5 x 3.5s. I am convinced all wood manufactures are messing with us. So, measuring and cutting every 3.5″ will leave you with some sweet cubes.
After cutting the wood down, you’ll need to (at a minimum) sand the edges and round over the corners so they’re smooth. This takes some time, and explains why people charge $50 for these things!
After my first set, I also chose to round the edges with a router & a round-over bit. Dice roll SO much easier when the edges are slightly curved.
When it comes to the dots, there are lots of ways to do this. I’ve seen posts with vinyl decals, paint, and even shallow holes drilled into the wood with a forstner bit (check out a great example of this by Jamison & Jamie at one of my favorite blogs, The Rogue Engineer.)
I chose to go rogue myself and BURN the dots on.
I picked up this little wood burning tool at Michael’s for about $2o and went to work. It takes longer than you’d think because you have to let it “reheat” every few dots as you go. So, I mix it up and go back and forth between sanding and burning.
I’ve read that others have finished their dice with stain and poly, but I’ve opted for a simple oil finish, like cutting board oil. I’ve also used Danish oil for a little added color with great results! I am, however, not planning to leave mine out in the rain… so how you finish them is totally up to you!
Then, you just need to pair these babies with a bucket and score sheets! I used a dollar store whiteboard and after a quick Google search had both Yahtzee score sheets and Farkle rules at my fingertips. There are plenty of other dice games that would work outdoors as well. Well, maybe in a few months, that is.
That’s a wrap for this project! If you have ideas for future projects you’d like to see, let me know in the comments.