How do You Spell that Word-Creating an Outdoor Scrabble Board
The other day, I was playing a game of Scrabble with my kids on the back patio. One of my children asked me about when they used to draw out a hopscotch board on the back porch. “How much fun that was,” my daughter stated but what can we do now that we are adults.
We continued with the game of Scrabble, it was my turn to play. After studying my letter choices and seeing what was on the board, I decided on the word stone. Who knew that a simple, five letter word could mean so much?
As the day continued, my son asked if we could draw out the Scrabble board on our back porch floor. A course was the answer. So to the garden shed I went. I got out my trundle wheel, chalk line and an assortment of other tools I felt I would need. We measured off an area of the porch, which in reality took most of the porch and began to create the Scrabble board.
Once it was completed, we had a checkered-board style of blocks colored grey. As we studied the board, we realized that we need other colors to represent the double and triple words, double and triple letters, and the starting point. Since our board was only going to be temporary, we got out an assortment of colored chalk, and began to color in the proper blocks.
Next, we needed the letters. This was a little challenge since this project was not planned. Looking around the garden shed and garage, I found some scrap wood and began to cut out blocks. They were not perfect but they were functional. Once all 100 blocks were cut, I lettered each one with permanent marker.
Now we were ready to play our game.
The project on the fly was great but half way through the game the sky opened up and it rained. Away went our chalk design along with our dream of a long game of Scrabble. As we went inside, I began to think of a way of making a permanent board on the porch.
The project below is just one way of making this game board. I like the fact that it is permanent but I will give ideas for less enduring boards that can still be played outside.
Homemade Outdoor Scrabble Board
The plans below are just a starting point and can be changed according to the supplies, skills, and space available.
Several bags of premixed concrete mix
Chalk line and large tape measure
Concrete stain in several different colors according to the Scrabble game board
Paint or self adhesive letters
- Begin the board building process by creating the frame. You will need to cut four pieces of wood that are 5 feet in length. Once that is done, hammer together.
- Prepare the site where you would like your game board to be placed. The area needs to be bare ground since we will be filling it up with concrete.
- Once the area has been prepared, place your frame in place.
- Dump concrete mix in wheelbarrow and mix accordingly.
- Pour into frame and continue to mix until it is full.
- Float the concrete and level it out.
- Allow it to set for at least one month to cure.
- After it has cured, the next step is to draw out the board. Since the board is so large you can either outline with a large tape measure or chalk line.
- Once you have your line marked out in one direction, you will need to mark off every 3 ¾ inches for the other direction. After the previous measurement has been marked on each end, connect the opposing marks with the chalk line or large tape measure.
- Now you should have the game board drawn out. To make it permanent, follow the lines with a concrete stain.
- Allow to dry
- Once completely dried, color in the double, triple letter and double, triple word blocks. To get this information, take a look at the Scrabble board.
- Allow to dry.
- Next, you will need to cut 100 tiles that are 3 ¼ inch square out of scrap wood. Sand the edges of the wood.
- At this point, you can add self-adhesive letters or paint them on.
- Seal the wood with shellac.
- Next, make a rack for your letters to sit on. A simple stand can be made from two pieces of scrap wood that has been nailed together into the shape of a “L.” Once you have your supports made, paint and/or apply a coat of shellac.
- Now you are ready to play outdoor Scrabble.
But what do you do if you do not want such a permanent Scrabble board or do not want to go to the expense of concrete? Well, you do have a few choices. One choice is to draw out the Scrabble board on existing concrete but instead of using chalk use concrete stain. Another choice is to draw out the board in a large, grass area. To make the design last awhile, use a lawn paint, which is the paint that football fields us. This paint will remain until you mow the grass.
What if Scrabble is not your game? Well, other board games can be created for the outdoor environment. This includes chess and checkers, which can be made on a hard surface as described or made out of different colored turf. Another creative game whose game board can be planned for the outdoors is Chinese checkers. The colorful star design can make a unique statement on any porch that is not only beautiful but functional at the same time.
Regardless of which board design you choose, your family will love the uniqueness of being able to go outside to play a board game without having to bring the board. On the other hand, your guests will gather around the board for friendly competition and conversation. But the best part of this project is the fact that it gives everyone a reason or an excuse to get outside and spend time together, which is worth a ton of gold.