Amy’s Free Ideas

Make Cardboard Game Boards

These instructions help you make game boards that fold in half, thirds, or quarters like commercial game boards.

  1. 1. Design game boards on the computer, and print out on heavy paper such as card stock, or on label paper that has a sticky back. Alternative: Draw by hand.

  2. 2.Cut 2 pieces of cardboard that are half the size of the game board. Some dollar stores (100 yen stores) sell thin cardboard. You can use thin cardboard from cereal or cracker boxes, or the backs of notepads.

  3. 3.Cut backing paper larger than the printed game board--an inch larger on all 4 sides.

  4. 4.Glue the backing paper onto the back of the cardboard, but be sure to leave a quarter inch of space between the two pieces of cardboard so the game board can fold when it is finished. If you don’t leave this space, the paper will be too tight and the board will not be able to fold, and if you try to force it, the backing paper will tear.

  5. 5.Fold the backing to the front of the cardboard. Begin by folding the 4 corners, then fold the sides.

  6. 6.Glue these folded edges in place.

  7. 7.Glue the printed board game to the front.

  8. 8.Make playing pieces.

Make Multiple Paper Game Boards with Storage Box

These instructions help you make a storage box to hold several paper boards and their playing pieces.

  1. 1.Print out the game boards, preferably on card stock (stiff paper.)

  2. 2.Color the game boards.

  3. 3.Optional: cover them with clear contact paper, or laminate them to make them last longer.

  4. 4.Optional: Buy a plastic folder to keep the game boards, game pieces, spinners, and dice.  OR

  5. 5.Optional: Make a storage box out a cereal or cracker box, but make it sturdier and easy to close. Use a box that is large enough to hold the game boards without folding them. To modify the box’s flaps for better closing, cut a piece of thin cardboard 4 inches wider than the top, and wide enough to cover the whole end of the box. Glue it to the outside flap. Fold both ends that stick out beyond the box so they fit just inside the box. Cut these 2 flaps rounded so they fold inside the box.

  6. 6.Glue on colored paper, wrapping paper or contact paper to cover the whole box.

  7. 7.Store the game boards, game pieces, spinner, and/or dice in the box.

3 Ways to Make Magnetic board games

  1. 1.Option #1: Buy a magnetic whiteboard from a discount store (dollar store or hundred yen store.) If you want make just one game, you can draw the game board onto the whiteboard with permanent markers. If you want to be able to play multiple games with it, see ideas in the lower left column for how to print multiple game boards and make a storage box to hold everything. Buy magnets for playing pieces.

  2. 2.Option #2: Buy a metal cookie sheet from a discount store (dollar store or hundred yen store) see ideas in the lower left column for how to print multiple game boards and make a storage box to hold everything. Buy magnets for playing pieces.

  3. 3.Option #3: Buy metal flashing at a hardware store and cut it into squares for game boards. Cover it with contact paper. Be careful to cut the corners rounded since sharp corners can cut or tear clothing or skin.

How to Make Wooden Game Boards

  1. 1.Cut a piece of wood or plywood in a square.

  2. 2.Optional: Paint the board. You may need a sealer coat before the paint, or 2 coats of paint to cover the board. Let dry between coats.

  3. 3.Measure and mark where the lines go with pencil--use the printed sheet as a guideline.

  4. 4.Use permanent markers and a ruler to draw the lines on the game board.

  5. 5.Optional: Paint more colors in the spaces. Let dry.

Optional: Use 2 boards and fasten them together with hinges so the board folds smaller for storage.

Wooden folding game from a 100 yen store

If you are lucky enough to live near a discount store or hundred yen store that sells these blank game boards, consider yourself fortunate, and buy one before they sell out! It is a really inexpensive way to get a game board. It is wooden board with a grid already drawn on the outside. It folds closed with a latch or magnets to hold it closed. It is even hollow, so you can store the game pieces inside.

Make Cloth  or Plastic Sheet Board Games

  1. 1.Cut a sheet of plastic or cloth the size you want the board to be, or 2 inches bigger if you want to hem the fabric.

  2. 2.Optional: sew or glue the raw edges of fabric.

  3. 3.Use permanent markers and a ruler to draw the design on the cloth or plastic.

  4. 4.Add colors to the design with fabric paints. Do be careful since fabric paint can bleed if it is runny. Another option is to glue pieces of felt onto a cloth background or glue on pieces of EVA foam for a plastic background.

NOTE: Whenever you use fabric, be sure to have some sort of barrier to protect the table or floor from the marker or paint that might bleeding through to the surface beneath the cloth--use plastic sheets, or cardboard, or several layers of old newspapers.

The side panel from a second box is just the right size for the flap that folds into the box.