We entertain a lot. I always joke and say that I would rather host than go to a party because at least I know the food is good if we host. When we host in the summer, we make sure to have games, like corn hole, ring toss, and DIY lawn dice, set up in the backyard so people don’t just have to sit around drinking and eating and talking. Which isn’t bad, but games make it more fun.
Speaking of those DIY dice, Pete and I tag-teamed to make the most amazing set of outdoor yard dice.
I saw a Yardzee game in store a while back, and it was so much more money than I wanted to spend on them. So we decided to make a set of our own.
They were really easy to make. We didn’t use any DIY Yard Dice plans, just used our brains. They just take a bit of time because you have to let them dry overnight between layers of mineral spirits and sealer. At least, we kept letting them dry overnight to assure we kept the integrity of them. You can probably get away with a little less if you’re in a rush.
DIY Yard Dice
What You’ll Need:
- 4×4 (in 17.5 inches)
- Circular saw
- Orbital sander
- Mineral spirits
- Old rag
- Black acrylic paint
- Paint brush
- Spar Urethane (spray can form)
What You’ll Do:
Here’s the first thing I learned from this project. A 4×4 is not actually a 4×4. It’s a 3.5×3.5. So I asked Pete to cut me 5 pieces of 4×4, each 4 inches long.
I had measured out templates for the dots on the dice based on a 4-inch square I cut out of paper. When I held it to the wood, it was too large. That’s when I learned a 4×4 is a 3.5×3.5.
So, in that case, cut 3.5-inch sections of a 4×4, one for each die you want. We need five for Yardzee, so we made five.
Use the orbital sander to sand each side and edge.
If you don’t have an orbital sander, you can use sand paper, it will just take longer. If you play a lot,the edges may wear down anyway, but you really want smooth sides for when you paint on them.
After sanding, use the old rag to clean each cube with mineral spirits to wipe away any leftover dust.
Use a quarter as a stencil for the dots (actually knows as pips) and trace it with a pencil.
I made the aforementioned 4×4 template for each side … then had to redo them as 3.5×3.5 yard dice stencil. I probably could have just lined the quarters up and eyeballed it, to be honest. It would have saved me so much time.
If you start with the “1” it will give you confidence to do the others.
Outline the pencil tracing, then paint the dots. The best way to do it is trace the “1” on all five cubes, then paint each one. Go back to the first (it should have dried by now) and paint a second coat. Let it dry completely.
Continue painting each side.
Now, keep in mind, the dots aren’t placed at random. Each side adds up to 7 (the 1 is across from the 6, the 2 from the 5, and the 3 from the 4).
In order to keep mine perfect, I actually used an actual die to flip as I was making it. I wanted to assure that each side was perfect. So I made sure that the highest dot of the 3 was at the bottom right corner of the 5, and then the dots for the 6 went down from that same reference point on the 5.
You don’t have to be as perfect as me, but I come from a family that loves gambling and games. So this sort of stuff is important to me.
When the dots have dried completely, bring them outside to spray them with the spar urethane to seal them. Spray all but the side down on the scrap paper. After two hours, flip the cube, spray the bottom side, and let the cubes dry overnight.
The reason you want spar urethane, instead of just polyurethane or polycrylic, is because spar urethane is designed for outdoor/indoor use while the other two are just for indoor use.
So, if you’re playing with these and they get left outside, you won’t have to worry about the sun damaging them or the spray heating up, getting sticky, and accumulating grass. That can happen with the polyurethane and polycrylic.
After three coats, you’re ready to play!
What’s the first game you would play with these DIY Yard Dice?