I love how my husband is always looking for fun things to do with our girls. I especially like it when his ideas allow them to work with him in the garage or out in the yard. What I like even more is when their creations benefit the whole family, such as this backyard Jenga set. 🙂
Steve came across this DIY Giant Jenga project on YouTube and loved how simple it was. It was something he and our oldest, Sadie, could do together but also allowed her the chance to do a lot of it on her own with Steve just supervising.
It was a great time for them both and they have since made a few more sets for others and Sadie’s sisters have been able to help, too.
Here are the steps with pictures to help:
(I sometimes include affiliate links, which means I might make a small commission off any purchases you make, at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here or at the end of this post.)
How to Make a Giant Jenga Set
- 7 8′ framing 2 x 4s (You are going to want to pick out the straightest pieces with minimal defects.)
- Paint (For this project, Steve and Sadie chose colors to represent their beloved Cubs.)
- Minwax Paste Finishing Wax
- Old, white t-shirt
- Mini Paint Roller Kit
- Sandpaper (60, 120 grit)
Tools You’ll Need:
(If you do not have these, check with your local hardware store, many of them offer rental services for a nominal fee.)
1. Cut the 2x4s
You are going to want to measure out your boards marking every 10 1/4 inches.
Carefully make your cuts until you have a minimum of 54 pieces. Your cut boards should look like this:
2. Sand Each Block
Start with 60 grit and round your edges.
Using a router to round the edges would work best, but if you don’t have one, the sander works, too. Also, a stationary belt sander would make the process easier, but again, not necessary.
Once the edges are rounded, go back over each board with the 120 grit sandpaper.
Doesn’t Sadie look so cute in my painting smock? I’m not sure how I feel about my oldest being able to wear my clothes now. 🙂
Once you are done sanding, the pieces should look like this:
3. Paint the Blocks (Optional)
On to the fun part. *insert sarcasm* Thankfully, Sadie enjoys painting and did not ask for my help.
She divided her boards into three groups, one for each paint color she chose. If you are painting a light color, you should do two coats.
4. Wax the Blocks
Cut up your old t-shirt into square pieces and ball one piece in your hand and rub against the surface of the wax. You will then apply the wax along the wood grain of each board.
A little goes a long way.
After you let the wax dry for fifteen minutes, you can add a second coat, which I recommend. After the pieces are dry, you are going to use circular motions with a fresh square of t-shirt and buff the wood.
Tip: Make sure your ends are sanded smooth or the wax will catch in the roughness and collect. If you prefer the more rugged look than you may need a stiff brush to clean out the excess wax.
Now, all that is left to do is have fun with your new backyard Jenga set! (Oh, and win, because that’s the point of a game, right?) 😉
Commonly Asked Questions:
How many 2x4s does it take to make a Giant Jenga game?
If you can get 7 straight 8′ boards then you would have enough.
How many pieces are in a Giant Jenga set?
Jenga is played with 54 pieces, each piece three times as long as it is wide and 1/5th as thick as its length. *According to Jenga Wikipedia
What size is Giant Jenga?
If you use the dimensions in this post, your Giant Jenga Game is going to be three feet tall. But you can always make yours smaller by reducing the dimensions to whatever size you’d like.
This might be worth considering if you have smaller children as it might be too high for them to reach once you start stacking. Plus, when it topples, you aren’t going to want little ones underfoot.
What are Giant Jenga Dimensions?
In this post, we cut 2x4s into 54 pieces with a dimension of 10 and 1/4 inches.
Can you paint Jenga blocks?
Absolutely! Or you can just stain the wood so they’re more authentic looking like we did for our second, smaller set below:
How do you make Jenga blocks slippery?
This is a combination of thorough sanding and a couple coats of wax that have been efficiently buffed. Over time, you will want to recoat the pieces. A little goes a long way so one can of wax will last you quite a while.
What are the Jenga box dimensions?
We used a milk crate to cart ours around in, but it wasn’t quiet big enough. If you can get something larger, maybe 15x15x15, you should be good!
What are yard Jenga rules?
Yard Jenga is played the same as regular Jenga which you can get a refresher here.
What is the best finish for Giant Jenga?
We used finishing wax and have found it does the job perfectly. With the wear and tear of normal play, the pieces will need to be touched up after awhile, but that would be the case for any finish.
What is the estimated cost?
$55 (We already had the tools so your cost could be more or less depending on what you have on hand and what items you choose to purchase.)
As you can see, this is an easy project for you and your kids to tackle in an afternoon and there’s something for everyone to do. Make it your own with paint colors of your choice and the dimensions can be easily adjusted to fit your family.
(If you love this idea and want to try your hand at it, don’t forget to pin it to Pinterest so it’s easily accessible when you’re ready to get started!)
*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, but if I am recommending an item in my post, it is only because I have used it myself or have done enough research on the product to feel it is a good fit for my readers.
About the author
Kimberly McGraw is the founder of Life Worth the Living, a blog focused on helping mothers live their best life. Her desire is to help moms find purpose in who they are as a person, not just as a mom. Life Worth the Living has been featured in Making Sense of Cents, Outwit Trade and Believe and Create.