Hi, everybody! I'm Paige from Little Nostalgia and I'm excited to share an $8 DIY with you today. This giant Jenga project has been on my list for two years, since my husband and I played it at an outdoor bar and decided we needed a set for our house, too. But you know how life goes: first we forgot about it, and then when we remembered we were like, "Oh yeah, let's do that soon!" And then "soon" turned into another year. Whoops! It's finally done, though. Not only is this an affordable foray into the world of power tools (seriously, $8!), but it's the same simple cut over and over. Beginners, you'll love it.
- 4 pieces of 2x3x8 lumber
- Table saw (hardware stores have some to rent if you don't want to buy)
- Mouse sander
- Work gloves
- Eye protection
- Pen or pencil
- Measuring tape
Let's break down those lumber dimensions first. If you've never bought wood before, know that our 2x3 boards aren't actually that size; their real dimensions are 1.5"x2.5". (I think they should just label everything as the size is really is, but nobody asked me.) Jenga involves rows of three pieces, so for our sides to line up evenly, the pieces need to be 7.5" long.
I laid my boards on the ground and marked the first 7.5" cut for all of them. I did NOT mark every cut all the way down the board because...
... my adjustable table saw did the rest of the measuring for me. We (and by we I mean my husband) set that metal bar to 7.5" from the blade and used my mark on the wood to double-check its placement before he began cutting each board.
Pardon the sawdust. This is a messy activity. Wear your eye protection.
Each board was 8' long, so we got 12 Jenga pieces out of each one. We cut a total of 45 pieces and used all of the lumber we bought. If you want to make your tower extra high, you could buy five boards and make 57 pieces.
After you're done cutting, grab a sander. You could technically do this part by hand with sandpaper, but it would take you until fall and then you'd miss your window for playing giant Jenga in the yard.
I'm a fan of the Black&Decker Mouse. It's lightweight and has the appropriate amount of power (not much) for a small project like this.
Because 2x3s are on the cheap end of the lumber spectrum, they'll be looking a little wonky after the cutting phase of the project:
Put on your work gloves, sand off the splinters caused by the saw blade, and get rid of any rough patches on the sides. It took me about half an hour to smooth all 45 pieces. They should look a little something like this when you're done:
If you're feeling artistic, you can paint the ends of your pieces or apply some stain, but I just left mine naked. I feel like, these are wood pieces that are going to fall on the ground when the tower tips over, there's no need to make them fancy pants.
I'm SO glad we finally made this. It's nice to get something crossed off your list anyway, but it's extra exciting when the task is a fun one. If only unloading the dishwasher were this cool, amirite?
Side note: you may end up making more than one set because ours has been done for less than a week and I've already gotten two requests from friends who want their own. Giant Jenga for everyone!
What kinds of projects to you make with inexpensive lumber? Have you ever made your own yard games?
Paige Ronchetti is an interior decorator and blogger who writes about DIY projects, decor inspiration, and personal style over at Little Nostalgia. When she's not blogging, she's working with local clients through The Room Kit, her budget-friendly interior design business. Her favorite books are Harry Potter. Follow along on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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