How to Make a Giant Jenga Yard Game

Outdoor Jenga

If you have ever wanted to make a giant Jenga style yard game, you're in the right place!

This jumbo Jenga project had been on my list for two years - since my husband and I played it at an outdoor bar and decided we needed a giant Jenga yard game set for our house, too. 

But you know how life goes: first we forgot about it.

Then when we remembered we were like, "Oh yeah, let's make that giant jenga game soon!" 

And then "soon" turned into another year. 

Whoops! It's finally done, though. 

Giant jenga (or as some might call it life size jenga) is the perfect yard game to play outside at BBQs, picnics or family get togethers! 

It's a great beginner woodworking project and it's super affordable, too (less than 10!). It also makes a great gift for outdoor, BBQ and tail gating enthusiasts.

Do you want to make your own DIY Giant Jenga yard game?

Let's get started!
How to make a jumbo jenga yard game

How to Make a Giant Jenga DIY Tutorial
Learn how to make your own jumbo jenga yard game!

Giant Jenga DIY Supplies

Links provided below and throughout this post may be affiliate or referral links:
wood and supplies for giant jenga game

Giant Jenga DIY Directions

How to make a Jumbo Jenga yard game step 1:

If you've never bought wood before, know that 2x3 boards aren't actually that size; their real dimensions are 1.5" x 2.5". 

(I think they should just label everything as the size is really is, but nobody asked me). 

Giant Jenga involves rows of three pieces, so for our sides to line up evenly, the pieces need to be 7.5" long.
How to measure 2x3 boards to make a jumbo jenga set

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...

How to make a Jumbo Jenga yard game step 2:

... my adjustable table saw did the rest of the measuring for me. 

I set the metal bar guide on my saw to 7.5" from the blade and used my mark on the wood to double-check its placement before I began cutting each board.
How to cut boards to make a giant jenga DIY game

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 48 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 60 pieces.

How to make a Jumbo Jenga yard game step 3:

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 your giant jenga in the yard.
black and decker mouse sander

I'm a fan of the Black&Decker Mouse. It's lightweight and has the appropriate amount of power (not too 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:
Giant Jenga DIY tutorial

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 48 pieces. They should look a little something like this when you're done:
How to prepare wood to make a giant Jenga game

How to make a Jumbo Jenga yard game step 4:

If you're feeling artistic, you can paint the ends of your giant Jenga pieces or apply some stain, I just left mine naked like the classic Jenga game. 

These are wood pieces that are going to fall on the ground when the tower tips over so I didn't feel like there was a need to make them fancy pants.
Life size jenga - how to make a DIY giant jenga game

I'm SO glad we finally made our jumbo jenga yard game. 

It was so nice to get this yard game crossed off my list. If only unloading the dishwasher were this cool, amirite?
how to make a DIY giant jenga game for your yard

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 yard games for everyone! 

This would also make a great DIY Christmas gift!

Did you love this tutorial for making your own life size jenga yard game? Make sure you pin it for later!

Learn how to make a giant DIY jenga game. It's the perfect yard game to play outside in the backyard this summer. #creativegreenliving #jenga #yardjenga #yardgames #giantjenga #jumbojenga

If you make your own giant jenga game, be sure to come back here and tell me about it!

Do you just want to buy a giant jenga game?

Even though I promise this project is easy peasy, if you are thinking "uh, can I just buy this???", the answer is: YES. Yes you can!

Giant Jenga FAQ

More than 100,000 readers have come here to learn how to make their own giant Jenga game since this tutorial was first published in 2015. 

And a lot of you have had questions!

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about making this life-size Jenga game:

What is the size of a Jenga block?

In our DIY version of giant Jenga, our blocks are 1.5 inches tall, 2.5 inches wide and 7.5 inches long.

How many Jenga pieces are there in giant Jenga?

Our life-size Jenga game instructions as-written makes 48 pieces.

Each 8 foot long 2 x 3 will make 12 pieces so if you want a taller game, just cut up an extra board!

If you use five 8 foot boards, you will end up with 60 pieces.

We don't recommend any more than 60 pieces because the game will get too tall to play beyond that because the height of the tower can more than double as you play.

How many layers or rows is in a jumbo Jenga game? 

When you play a Jenga-style stacking game, the blocks go in rows of three to start.

So if you have a 48 piece giant Jenga (made with four 8 foot 2x3's), you'll have 16 rows of blocks to start.

If you use five 8 foot long 2x3s, your game will start with 20 rows of blocks.

How do you stack Jenga blocks?

To set up a yard Jenga game, lay three blocks, long sides touching, side by side on the ground or playing surface.

For the next layer of blocks, stack a set of blocks side-by-side, running perpendicular to the first set.

Another way to say it might be: If the first layer of blocks runs up-and-down, the next layer of blocks should run side-to-side.

Alternate the direction of the stacked blocks for each layer until all blocks are in the stack.

How do you play giant Jenga?

Playing giant Jenga in your yard has really similar rules to the table top version.

Set up is the same: Sets of three blocks stacked on top of each other in an alternating pattern.

Once the pieces are set up, one person takes a turn by choosing a block in the stack (except from the top layer) to remove. 

For their turn to be successful, they need to remove one block and place it on the top of the stack (continuing the appropriate alternating pattern) without the tower falling down for 10 seconds after being placed or until the next person begins their turn, whichever comes first.

If the tower falls down, you lose and your opponent(s) are declared the winners.

What is the object of this game?

To win, of course! 

The way you win at giant Jenga is to NOT be the person who knocked the tower down.

How many people can play yard Jenga at once?

Just like the tabletop version, Jenga can be played with two or more players. 

How much is a giant Jenga game?

Prices will vary by region and quality of materials (and what you already have on hand).

If you already have power tools on hand, you can make a giant jenga game for about $8 in lumber.

Just want to buy your own yard jenga instead of making it? Amazon sells giant Jenga games here.

What's the best way to store a giant Jenga set?

A giant plastic tote, rectangular laundry basket or a durable bag (like an IKEA tote) are all great options for storing your giant jenga game between trips to the yard.

Do you have directions for other DIY yard games?

Thanks for asking! We'll have more coming soon!

About the Author: 
Paige Ronchetti is an interior decorator and blogger who writes about DIY projects, decor inspiration, and personal style over at Little Nostalgia (blog no longer active) 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 TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.
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  1. wow great job on jenga just wondering how the wood held up not stained? Thanks

    1. Hello! The wood has held up really well. The main thing is keeping it dry. We store it in our garage and make sure the ground isn't wet if we're going to play. If you make this and think your wood is getting a little musty, you could lay the pieces out in the sun for a couple of hours to dry them out. :-)

  2. Don't stain it. Instead get a set of colored sharpie markers and when ever you bring out the game, have each guest decorate it as a kind of guest book. Fun memories!

  3. Replies
    1. in a rubbermaid tote in the garage or shed would work nicely.

  4. It looks like you are suggesting setting the rip fence on a table saw to your desired cut length and pushing the board through the blade with the end of the board against the fence. This is extremely dangerous and a good way to cause the board to kickback off the blade and/or lose a finger. Cross cuts on a table saw should be made with a miter gauge or even better a cross cut sled. The fence is for ripping a board lengthwise.

  5. Great instructions, so thanks for posting, but I can't stress what Chris said enough. Don't ever use that fence on a table saw to crosscut. If you'd like to see why it's dangerous, just google "table saw kickback" and watch. Not only does the board kick back at you, but it can easily drag your hand into the blade of the saw. You can google "table saw injuries" if you want, too, but have a strong stomach. Use a miter saw to do the job, and this project will work out just fine. Even a handsaw and miter box from home depot, for like $12, and that'll be fine.

    1. I also came to comment on kickback! I actually think the fence works well to set crosscut length IFF you add a fence block spacer so that the piece is no longer constrained by the time it slides up to the blade.


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