If you’ve never played Giant Jenga you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s such a fun but easy game to play with two people, or with many at a backyard party. Today I’ll show you how easy it is to make your own DIY Giant Jenga Game.
Ok, to be honest I hadn’t played it until last summer, but it’s so much fun.
My dear friend called me recently and asked me if I’d help her make some games for her husband’s surprise party. Of course I said yes. I’ve been wanting to make for myself anyway.
This is the perfect project for this month’s At Home DIY Challenge because the theme was $20 DIY Projects. You can find the link to all the other great projects at the bottom of the post.
DIY Giant Jenga Game Supplies
- 7 Premium Kiln Dried 2×4 Boards 8′ long.
- Miter saw, or skill saw if that’s what you have.
- Tape Measure
- Electric Sanders such as these:
- Sand Paper in 60 Grit, 120 Grit, and maybe 220 Grit
- Dust Mask
- Ear Protection
- Polycrylic (optional)
Giant Jenga Game Cut List
- 54 sections of 2×4 cut to 10-1/2″
That’s it, that’s all you need 😀
Mathematically you’ll get 9 giant jenga pieces from each 2×4 and that equals 6 2×4 boards. But you’ll likely have some areas you want to cut around, such as knots or gouged areas. That’s why we bought 7.
Step 1: Cut all your pieces
Set up your miter saw and cut all your pieces to 10-1/2″. Are you wondering why jenga pieces are 10-1/2″?
The 2x4s are cut to 10-1/2″ because three 2x4s side-by-side measures 10-1/2″. (who’s idea was it to actually make them smaller than the name? #truthinmarketing?)
It’s not super important that your lengths be exact, but if you’re OCD like me I’ll show you how to how you make them exact.
On your miter saw look at your fence (that’s the vertical part at the back. The have holes in them and, they usually slide out to adjust for varying cut lengths.
Anyway, find a piece of scrap that has a square end and attach it to the fence from the back.
Make sure you use screws that are long enough to pass through the metal and into the wood. But not long enough to stick out too far. Alternatively you could also use a clamp.
When you’re ready to cut the pieces measure and mark the 2×4 at 10-1/2″. Place the 2×4 on the miter saw and against the wood block. Adjust the fence of the miter saw until the non-moving saw blade lines up with the pencil mark.
You can practice this step on scraps and make necessary adjustments. It’s always best to be a bit longer and cut off a bit more. Lock the fence into place and proceed to cut the rest of your pieces.
Step 2: Sand the 2×4 Giant Jenga Pieces.
I was blessed that my brother “lent me” his bench sander. He said he doesn’t really use it so I can keep it at our house until he does 😀 It’s 20 years old and it’s a beast. I can’t wait to use it on more projects.
Working together with my friend and my hubby we started with 60 Grit on the bench sander.
Then those were passed along to the other two and they got another pass with 120 Grit sandpaper.
We played a little sander musical chairs.
Now some people will tell you that you don’t need to sand. And maybe you don’t but if you’re using construction lumber you’ll usually see milling marks and such that would make it very hard to play.
Sanding your 54 Giant Jenga game pieces will make them slide out from between other pieces so much easier.
Almost done! Thank God for ear plugs and dust masks. We had the shop vac hooked up to the bench sander and that knocked down a lot of the sanding dust. But that just adds to the noise. So wear ear protection please.
I’m not going to say this was a fast project, even I was surprised at how long it took us to sand. But for just $20 in lumber and a little time sanding the pieces are smooth and the game will be fun.
You can buy pre-made sets online as well.
If you want a hardwood set, those will cost you 5-7 times what we made this DIY Giant Jenga set for.
My friend lives in Southern CA and we were so pooped when we finally finished the two-day game making marathon that I forgot to take finished photos.
Ok, I’ll be honest, we were rushing to go enjoy a little happy hour libations before she left the next morning. She was sweet enough to snap some photos of the rest of the process.
Step 3: Adding a protective coat
If you wish you can add a light coat of polycrylic. Some people like to stain theirs. And still others paint the ends in fun colors.
A light coat works best and you’ll want to make sure there’s no puddling. Or the paper will stick to giant jenga pieces and be hard to get off.
Let the dry fully. If the pieces feel like they’ll stick together instead of sliding easily you might need to do a light sand with a 220 Grit sandpaper.
Step 4: How to Play Giant Jenga
To stack up your Giant Jenga game lay 3 pieces side by side. On top of those stack 3 more across the first row. Continue that process until you have 18 rows of 2 pieces each.
Stack them as straight as you can while stacking. If your tower leans too much your game may not last very long. But that might be a good strategy to try.
Each person takes a turn pushing/pulling one piece out from somewhere in the stack and sets it on the top. Those pieces are stacked in the same manner as the initial stack.
The person who causes the giant jenga stack to fall over during their turn is the “loser!”
Watch your toes, and little kids, around this game. It smarts to have a game piece hit your foot.
LOVE IT!! PIN IT!!
I hope you liked this easy DIY Giant Jenga Game tutorial. Now that I helped my friend make one I need to get busy on ours. Maybe I can convince her to come back up here for another marathon sanding session 🙂
Now go check out all the other amazing $20 DIY Projects for your DIY inspiration.