How to Make a Plinko Board

This “How to make a Plinko board” was a fun project idea from my friend Lynn.  She is the head of her school’s PTA, and/or planning committee and she wanted to build some fun games for an upcoming school carnival/ school fair.

Lynn accumulated the supplies for the game from different “how to make a plinko board” plans she’d seen on Pinterest and invited me over to see if we could put something together.

We changed a few things up and I think we’ve come up with the easiest way to make a giant Plinko board in the least amount of time.

How to make a Plinko board

You will need:

(click links for my recommendations – note: I was provided a Bladerunner by Rockwell Tools, but my recommendation is honest and sincere).

First up, you’ll want to build the frame to hold your pegboard sheet;

cut two of your 1 x 2″ to 48″ long and then cut another piece at 24″.

Pre-drill, wood glue and then screw these three pieces together in a “U” shape – the small piece in between the two longer ones.

How to make a Plinko board

Cut another three pieces of 1×2″ at 25″ long each.  These are going to be attached to the back of your U-shape to keep your frame sturdy and your boards from sagging.

How to make a Plinko board

How to make a Plinko board

Next, you’ll slide in your 1/4″ mdf board (without the peg holes) into your U frame and on top of the back boards.  Nail these into place from the front of the MDF board into the back cross-frame boards.

Slide your pegboard in on top of the MDf and nail in place again.

You’ll want to figure out the spacing for your bottom slots and it’s going to depend on what you are using to “plink” – checkers, quarters or washers will all work – you could even use golf balls if you are planning on using a plexiglass cover over top of your board.

How to make a Plinko board

The centre section is the most difficult to land in – so the prize/points there should be the greatest and you may want to make that section the smallest.

How to make a Plinko board

*I have been corrected by readers who have said that the bottom board should actually be 24″ and not 23 1/2″.

Cut your paint sticks down to 3″ long and glue them to the base of the frame and to the pegboard.  Use any leftover 1×2 wood to lay across the top and then clamp it down to make sure your sticks adhere well.

How to make a Plinko board

I’m showing the next step above, but really now’s the time to cut your dowels to size.  For our board, Lynn figured that she wanted the pegs in every-other-hole horizontally and in every third row vertically.   (Stagger the columns so you don’t have straight lines of pegs).  This amounted to approximately 160  1 3/4″ dowel pieces (the extra 1/4″ is where it tucks into the pegboard.

Yup – Rockwell Bladerunner X2 to the rescue again.  In fact, this entire project was made using the Bladerunner and I think Lynn was as pleased with her purchase as I am mine.  Set up your steel rip fence at the 1 3/4″  mark and you can whip out those dowels in minutes – even cut every time.

How to make a Plinko board

We lightly sanded the dowels for a smooth top, but it’s not necessary.  Just add a dab of wood glue to the bottom of each dowel and tuck into your pre-determined peg holes.

How to make a Plinko board

How to make a Plinko board

Lynn and I started this around 1pm and even with phone calls and a hungry baby we were able to finish it before school pick-up at 3:30.

Lynn went back and added adhesive vinyl lettering and numbering, and decided to add a piece of plexiglass to the top.

How to make a Plinko board

Lean it against a wall and plink away!  Raise some money for your school or just have some backyard fun – this 4 foot Plinko board is easy to make and narrow enough to store.

How to make a Plinko board pinnable:

How to make a Plinko board

Have a great one!

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 12.35.03 PM

 

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2018-06-18T13:40:51+00:00April 26th, 2016|BUILD IT, KIDS|33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. […] friend Lynn (of Plinko fame) is single-handedly providing all of the games for her school […]

  2. Amanda September 20, 2016 at 9:46 am - Reply

    What kind of things did you use for chips?

    • Shelly @ 100Things2Do.ca October 3, 2016 at 11:08 am - Reply

      The shop that cut the plexi glass for it were playing with it using quarters. The school fair that it was built for ended up using ping pong balls I think?

  3. Edni September 28, 2016 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    Do you use a ball or a chip?

    • Shelly @ 100Things2Do.ca October 3, 2016 at 11:01 am - Reply

      With the plexi glass over top, you could use either – just cut your dowels to be wider than the ball if you go that way.

  4. Mad Plinko November 28, 2016 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    The pegboard was 2′ x 4′ so the bottom piece of wood on the frame needs to be 24″ not 23 1/2! Get your measurements right!

    • Craig B. December 7, 2016 at 10:17 pm - Reply

      Thanks! That makes total sense,

    • Shelly @ 100Things2Do.ca December 15, 2016 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the correction – I thought I’d measured directly from the finished piece? Appreciate your time and kindness in the correction.

      • Susan June 7, 2017 at 3:44 pm - Reply

        It might be helpful to update the instructions to refer to 24″ for the bottom board. I, too, did not read the comments and now have to start over. Other than that, it’s a great project!

    • Pfifer May 15, 2017 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      Gosh – Mad Plinko – wish I had seen your comment earlier – we put this thing together and SURPRISE…..the peg board nor the MDF would “slide into the U” – now I have to take my frame apart, and start over.

  5. Craig B. December 7, 2016 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    I bought oak dowels as they fit better in the holes. Turns out they were 36″ and now I need to purchase 3 more. Dowel length would have been nice on the prep list.

    • Shelly @ 100Things2Do.ca December 15, 2016 at 8:35 pm - Reply

      I couldn’t give a dowel requirement because it depends on what you plan to use as chips. If you use ping pong balls, your dowels will have to be cut longer to accommodate. If you use quarters, you can cut your dowels much shorter and be fine. I apologize for any confusion.

  6. DJ January 8, 2017 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    Shelly Thank you for putting these instructions up. I appreciate your time. Disregard the other rude people out there. There is always one in every group (or more) 🙂

  7. SWCC January 26, 2017 at 9:10 am - Reply

    How heavy did this end up being? I’m looking to make this for our Youth Program to bring with to different events and want it to be somewhat portable.

    • Shelly @ 100Things2Do.ca March 27, 2017 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      I don’t have it here to weigh it for certain, but I’d say 30lbs? Not too heavy at all, just large – too big for a hatchback or small trunk.

  8. Kelsey February 3, 2017 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    I was looking for plans to make a board for our school carnival and stumbled on this. Thank you for the great and detailed instructions! I am so excited to make it!

  9. Moni February 18, 2017 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    I am making this at this moment. It is coming out great with your directions. My ONLY suggestion is to lay out the pegboard and mdf board and measure the bottom part of the frame with the two 48 inch pieces in place. Go figure that the mdf board was 1/4 larger than the pegboard and would not fit in the frame. I was able to cut it down on the table saw. The 1×2 are not exactly 1×2 which is probably why they are only 89 cents but that threw off the measurements slightly. Great directions!..This is my first project using all my husband’s tools. I ended up using poker chips from an old set I had laying around and to SWCC, I felt I was able to lift and carry the board with little problem

    • Shelly @ 100Things2Do.ca March 27, 2017 at 1:01 pm - Reply

      I’m so glad it worked for you – and thanks for the tip! You go girl! Now that you’ve tried out the tools, there’s no stopping you!

  10. Tammy June 2, 2017 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    What diameter are the dowels?

  11. Lisa June 12, 2017 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    It would be very helpful if you updated your post with the measurement correction for the 23 1/2″ wood piece! Love these instructions, and it would definitely help people in the future.

  12. […] 13. Plinko board. I just need to tell you that Plinko is the BEST game ever. […]

  13. […] 13. Plinko board. I just need to tell you that Plinko is the BEST game ever. […]

  14. Stephen June 25, 2017 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Thanks this really helped out with my project

  15. D. Ryan August 18, 2017 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Thank you for posting this! It inspired me to make one for my kids and it came out great! I am posting some of my experience in hops it helps others make this really cool project.

    SUPPLIES
    For some reason, the MDF board I bought was exactly ½” higher and ½” wider than the pegboard I bought, so I had to slice ½” off of both the length and the width to make them exactly the same size. Not a big deal, but CHECK before you get going and don’t assume they’re both exactly 24”x48”.

    The pegboard was perfect-24”x48”, and interestingly, a nice White on one side and Brown (unfinished) on the other side. I thought that was great—I’ll use the white side, but for some reason the holes in the pegboard (at least on the one I bought) were WIDER on the unfinished/brown side and narrower on the white side so I couldn’t get the dowel rods (the plinko pegs) in the white side without drilling or cracking that surface. The other side was also a bit tight, but was easier. Hence, I ended up with the brown side. Again—CHECK EVERYTHING FIRST. I’m glad I did.

    The 1×2” boards make a nice frame, but in the end, I wish I had gone with a 1×3” board. That way the perimeter of the frame would have been taller than my pegs allowing me to put plexiglass over it without issue. As it is, the side rails (the 1”x3”s) are shorter then the pegs so I can’t cover it.

    As for the SIZES, these plans essentially call to create a “frame” for the pegboard and MDF. Since the pegboard and MDF are both (once you cut the MDF) 24”x48”, and the 1×2” boards are ¾”x1 ¾” in actuality, you need two pieces that are 48”, (for the Left and the Right sides) one that is 24” (for the bottom piece between the Left and the right sides), and three that are 25 ½” (for the back support pieces to reach edge to edge underneath).

    Paint sticks: H.D. had two types: the smaller ~12” fairly thin ones, and some thicker 16” ones. I went with the 16” ones and grabbed 4. I’m glad I did since 1) the top end is tapered for the “handle” so it is unusuable, and there is orange writing all over the sticks making that portion of the sticks useless. The bottom 6-8”,though, has no writing, so if you get enough, you’ll be fine. I needed 8 slats for the bottom, so the 4 I grabbed were perfect—I got 2 out of each stick.

    Dowels: ¼” dowels fit best in the pegboard holes. In the end I needed 165 pegs at 1.75” each, which worked out to 24LF. I saw one suggestion that said OAK worked better, so I bought OAK, and used one regular one I had lying around. I will say that the oak ended up being better overall, and when I had to hammer them in, the oak dowels did not deform where the non-oak ones did.

    Sandpaper: I did not have a fancy “Rockwell Bladerunner”…just a saw and a miter box. That said, it took forever to cut 165 1 3/4” dowels (which sadly were NOT all the exact same..) and then I had to hand sand each side to sand down the rough edges. Very laborious…

    Finishing nails: I thought I’d save $1 (…) and use some brads I have instead of buying ½” finishing naile, but I found the MDF was surprisingly too dense to nail through with such narrow nails and bent a ton of them before breaking down and buying finishing nails. Don’t make that mistake,too!

    Construction:

    The directions 100Things2Do give are very good. Just follow them. Here’s some tips, though:

    I followed the pegboard pattern suggested: One peg every other hole horizontally and one row every 3 rows. That worked out well. HOWEVER, for the rows there there was a peg ONE hole away from the frame, I found that my ping pong ball (I used Ping Pong balls because they bounce around a lot and sound really cool then they’re plinking down the board!) would sometimes get stuck there, so I had to add another dowel at those points above that “gap” to prevent that from happening—see my picture)

    The dowels were a TIGHT fit. I ended up putting a drop of glue in the holes where I was putting them and then putting a bit of glue around the perimeter of the base where it was going in. I tried to “push and turn” them into place, but it was a really tight fit. I ended up hammering them into place. The good thing is when you hit the dowel and it “broke through” the narrowed white side (see discussion above), you could feel it. Then if you really watched, you could see where the dowel has now “pushed” the MDF board back causing a gap between the MDF backboard and the pegboard, which is not what you want. A gentle tap right NEXT to the dowel you just whacked will cause the MDF to push the dowel back up and bring the MDF and pegboard back together. No biggie, but you need you need to watch for this. Also, I used some leftover 1×3” pieces to put underneath the board right under the row I was inserting to help give more support to the MDF while I was hammering. I think that helped a lot.

    Lettering and Numbering: I will just note here that pegboard is porous. When I used some of my kid’s paint for the title and the numbers, the pegboard soaked it up like a thirsty cactus. I had to put like 3 coats on it, especially for the Yellow color. The instructions call for vinyl adhesive lettering, but I was too lazy to go get some so just grabbed some paint and went at it. It looks fine to me and the kids don’t care…

    Plexiglass: As stated before, since the dowels once installed are all higher than the 1×3” edge, I cannot simply put a piece of plexiglass over it without building up the sides. I may at some point, but right now it’s not a big deal.

    Plinko Pieces: The direction suggest Checkers, quarters, or washers. Personally, I like how ping pong balls work and sound! I did try some checkers but wasn’t happy with how that worked. The only problem with ping pong balls is the sometimes “bounce out” and are wider in diameter than the pegs installed, so If I do put plexiglass over it eventually, I’ll have to build up the frame even more to accommodate. Also, at the bottom when the come to rest, since the 1”x3” (again) is so short, they fall off the bottom sometimes. Not a big deal, but another reason to use 1”x3”.

    I hope this does not deter anyone from doing this! I took probably 4 hours and I did enjoy it and the kids love it. I posted this to thank 100Things2Do for the idea and to hopefully help anyone else who wants to do it to succeed. Enjoy!!!!

    • Shelly @ 100Things2Do.ca September 13, 2017 at 12:54 pm - Reply

      Thanks for this – I’ve gotten some slack for a 1/2″ mis-measurement in my post (which has been fixed) – but there are fluctuations in wood depths etc that can account for my measurements being slightly different than someone else’s. I really appreciate you taking the time to help anyone tackling this project.

  16. Benjamin September 9, 2017 at 10:41 am - Reply

    24″ not 23.5″ It’s 9/9/2017 and your directions have not been updated.

  17. carolyn October 18, 2017 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    I am making a Plinko board and I have 9 cm across plexiglass disks. How far apart do I need my nails/dowelling so the disk will flow down the board?

    • Shelly @ 100Things2Do.ca November 10, 2017 at 7:23 pm - Reply

      I’d guesstimate 10cm – the disks need to fit through easily in order to “plink” down the board – but stagger your dowels so that you don’t have a straight runway.

  18. sdfg April 8, 2018 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    thq

  19. cash June 18, 2018 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Approx how much did this cost in supplies?

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