How to Make Giant Life Size Jenga Step-by-Step
Source: Cyril Fluk
I learned of life size Jenga, also known as giant Jenga, while on a job in the Turks and Caicos Islands at a local watering hole one night. My co-worker and I played this game and we were both hooked.
I decided to make my own and found it very easy so I decided to create this article to pass it on to others. I really think you and your friends will enjoy it.
Jenga is known as a boring table game and not many people know about the life sized version. That’s too bad for them because this giant outdoor game is one of my favorites. It can be played as a drinking game, as an adult version or just with the family. It makes for a fun Friday night.
Here you’ll find how to make a giant Jenga game for just the cost of the wood, learn how to play it, and even get some tips on how to dominate the game.
If you have questions on your project feel free to ask in the comment area below. Share how it turned out when you get done. Here are some pre-made sets on Amazon if you don’t want to build your own.
Supplies and Materials Needed To Make Giant Jenga
Here we go, let’s make a giant Jenga game set!
What you’ll need:
Before we can build it, we will need to make a trip to the local hardware store to pick up a couple things. You might already have the tools. If not, this project can turn into an expensive one.
- 7-8′ 2″x3″ or 2″x4″ wood used for framing studs (you might want to get 8-8′ pieces of wood in case you run into warped boards).
- Electric hand sander with 220 grit paper
- Circular or band saw
- Carpenter’s edge
Okay, now that we have everything we need, let’s get to it!
- Cut the wood into 12″ lengths. You should have 54 identical pieces as a result.
- Use the level and a flat surface, along with the carpenter’s edge to make sure the pieces are relatively straight and sit level on a flat surface.
- Discard any that are bowed or don’t sit level and replace with a better piece.
- Sand down the ends of each of the wood pieces, making them slightly rounded at each corner. This will make them easier to grasp during a game.
- Optionally, you can also round the longer edges of each piece of wood.
- Sand down all the flat surfaces of each piece of wood as well, to allow players to pull pieces without unexpectedly grabbing others due to splinters.
- Check the level of the entire tower by setting up the Jenga game.
- Set three pieces of wood against each other on their longest sides.
- Place three more pieces on top, perpendicular to the original three. Use a level and check for significant deviations from a flat surface that can cause toppling.
- Keep in mind that you will probably encounter some deviation from level, but a small amount won’t affect the game adversely.
- Create some supplemental Jenga pieces to replace any that become damaged or warped.
- Using pressure treated lumber can decrease infiltration by the elements and the set can then be stored outside in a shed or garage.
- Make several sets to bring to parties or give as gifts or to use for Jenga tournaments for larger group outings.
Make the game stand out! Take some of the boards and a marker and write “dares” or some kind of funny task on them. If you are frisky you can even write some adult tasks!
A commenter named Christopher suggested using a coat of minwax finishing paste on your finished boards. I have not personally used it before but he said it helps a lot with getting the boards to slide easier.
Painting or Staining the Set
You also have the option of staining the boards to give them some color. Although it isn’t a traditional Jenga style or recommended, you can stain or paint the wood pieces. If you do, make sure to use a thin coat and something that will not get sticky.
It might also be a good idea to sand it down afterwards. Again, this is just an option and we do not suggest it, but some like to have some color. We would hate for you to put all this work into making your giant Jenga set and have it not work smoothly. You can use the minwax finishing paste over your paint or stain, which I would think would help out.
There you go—you have a giant life size Jenga set! Now call some friends over, grab some drinks and have some fun. I assure you that your friends will think you are a genius for thinking of this great outdoor game.
How to Play
So you now you have life size Jenga set and need to know how to play. You are in luck! We are going to go over the rules I was taught in the Turks. These rules were accepted by the regulars that play every Wednesday night.
- To set up the giant Jenga stack, you will use the box you made or stack the boards three across left/right then three up/down until all the blocks are stacked.
- The object of the game is to not be the person who knocks the tower over. You will take turns until the tower falls.
- The game starts with all the boards in place so the jenga set looks like a building. The group determines the order in which people go. You can go by age or height, draw numbers, or just choose a random order.
- You take turns in order and each person pulls one board from the tower at a time. At no time can players pick a board from the top two layers. They can only pick three deep from the top.
- You can only use one hand and you cannot hold the stack with anything while pulling boards. One idea is to require each person playing to keep a drink in one hand at all times.
- This not only helps them keep the rules but keeps the adult beverages flowing. If the player needs to steady the stack from falling or move the top around to steady it, they need to use the one hand allowed in play.
- Once the player gets one board out, they place it on top of the stack in any position crossing the top boards ( ll — ) and keeping the pattern as set up. If you marked some the boards with things like “take a shot,” put $1 in the donation jar, or any other tasks, that person would need to do it before moving forward.
- Once the player puts the board on top, the next person will go doing the same as above. The cycle keeps going until one unlucky person knocks the set down. That person loses and everyone else get to laugh at them.
This is a very fun game that can be played with as many people as you like. People might first look at you like you’re crazy but when you tell them about it, I bet you by the end of the first game, all the guests will be having a blast.
This can be played as a wine party game, a backyard get together, or even a tailgating or camping game.
I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Here is a funny video I found of the cast from The Big Bang Theory playing the game. Funny show and good video.