I have been seeing these jumbo outdoor dice all over the place this summer. They look so cute and so fun for outdoor parties. We really enjoy sitting on the porch and watching the kids play in the front yard on warm summer nights and these look like they would be perfect entertainment. Plus I really wanted to pick up a set to practice multiplication tables with my little girl.
So last week we were cleaning up the garage after building a little outdoor kitchen. There was a bunch of scrap lumber left and I was able to fish out (2) 15 inch 4x4s from the pile which provided more than enough to create these cute dice.
You can also just grab a 4×4 from your local home improvement store for around $10 and they will even cut it down for you for free, making this a super inexpensive project. If you want to buy these lawn dice at the store, I have seen them priced from $20-60.
If you would like to make your own outdoor lawn dice game, here is the super simple DIY:
A 4×4 is not actually 4 inches but rather 3.5 inches wide so you simply want to create a square by cutting the 4×4 into (6) 3.5 x 3.5″ pieces.
The wood will be pretty splintery so I used an electric sander to get it nice and smooth. I used the sander on the sides and then slightly rounded the corners so it would be uniform all the way around.
Next I painted the dice- I wanted a chippy white for my dice but any color would be perfect- plain stain or rainbow colors or blue and green for the Seahawks (ha!)- whatever you like.
I used an outdoor spray paint and did (2) light coats per side.
Once you paint your dice or stain it the color of your choice, you need to add the little dots. I had all sorts of ideas to get the dots on- using my Silhouette to cut a template out, using my circle hole punch to cut circles to use as a template…
But honestly I just wanted the simplest and quickest method and I spotted this little circle dabber thing in with my brushes and the size was perfect to just dab on the paint.
You will want to pull out a real dice or check for an image on Google of dice so the dots are in the right spot. I pulled out a dice and did the dots so all the numbers would be in the right place. I lined up all my dice and did them in an assembly line fashion. So dot all the 1 sides. Next flip and dot the 4 sides- let dry and continue until finished.
I am sure there are lots of super creative ways to get the dots exactly perfectly spaced on your dice. I decided perfect is overrated and done is a much better place so really I pretty much did my dots freehand.
I did use a ruler to kind of get them in the correct space and used a pencil to mark. I wanted my dice to look sort of vintage and well loved not shiny and new so it was OK with me to not have an absolutely perfect black dot. Once I finished adding all the dots, I went ahead and gently sanded each side to get an even more weathered look.
As a final step, I went ahead and went over the entire thing with a clear poly coat. This is not totally necessary but will protect your dice if they are out in the elements.
And boom! You are done!
Now that you have your lovely dice what to do with them?
Well friends you can play Yahtzee (instructions here), Cootie (instructions here– instead of assembling plastic cooties you will draw the cootie as you collect each piece. We draw with outdoor chalk) or play Farkle (instructions here). Personally I prefer Farkle just because it cracks my kids up to say the name. Pop the dice into a bucket and shoot them out on the lawn.
If you have kiddos in the 3rd grade range and are experiencing the pleasure of beating multiplication tables into their heads, these things are a perfect way to practice math this summer! I love making learning fun when I can because memorizing all those math facts last year was really hard for my poor girl. We can roll the dice and then she tells me quickly what that equals- so rolling a 5 and 6 would be 30. Rolling a 2 and 2 would be 2 x 2 = 4 and so on.
This has also been good practice for my little one that is just starting with addition and subtraction. Roll a 3 and a 4 and what does that equal?
To actually roll the dice, you can pop them in a tub or bucket of your choice. This makes a really cute and very simple homemade hostess gift too. Our neighbors that are wonderful people stopped by one night when we were playing these and commented how fun it looked. So I made a second set as a gift, popped them into a cute olive basket and added a tag that said “Laissez les bon temps rouler” – very cute and considering the lumber was scrap, the paint I already had- the grand total was $16 for the cute bucket.
White Spray Paint // Black Paint // Paint Stippler // Galvanized Bucket (mine was from a little boutique but these can be found all over antique stores and flea markets) // Letter Stamps // Clear Coat
And here are a few other projects you might enjoy:
I enjoy your blog and cute ideas, thanks!! Last week I made the peach ice cream and my family loved it….
Wishing you many more blessings!!
Yeah! So glad you liked that ice cream! We have some in the freezer right now and I was thinking of grilling peaches tonight and topping it with the ice cream 🙂
Mary Beth says
Thanks for posting! I have been wanting to get a set of these for our wedding reception in September (rustic wedding featuring lawn games as reception entertainment), but like you said they can be pretty pricy. I love the idea of using them for multiplication practice too! I’ll have to hang on to that idea for my son when he’s a little older.
Oh that is going to be amazing Mary Beth 🙂
Grover Cuomo says
After burning all the dots on my dice, I sealed them with a gel polyurethane. You could also use regular polyurethane. I just happened to have this on hand from a previous project. For a gel poly, I use a clean rag to apply.