I make looooads of different things. I’ll try pretty much any craft I can get my hands on, and love exploring new techniques. However, I can fit pretty much all of my makes into one of two boxes. They’re either decorative (like this and this), or functional (like this or this). But you know where the real magic is? Something that ticks both boxes at the same time! That’s the ultimate craft project. And this DIY wooden Sudoku game does just that.
As well as being a fully working Sudoku game that you can play again and again, this project also doubles as a pretty cool ornament. No need to tidy up after yourself here! When you’ve finished playing, just pop the DIY wooden Sudoku game on your coffee table. And voila! Instant touch of mid-century modern styling. 😎
I used a piece of plywood for the Sudoku board, and some pre-cut dowels for the “numbers” (except I used colour to differentiate them, instead of digits). I managed to get this project finished over a couple of sunny afternoons in the garden, whilst sipping on an iced matcha latte. Livin’ the dream!
DIY Wooden Sudoku Game
Tools and supplies you’ll need
- 20cm by 20cm plywood
- 81 wooden dowels, 1cm width
- An assortment of coloured paints
- Wood stain or varnish
- 1 sheet of black craft foam
- Jigsaw or hand saw
- Block plane (optional)
- High-grit and fine-grit sandpaper
- Stanley knife
- Power drill
- 1cm wide drill bit
- Double sided sticky tape
What to do
- Start off by cutting your plywood to size. It needs to measure 20cm x 20cm. Use a jigsaw or hand saw to do this, trying to make it as neat as possible. Alternatively, ask in your local hardware shop to see if they can cut it for you.
- The next few steps will use the below diagram as a guide. Use a ruler and pencil to draw a grid across one side of your plywood (follow the blue lines in the diagram). First, you’ll need to draw 9 horizontal lines starting 2cm from one edge, then spaced 2cm apart. Then draw an identical set of 9 vertical lines. This will create a grid of 9×9 lines – and each of the points at which the lines cross will be a hole for your DIY wooden Sudoku game.
- Drill holes at every point at which the lines cross. To make the holes as neat as possible, I’d recommend covering both sides of the plywood in masking tape (to prevent splintering). I would also recommend starting off with a small drill bit to make pilot holes, before swapping for a 1cm drill bit to make the final holes.
- With all of the holes drilled, it’s time to separate the DIY Sudoku game grid into the nine sections. Firstly, flip the board over so the pencil lines you made in step 2 are on the back (this will be the bottom of the game). Then use a Stanley knife and ruler to score two horizontal lines and two vertical lines across the clean face of the board (follow the yellow lines in the diagram). These lines will need to separate the holes into 9 groups of 9 holes, like the classic Sudoku board design.
- Now it’s time to neaten it up. Firstly, use a block plane to smooth any wobbles on the side edges of the wood (which you cut in step 1). Simply run the plane across each of the four edges in turn, until they are all square.
- Next, smooth the four edges and top face of the game with sandpaper. Start with a high-grit paper, then drop to a fine-grit. Make sure you give each of the drill holes a quick smooth too, as they are prone to splinters. Once you’ve finished sanding, give it a wipe to remove the sawdust.
- Use a clean cloth to apply a layer of wood stain or varnish to the entire Sudoku board. This will deepen the colour and emphasise the wood grain, making it look so much more professional.
- When the stain or varnish is dry, you can add a piece of craft foam to the bottom of the Sudoku board. This will add a bit of friction, so it doesn’t slide all over your table when you play.
- Finally, all that’s left to do is paint the dowels to use as your game pieces. You’ll need 9 paint colours, and should paint 9 dowels in each colour (so a total of 81 pieces). However, I’d defo recommend painting a spare of each colour in case they go missing! To paint the dowels, simply dip them into a tin of paint, or apply with a brush. Wipe off the excess and place into a hole of your Sudoku board to dry.
When you’re ready to play your DIY wooden Sudoku game, just have a quick search online for a starter puzzle. (This site is a good resource). Replace the numbers with colours, and set up your board to match. Easy! This would make such a cool handmade gift for someone who likes puzzles.
If you like this project, be sure to check out my wooden DIY ring toss game and my DIY patchwork fabric game board. Can you tell I’m loving making handmade games lately?! 🙂 If there are any other games you’d like me to try and make, just let me know in the comments!
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