An outdoor game that you can make yourself for under $10? That’s Mölkky! From the moment I learned about this game I’ve been excited to check it out. Even a sloppy, semi-capable carpenter like myself can chop up pieces of wood and number them. This is a game that almost anybody can make, and for a really great price.
First off… what is Mölkky?? I like to refer to Mölkky as “Yard Bowling.” Basically, Mölkky consists of tossing a short piece of wood ( the Mölkky ) toward 12 numbered pins ( the Skittles ). If you knock down one Skittle, you get as many points as the number on the pin. If you knock down several of the Skittles, you get 1 point per fallen Skittle. Games are played to exactly 50 points. Check here for more Rules and Building Info.
How to Make a Mölkky Game
- First off, you’ll need to find wood. Mölkky is most commonly played with round, 2.5″ dimeter wood pieces. Good luck finding anything that size. After searching far and wide, I ended up finding 3″ beams intended as fence posts. For $5.90, the price was right.
- The fence post I purchased was pretty raw and rough. I went over it with some really high grit sand paper to knock down the bigger sliver pieces. This took a little time, but made the finished pieces much higher quality. I used a palm sander, but a belt sander would have sped up the process.
- Once you’re sanded, it’s time to chop your pieces. The common size for a Skittle is 6″ tall ( to the high point ). Since I used a wider piece of wood to begin with, I ended up making my Skittles taller. I cut a 12″ piece from my fence post, then cut that in half at a 45 degree angle. That gave me pieces that are roughly 7.25″ tall ( 4.5″ short side ). Pick a size and go with it! You could even mix it up and have the pieces be all sorts of sizes. The tossing stick ( Mölkky ) I cut to 9″. This left me with about a foot of leftover fence post. You could make an extra tossing stick with it – which would be kind of nice to have, really. ( maybe even have 2 sizes )
- Next I took my cut pieces and prettied them up a bit. This wasn’t the best wood in the world, and most pieces have a split on them someplace, including the throwing stick. Since you handle the Mölkky a lot, I puttied the cracked spot with some water based wood putty. No promises that will stay in there forever, but the big crack would have bothered me.
- For the Skittles, I wanted to soften the edges a little. I quickly hit all cut edges and the number face with 120 grit sandpaper. This dulls the edges, and makes the number face a little smoother for the numbers you’ll be adding.
- Time to add the numbers. I gave everything a quick wipe down to remove the dust from sanding. Next, I drew numbers on the Skittles with a pencil. You could skip that part, but it cuts down any marker mistakes… I used a Sharpee for drawing the numbers. I wider marker would have worked better, but I went with what was handy.
- We’re sanded, cut, sanded, and numbered. Next up is finishing the pieces. I used some old polyurethane floor finish I had around. Use whatever you want. Paint, stain, poly, or even leave them raw. I ended up putting on about 3 coats before I was happy with the finish. This rough wood took a few coats to get as smooth as I wanted. I hit it with 220 sandpaper between the 2nd and 3rd coat to knock down any raised edges.
That’s it! This game is REALLY easy to make. All it took was a $6 piece of fencing, sandpaper, a marker, and some finish. If you’ve got a saw around the house, you can make this game!
I mentioned earlier that I used 3″ wood instead of the standard 2.5″. Now that I’ve played the game, I think that’s the only way to go. The 3″ pieces can be hard to stand on grass – so 2.5″ would have been even harder. Also, the added size makes for bigger targets. To me that’s more fun!
If you can’t find any 3″ fence beam like I did, you can still use several things to make a Mölkky game. There are several types of landscaping timber that would be okay, you could rip down 4×4’s to work, or you could even use pieces of PVC pipe. I read about one guy who loves to play that way. Be creative. Mölkky is cheap to make and fun to play. Well worth checking out.
Mölkky Game Links: