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molkky-game-nameAn 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

  • making-Molkky-101First 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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:

Game Rules
Molkky Forum
Molkky Photo Gallery
Making Molkky Gallery
Game Building
Mölkky Information

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