Pro Tip: Make Your Own Giant Scrabble-alike

So I went to a movie theater a few years ago, and they had this GIANT scrabble game on the wall. And I was, of course, obsessed with the idea of somehow getting a giant scrabble-alike in our library. Partly because… I mean its COOL. And partly because any “giant” version of any game is always popular with teenagers. Our jumbo cards, connect 4, jenga, and chess games are testament to that fact.

So I looked into it to see if they were available for sale anywhere, but of course they are absurdly expensive.

So I, of course, started plotting on if/how I could possibly make it myself. I’m a big DIYer, and I love trying to problem-solve to create things in general but especially for the library. And I did indeed come up with a pretty easy and inexpensive method for creating my own Giant Scrabble-alike. I did it with wood letters and magnets, but I think you could probably even do it with just sturdy cardstock letters and velcro, if you wanted!

Here’s How I Did Mine.

The Pieces You Need To Create

  • The board
    • I made mine using regular printer paper to create a poster which I then laminated and affixed to a magnetic white board on wheels.
      • If you don’t have a magnetic wall of some kind you can do velcro instead, but if you use velcro instead of magnets then DONT laminate the board, because sticky-back velcro does not affix to laminated materials. I found out the hard way lol
    • I found an open source image of a scrabble-like board online, blew it up in Canva, then used to enlarge it to the size I wanted the game board to be. Then I printed it on a regular printer, taped it together, and laminated it.
    • You may have some other method for making large posters, or maybe you have someone in your life who is super skilled at crafting things who might even make you something even better, but the simple poster has worked well for us and was free to make.
  • The letter tiles
    • Once you have your board made you can measure the squares on the board to see what size your letter tiles need to be.
    • I made these out of wood. I bought wood that I cut into individual tiles using my table saw. If you aren’t comfortable with sawing things you could probably ask your Tech Ed (woodshop) teacher to do it for you. Its super simple once you know what size you need the tiles to be.
      • I think my titles are about 2inches by 3 inches. I bought a few 10 foot long boards of super thin wood that was 2inches wide and then just cut the 10feet planks down to 100 3in long tiles, thereby creating 100 letter tiles that were each 2in wide by 2 inches long, which was the size they needed to be to fit the squares on the poster-sized game board I made.
    • You can use something other than wood for your tiles, I believe. A strong cardstock or posterboard might work. The letters likely won’t stand the test of time depending on how gentle your students are with them, but they’d be cheap and easy to replace, so it might not be a big deal and might be more manageable for you depending on your comfort using things like wood and saws and such.
    • Its been several years since i made this game and I no longer remember how much the wood cost but I don’t remember it being particularly expensive. I think the whole game (magnets and wood) only cost me $20-$40 dollars, I just cant remember exactly how much)
  • The “Letter Caddies” for Each Player
    • In the game, each player usually gets that letter plastic letter caddy to keep their seven letter tiles on, so you need to create something like that. I chose to use leftover wood I had from creating the letter tiles. So I just cut 4 longer planks that would each have enough room for 7 letter tiles to fit. Since my letter tiles were each 2 inches wide, that meant my “letter caddies” had to be 2inx7=at least 14 inches long.
    • **MAKE SURE YOU PUT THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE MAGNETS FACEUP ON THE CADDIES! You need your letter tiles to attach to the caddy, so you cant have the same magnetic side “face up” on the caddies as you have “face up” on the letters.
  • Something to affix the letters to the board
    • I had a magnetic whiteboard I planned to put my game board on, so I wanted to make my letters magnetic. If you go the magnetic route make sure you buy magnets strong enough to cling THROUGH your board to the magnetic background the board is affixed to. Since I laminated my game board I needed fairly strong magnets as the super cheap/small/weak ones weren’t strong enough to reach through the laminated poster to the whiteboard behind it. I bought a few magnets to test before I bought the full 100 I’d need for each letter tile.
    • Unfortunately its been several years since I made my game and I don’t recall which strength magnets I bought. I’m sorry!
    • I think this could be done with velcro instead, but if you use velcro (which was my first intention) make sure you don’t laminate your game board because the sticky-back velcro doesn’t stick to laminated material.
    • Don’t forget to add your receiving magnets or velcro to your “letter caddies” too. You’ll need 7 receivers on the caddies since in the came players hold 7 letters at a time.

If you end up making a giant scrabble-alike I hope you’ll share the pictures and tag me on Twitter (@kelseybogan) Instagram (@gvhslibrary) or TikTok (@gvhslibrary) as I’d love to see what you come up with!!

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