For those of you who may not know what Plinko is, you obviously never spent time as a kid sick at home watching The Price Is Right from 10:00 to 11:00. It's the game where you drop a round or spherical object down a board, and it bounces its way towards a series of chutes at the bottom which label the prizes.
So as my school prepares for its Fall Carnival this year, of course I volunteered to build a Plinko board. Having done it before once or twice, I learned several things that helped make this the best Plinko board ever. The beauty of this is that it cost nothing. I did not spend a penny on it, since all of the pieces were from scrap, the paint was leftover spray paint that I have been looking for ways to get rid of, it only took about three hours, and the time spent with my kids was fantastic. So here we go.
|2) Offset the marks for the nails|
Cost: $0 (all materials were scrap materials on hand)
Time: about 3 hours from start to finish
Skill level: moderate
1) Decide how large the Plinko board will be. I found a scrap of plywood in the alley that was 33" x 48". I wanted it a little narrower, so I cut it down to 30" x 48".
2) Determine what type of object you will drop down it. Ping pong balls or plastic practice golf balls are my preferred spheres. Measure the width, and add enough additional space so the ball can fit through easily. This will be the spacing between the nails. For the practice golf pall, the ball is 1 3/4" wide, I added 3/4", so my nails are spaced 2 1/2" apart. Draw parallel lines down the board using this spacing. Then, start with the first line and draw marks through the line across using this same spacing.
|5) Drill each cross mark|
4) Laying a long straight edge down the board, copy the marks from the first line on every other line (third, fifth, etc.). Each of these cross marks will have a nail sticking out. Then copy the marks from the second line on every other line (fourth, sixth, etc.). You now have the placement of all of the nails. For a 30" x 48" board, I used more than 150 nails.
5) Using a drill bit smaller than the nails that you will use, drill a hole through the board on one of the cross marks. Drive a nail into that hole to ensure that the nail is snug. If the nail is not tight, use a smaller drill bit and test again. Proceed to drill a hole through each of the cross marks. Make sure to drill through the board.
|7) Begin nailing into the holes|
6) Once all of the holes have been drilled the back side will be quite splintery. Gently scrape all of the splintered wood off (I used a small steel bar for this). Lightly sand the board on both sides.
7) Either on sawhorses or on concrete, drive a nail into each of the holes, being careful not to drive the nail all the way into the board. They need to stick out a little farther than the diameter of your sphere. This is a great time to use a little helper to either hand you nails or practice their nailing skills. For anybody who is Type A and feels that the spacing all needs to be perfect, remember that this is a game of chance and the only necessity is that the ball fits between all of the nails.
|9) Ensure that balls cannot get stuck|
|10) Create chutes at the bottom.|
9) Have a small partner practice on the board and make sure that there are no areas where the ball gets stuck. For any of these areas, add extra nails to divert the balls away from the "danger spots." Additionally, look for areas to add places where the ball can land in the middle of the board for high value prizes by adding additional nails to capture the ball. The balls seldom land here because of the way they bounce through the board, hence the high value.
|12) Have fun!|
11) Paint the board. I had seven cans of leftover spray paint from various projects, so I sprayed a background of black. I then lightly sprayed the other colors on top to create some depth to the colors.
12) Have fun.
|11) Layered paint|
For anybody who builds one of these, I would love to have you post pictures and tell me about your experience building it and what you built it for.