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Make 3 simple-but-fun nail games

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

With some nails and plywood, make three different games and puzzles.



  • 3 pieces 4″ x 4″ x 3/4″ plywood
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Crosscut saw
  • Tape
  • Drill
  • Drill bit big enough to drill holes for the nails to fit snugly but slide in and out easily
  • About 40 3″ common nails
  • Sandpaper
  • Oil or stain sealer
  • Tape to mark the drill bit
  • Two different color paints

nailgames-1WHAT YOU’LL DO

• Cut 3 4″ x 4″ squares of plywood and sand.

• Measure, mark with pencil and drill holes 1/2″ deep as shown.

• Sand off pencil marks and seal with oil or stain.


nailgames-21. Follow the dimensions shown and drill 13 holes 1/2″ deep. Sand and seal with oil or stain. Place a nail in the center hole and put 12 nails in the remaining holes. Ask your friends if they can balance the 12 nails on the center nailhead. It’s fun to watch them try.

nailgames-32. Finally show them it can be done. Lay out the nails on a flat surface as shown.

nailgames-43. Carefully pick up the nails with your thumbs and index fingers.

nailgames-54. Balance the 12 nails on the center nail, and there you have the balancing nail trick.


nailgames-61. Follow the dimensions shown and drill 16 holes 1/2″ deep. Sand and seal with oil or stain. To play, start with all holes filled with nails except for one hole.

nailgames-72. Jump a nail one at a time until you have only one nail left.


nailgames-81. Follow the dimensions shown and drill 9 holes 1/2″ deep. Sand and seal with oil or stain.

nailgames-92. Follow the pencil lines and saw 4 grooves about 1/8″ deep.

nailgames-103. Paint 5 nailheads one color and 5 nailheads another color, and you’re ready to play tic-tac-toe.

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5 Comments on Make 3 simple-but-fun nail games

  1. Good camping game!

  2. EG Cub Scout // March 19, 2015 at 5:57 pm // Reply

    I want to make all of them I have the Jump the Nail Game

  3. this looks cool can not wait to make this

  4. sport's master // June 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm // Reply

    I like the consept but it dose not seem very safe for young children the nails are sharp i mean what if one if the chilrdren steped on it or if they stuck it in there mouth but i guess it is ok if you remember to put it away after

  5. little dude // March 8, 2014 at 8:53 am // Reply

    I like building stuf its fun

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