DIY: Kerplunk

Did you ever play Kerplunk as a kid? You know, this game? 

Cassidy used to have this game and LOVED it. Hours of trying to see how intricately you could place the sticks, and how long you could last. Merek on the other hand, had only ever seen Ellen’s version of it that she does on her show. Maybe one day we will make Ellen’s version of it to play, but for now we thought—why not make Kerplunk into a backyard game?!

We saw the idea on Pinterest a couple of times in the past, and with the current quarantine state of things, we found ourselves with ample time on our hands to create DIY games. I’ll bet you are in the same situation! So here’s a game that people of any age will love!

Supplies needed:

Supplies for DIY Kerplunk
  • 4×1 wood – $3.00 (purchased at Lowe’s)
  • 4x4x8 wood – $8.00 (Lowe’s)
  • Spray paint – $3.00+ (Lowe’s)
  • Chicken Wire – $14.99 (Lowe’s)
  • Wooden Dowels (20-30) – around $25.00 (Lowe’s)
  • Ball Pit Balls – $19.99
  • Small kiddie swimming pool (optional)

Total Cost: around $75

Time to Create: 3 hours+

The steps to create the giant Kerplunk didn’t seem too hard up front, but we quickly realized that the tools make a very big difference in how easy and quick this project will be. To clarify, most of the time we were working with a hand saw, and screwdriver. At one point we got smart and used our neighbor’s power saw in order to cut the 4x4x8 (but only after one of us got the arm workout of a lifetime using the hand saw). 

  1. Unroll and cut the chicken wire into the desired size. It ended up being about 1.5 ft in diameter. Once the wire is cut to the desired diameter, you will need some pliers to wire the ends together. Merek worked at a fencing company for a couple summers, so he used these skills to wrap the wire together. 
  1. Cut the 4×1 wood into four equal pieces about 1 ft long. Ultimately, this depends on how big you made the diameter of the chicken wire. We cut 45° angles on each end to piece the top of the base together. See the picture below.
  1. We chose to use wood glue, and screw these initial four base pieces together to make sure that they are in place for good. 
  1. Cut the 4x4x8 into 1 foot increments. (HIGHLY SUGGEST USING A POWER SAW). These will act as the legs for the base of your Kerplunk game. 
  1. Nail the “top” of the base (piece assembled in steps 2 & 3) to the legs. We used a dremel to initially mark the places the screws would be inserted, and then hand screwed them in from there. You can fill in gaps with wood glue again as well if you choose. We found that 2 long wood screws per leg seemed to hold the legs on, though on some we added a third just in case.
  1. Once the base is complete, spray paint the wooden base whatever color you would like. We actually made two different sets (one for my parent’s). For one, we had some yellow spray paint leftover from our last DIY project, Candy Cone Ring Toss. We also chose yellow because we felt the dire need of summoning all the spring colors and springiness that we could (warmth please come faster!). For the second, we used a vibrant teal color. Again to summon the warmth 😉 We suggest spray painting the wood and coming back to complete the project once they are all dry. We left our pieces to dry overnight so that we could be sure it was completely dry. 
  1. In addition, we spray painted the wooden dowels all different, fun colors for a nice, bright look. These will need to be rotated and painted a couple times to ensure that all sides are painted. 
  1. Once the base is dry, it is time for the final assembly—essentially just adding on the Chicken wire/wire caging. With the size of base described in step #1, the proper amount of chicken wire came out to be about 3.5 feet long (ish). You can either zip tie the wire to the base, or just set it on top. We just set ours there, and it didn’t move much as we played, so we decided to forgo the zip ties for easier storage as well.
  2. Once the base has been attached, the next step is game play! We will be posting a review of the game early next week that goes through game play and how we liked the game overall! Stay tuned. 

Some photos of our finished product are shown below. Send us some pics of what your finished game looks like as well!

P.S. The kiddie pool is optional for if you were wanting a place to catch the balls as they fell during game play. We actually found that it was more in the way than anything, so we chose to play without it.