DIY

DIY Giant Connect 4 Yard Game

about-zoe-pine-and-poplar-diy

Hi, I'm Zoe

My mission is to teach you to confidently build magazine-worthy DIYs. I used to be terrified of power tools, which is why I'm a firm believer that ANYONE can DIY.

Search the Blog

Join Thousands of Others Getting Weekly DIY Tips and Tutorials

by
March 23, 2023
Zoe Hunt

This post is sponsored by Cabot. All opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. 

Whenever we get together with friends and family, we love to play games. Whether it’s a quick game of tic tac toe or a couple of rounds of cornhole, games are a true staple at our household. 

DIY giant connect 4 yard game standing in green grass

So when we heard that Cabot 2023 Trend of the Year was outdoor gathering spaces, we knew we had to celebrate by bringing you a new game plan. What’s more fun than a giant DIY Connect 4 yard game?! 

Alright, let’s start DIYing! 

Recommended Tools: 

  • Miter Saw 
  • Circular Saw 
  • Drill 
  • Kreg Jig 
  • Brad Nailer 

What You’ll Need:

Cut List:

For What?Wood TypeQuantitySize (inches)
Main Board¼” plywood246.5 x 36.25
Chip Release¼” plywood146.25 x 2.5
Chip Release Supports1×2246.5
Sides1×3246
Feet1×3226.5
Leg Support Box1×642.25
Leg Support Box1×642.5

How to Make a Giant Connect 4 

New to DIY? Download our free 5 Steps to Getting Start with DIY guide!

STEP 1: MAKE THE BASE FOR THE LEGS

One thing that’s really neat about this DIY Connect 4 is that the leg base is removable to make for easier storage. We’ll start by making a small box using a 1×6.

The inside of the box should be large enough for the side 1x3s to slide in and out. You don’t want them to be too tight where it requires strength to insert the 1×3 sides into the box, but you also don’t want it to be too large where the boards are swaying all over the place. Take extra care during this step to get a good fit. 

Assemble the box using glue and 1.25” nails. The larger pieces will be placed in between the smaller pieces. 

creating box using glue and nails

Once the box is made, secure to the center of the feet (11.25” from either side) using glue and 1.25″ nails. 

nailing 1x3 to box

STEP 2: CUT THE MAIN BOARDS 

Cut your plywood for the two main boards. Stack them on top of one another and mark lines at the following measurements: 

  • From the bottom: 3”, 8 7/8”, 14.75”, 20 5/8”, 26.5”, 32 3/8” 
  • From the side: 3 ⅞”, 10.5”, 17”, 23 9/16”, 30 1/16”, 36 ⅝”, 43 3/1
plywood marked with chalk to show where to drill

Using a 5” hole saw, you’ll drill through the wood where your lines intersect. 

Before drilling, clamp your two pieces of ¼” plywood together so that they are lined up on both sides. We’ll drill through both pieces at the same time. Then place a few pieces of scrap wood underneath your plywood to protect the drill bit from cutting through your workbench and to help reduce tearout. 

cutting holes in plywood with 5" hole saw and corded drill

As you’re cutting the holes, be careful. When working with these large hole saws, if you accidentally tilt one way or another or apply too much pressure, the hole saw can catch and jerk your arms around. 

It will also require a LOT of power to cut so many holes. You’ll likely only be able to cut about ½ the holes in one sitting. Our drills were eating through batteries when making these cuts, so we decided to invest in a corded drill after cutting about half of the holes. 

The corded drill also has a handle which helped when the hole saw would catch. Even with the corded drill though, we could only make about ½ of the cuts before needing to let the drill cool down for a bit. I’d recommend working on this step and the next step across a few days or a week.

STEP 3: CUT OUT THE CHIPS 

Before cutting out the chips, we first cut through a scrap piece of ¾” plywood with the hole saw to act as a guide. We don’t want the chips to have a hole poked in the center, so once we made the guide, we grabbed an allen wrench and removed the center drill bit. 

using 6" hole saw to cut 1/4" plywood

We placed a few scrap 2x6s underneath the plywood to minimize the tearout on the other side of the chips. We clamped the guide board to the plywood before we cut each hole. 

As you’re cutting the chips, the same warnings apply as we mentioned above. 

STEP 4: PREP CHIP RELEASE PIECES 

You can decide whether or not to do this step before or after assembling the main structure. We’re putting it here so that you can stain all the pieces at once, but it’s always more accurate to make cuts as you go throughout your project rather than all upfront. 

Using the ¾” settings, drill (2) pocket holes on either end of the chip release support 1x2s. 

Cut the chip release from the ¼” plywood and then glue a ½” dowels to the top of the plywood. The dowel will prevent the chip release from sliding all the way through the slot. 

Want to DIY buy don\'t know where to start? Click here to grab your free guide!

STEP 5: SAND 

Even though we placed the scrap wood underneath our plywood when cutting, there was still some tearout that we need to sand off. We sanded all of our pieces with 120 grit sandpaper. 

For the chips, we found it easiest to sand the front/back of the pieces with an electric sander and then go back with a hand sander to sand the sides. 

before and after sanding the game chips

We didn’t spend too much time sanding the cutouts on the main board pieces, but hindsight is 20/20. I wish we would have spent more time here. It would’ve made staining the inside of the cutouts faster and easier and would’ve required fewer touch-ups at the end. 

STEP 6: STAIN 

For the main structure, we’re using Cabot Solid Color Stain and Sealer in Newburyport Blue

We applied this stain with a Purdy XL brush. You simply brush it on and wait for it to dry. No need to wipe after applying. It’s very thick, so it feels almost like paint when you’re applying it. 

staining connect 4 board with Cabot solid stain and sealer in Newburyport Blue

We used Cabot Semi-Transparent Stain and Sealer in Newburyport Blue for 21 of the chips, and Cabot Semi-Solid Stain and Sealer in Seacoast Gray for the other half of the chips. 

For both of the chip colors, we used a Purdy White Sprig brush. Why the different brush? Both the semi-transparent and semi-solid stains by Cabot are deep penetrating linseed oil-based stains. When using oil-based finishes, natural bristle brushes work best!

To apply, just brush it evenly on the surface and allow it to penetrate into the surface of the wood. 

staining connect 4 chips with Cabot semi-transparent stain and sealer

With this type of project where there are moving pieces and chips hitting up against one another, there’s always a chance that your finish will take a beating over time. Be sure to reserve some of your leftover stain for potential future touch-ups! 

close up of Cabot stain colors after drying: Solid stain in Newburyport Blue, semi-transparent stain in Newburyport Blue, and semi-solid stain in Seacoast Gray
Close up of stain colors after drying

STEP 7: ASSEMBLE THE MAIN STRUCTURE 

Place one of your ¼” main boards on your workbench and then grab all of your ⅜” dowels and a handful of chips.

Place (2) ⅜” dowels on either side of your main structure, making sure to line them up at the top. 

Then place your chips down on the board to act as spacers and guide where to put the rest of the dowels. You’ll want there to be a small gap between the chips and the dowels so that the chips can slide during game play. 

laying out dividers on DIY connect 4 game using chips as spacers

Once you’re happy with the spacing, glue the dowels in place. Then add more glue to the top of the dowels and line the second piece of ¼” plywood on top, making sure to line up the sides. 

Since we cut both of the pieces of plywood at the same time, there will be one way to position the second piece so that all the holes line up. Make sure to think through that before placing the second piece. 

Once in place, secure with ⅝” nails. After adding a 2-3 nails to each dowel on one side, flip over the entire structure and add 2-3 nails to each dowel through the other side. Make sure to avoid the nails that are already in place!

nailing together giant connect 4 board

STEP 8: ATTACH THE SIDES

Place your main structure on some 1x boards to act as a spacer. The 1x boards will raise the board up .75” so that the main structure is close to centered on the sides. It won’t be exact, but it’ll be close! 

nailing legs of DIY connect 4 found to main structure

Line the top of the sides up with the top of main board and than attach with glue and 1.25″ nails. 

STEP 9: INSTALL THE CHIP RELEASE SUPPORTS 

Place the chip release up against the bottom of the Connect 4 board to act as a spacer. 

Then position the chip release support boards just underneath the chip release. You want to leave enough room to easily pull the chip release in and out, but not so much that there’s a big gap between the bottom of the board and the chip release. Though we just eyeballed it, I’d recommend a 1/16 – ⅛” gap. 

Install with 1.25” exterior Kreg screws. 

adding screws to pocket holes to hold up chip release feature

Once everything is installed, insert the sides into the leg base and check to see if there are any touch-ups on the inside of the cut-outs on the main board. I found it much easier to touch-up the cutouts with a  small paintbrush once the board was standing up rather than when it was laying down. 

make this giant connect 4 text pointing to image of DIY connect 4 game standing in yard

There you have it! Now you know how to build your very own giant Connect 4 yard game! It’s sure to be a talking point and fun activity for your next gathering with friends and family. 

For more outdoor gathering space ideas, check out the Cabot 2023 Trend of the Year

giant connect 4 game laying flat on ground showing easy storage
DIY giant Connect 4 that lays flat for storage
Add a comment
+ show Comments
- Hide Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the List

Our mission: give you the resources to build magazine-worthy furniture.

First up? Sharing the 5 key steps to getting started with DIY.

 Get  the best DIY tutorials, project inspiration, and  DIY tips sent straight to your inbox weekly.

Get My Getting Started with DIY Guide as a free gift!

Find your next project

Premium, printable plans

3D renderings, detailed shopping lists, cut lists displayed two ways (both in chart form and visually), AND a bonus SketchUp file. Printable plans don't get better than this.

See the plans
diy with confidence

Our Courses

Whether you're just getting started or you're a seasoned DIYer who's ready to unlock the full potential of DIY, our courses are here to help.

SEE OUR COURSES

Instagram

Join us for project tutorials, behind-the-scenes, and quick DIY tips and tricks.

@pineandpoplardiy