My memories of summers as a youngster at my grandparents’ cabin revolved around outdoor activities
with family and friends. Everyone enjoyed fishing
, swimming, canoeing, going on frog hunts, and making up games. I didn’t make up the Washer Toss game, but it’s great fun for the whole family. My daughter, her friends, and all of my friends and family will attest to that. We bring out a game set at all of our gatherings and usually play until it’s too dark to find the washers in the grass. Trust me, this is an easy project and an afternoon spent building it will be well worth it.
I’ve broken it down into four easy sections that can serve as a guide, but there are no rules here! If you find an easier way to do any of this, go for it! On the other hand, if you prefer to make your boxes out of mahogany with perfect hand-cut dovetail joints, well I suppose you could do that as well, but they’ll take a beating over time from flying metal washers. My guide takes a simple approach that will get you playing out in the yard as soon as possible. You won’t need many tools and all of the materials can be picked up at a local home center or hardware store. So, let’s get started!
DIY Washer Toss Game Set Instructions
Estimated time to complete: 2 hours, plus time for paint to dry
Woodshop safety: Always wear proper eye, hearing and breathing protection when working with power tools or hand tools, and always work on a stable surface.
Take the materials list with you to the store. The eight 2x4 pieces can be cut from two 6-foot boards. If you don’t have a saw back at the cabin, ask the staff at the store if they are able to cut them to size for you. The same goes for the plywood squares. If you don’t find the PVC coupler pieces, get a short section of 4-inch PVC pipe and cut it with a hacksaw into 3½-inch lengths. The carpet may be tricky, depending on how it is sold at your store. I was lucky enough to have some leftover adhesive backed carpet tiles from a previous project. Those work great if you find them. The adhesive tube will be found near the caulk in the store.
- four 16-inch 2x4s
- four 13-inch 2x4s
- two 16x16-inch ½-inch-plywood squares
- 100-150 grit sandpaper
- 16 3-inch wood screws
- 24 1¼-inch wood screws
- two 4-inch-diameter PVC coupler pieces (3½-inch length)
- two 13x13-inch squares indoor/outdoor carpet
- all-purpose adhesive in a tube
- one can spray spar urethane or spray paint
- two utility handles
- eight 2-inch-diameter metal washers
- tape measure
- saw (table saw, jigsaw, handsaw, whatever you have on hand)
- two 24-inch bar clamps (optional)
- power drill/driver and drill bits
- felt tip marker
- utility knife and/or scissors
Cut the 2x4s and plywood to size and sand them smooth. For each box, position four 2x4s (two 16-inch lengths and two 13-inch lengths) on a level surface with the narrow edge down and equal-sized boards at opposite sides to create a square. To hold this together, a couple of clamps should work.
If you don’t have actual clamps, your spouse or a friend can be your clamps here. Predrill two holes through the longer boards and into the shorter boards with a drill bit that’s slightly narrower than your 3-inch screws. Use your drill/driver to secure the wood together with those screws and repeat for each corner, position it in the box, and hold it steady until it is set.
Predrill holes and attach the plywood to the base with the 1¼-inch screws.
Take the boxes outside and spray two or three coats of spar urethane on them, following the instructions on the can.
If you’d prefer a splash of color, use spray paint. Bring your washers out, too, and paint them, four of one color and four of another color. Another option is to mark them with different designs in permanent marker. Have the kids come up with something creative.
Cut the carpet into two 13x13-inch squares. Flip them over and draw lines from corner to corner to help you find the center. Position the PVC coupler in the center (about 4¼ inches from each carpet edge) and trace the outside and inside edges.
Use a utility knife or sharp scissors to cut out the outer circle.
Then trim the cut out circle to the inner circle.
Place the carpet square in the box using all-purpose adhesive to secure it to the plywood if you aren’t using adhesive-backed carpet. Apply a bead of the adhesive to the bottom of the PVC coupler. Glue the cut out carpet circle inside. Attach utility handles to your boxes and carry them out to the yard!
How to Play the Washer Toss Game
Once, you’ve finished making your Washer Toss game set, the real fun begins! If you do a little searching on the Internet, you’ll find more ways to play the game than you can throw a washer at. I’ll outline my house rules, but the most important thing is to have fun playing the game. So with that in mind, change the “rules” in whatever way you’d like! Here are the “rules” of the game.
The game can be played with two players, but four players in teams of two is just more fun.
The boxes are placed in the yard with the cups 21 feet apart. Your teammate stands opposite you at the other box. The first player (Player A) stands next to the box and tosses their four washers (one at a time) to the opposite box followed by Player B.
Scoring takes place after all eight washers have been tossed. Only one team scores per round. One point is awarded for each washer inside the box, and three points for each washer inside the cup. If Player A lands two in the box (2 points) and Player B tosses one in the cup and one in the box (4 points), Player B’s team scores two points (the difference between each player’s total). The team that scored last tosses first in subsequent rounds. The first team to reach 21 points wins. If luck is on your side, and you manage to land a washer on top of one of the box edges, you automatically win the game!