Upcycling Project: Wooden Rummoli Board

Rummoli boardI grew up playing lots of card and board games and it breaks my heart that my kids don’t share the same love of games. Games not only provide an awesome time to connect with family and friends, but can also develop both social and academic skills (depending on the nature of the game). I’m pretty sure I learned my math facts playing crib with my dad! I can’t say that Rummoli involves much strategy or mathematical skill, but it is fun and one of the few games my kids really enjoy.

I recently bought a cheap Rummoli game from the Thrift Store, complete with a bag of pennies (so I actually made money on the purchase). The kids really enjoyed playing, but we were taping the edges down so that the plastic mat would lie flat while we played.  The game is one of those classics that I played as a kid. I looked into buying a “nicer” version of the game for Christmas, but couldn’t find what I was looking for. In the end, I decided to make my own. I wouldn’t do this for just any game, but figured that it’s such a classic that it may with stand the test of time and be used for generations to come and would therefore be worth the effort.

I picked-up a “lazy-susan” from the thrift store for a couple of bucks and then found this table on Kijiji for $15. Just realized I never took a before shot of the lazy-susan. It was basically three circular pieces of wood (of varying sizes) that were sandwiched together with the appropriate hardware to make it spin. The small circle on the top had a recessed circle in the middle and some small circles around the outer edge. Here is a shot of the table I purchased for the project.



  1. I decided to leave the table assembled until the very end. This kept it at a nice height and stable during the transformation process. The first thing I did was sand the table top and edges.
  2. With Tim’s help, we carefully divided the circle into 8 sections and then traced out where the circles would be cut for the “pots” to drop down into the board.

    Rummoli board

    Here are the penciled off sections. This was probably the hardest part.

  3. Tim used an attachment on his drill to cut the holes for me. I then sanded the edges of the circles to create a smooth finish. (The pots I bought had a small lip on the top edge, so the circles had to be large enough to fit the base of the pot, but small enough for the lip to sit on the edge of the wood.)Rummoli board
  4. I then sanded off the pencil lines, leaving only a few guide marks for taping.
  5. I taped off the sections in preparation for staining. I decided that I wanted to divide the sections by using two tones of stain, so I taped off every other section. (Be sure to score the edge of the tape that will be receiving the stain to avoid bleeding.)
  6. I applied two coats of the darker stain to the taped off sections.
  7. Once the stain was dry, I removed the tape and carefully applied tape over the dry stain, so that I could apply the lighter stain to those sections that were not previously done.
  8. I also sanded and stained the original top section from the lazy-susan.
  9. Once the stain was all dry and the tape removed, I began the process of preparing the text/graphics for the game. At first I wasn’t sure how to pull this off, but ended up finding a program called Art Text 2 that allowed me to create text in a curved shape. The lite version was a free download. Yay! Although I can’t say that the shape of the curve matched that of my game board exactly, it was close enough. I was also able to find symbols for the “suits” within the program, so this was super easy to do. Once I created the text/graphic, I simply exported each title to my desk top and then used exactly the same template for each title, by simply changing the word/suit in the text box. Once all of the titles were exported, I dragged them into a Pages document.
  10. To transfer the titles to the board, I used the freezer paper transfer method. I had never done this before, but it was super easy to do. I followed the tutorial on Little Bit Funky with the only change I made being that I used spray adhesive to instead of a glue stick. In a nut shell, you basically adhere freezer paper to cardstock (waxy side up) and then trim the freezer paper to fit exactly. You place the prepared paper in your printer (mine prints on the bottom of paper, so I placed mine in the tray with freezer paper facing down). You then print your document using best quality and choosing the layout option that automatically flips the image horizontally creating a mirror image.
  11. The ink basically sits on top of the waxy paper and thus is super easy to smudge. I had to cut-out each title so that I could ensure that the curve was properly placed along the outer edge of my game board in each section. So for me to complete my project, I had to make three pages of freezer paper/cardstock.
  12. Once you have your title/graphic cut-out, carefully place it in the exact place/position you want to transfer it. YOU CAN NOT MOVE IT ONCE IT HAS TOUCHED THE SURFACE, so be very carefully when doing this step. Once you set it in place, firmly press and hold the image in place while scoring the image with the edge of a spoon. Ensure you rub every section evenly. I checked the transfer by peeking under a corner while firmly holding the image in place. If it needed a bit more pressure to the image I simply replaced it and continued to score it with the spoon. This was super fast and easy to do, you just can’t move it or it will smudge. When you are finished pick it straight up to avoid smudging.
  13. I let my images sit for a few hours because I didn’t want to take the chance of smudging them at all. I then applied a thin layer of spray clear coat. Once the spray layer was dry, I applied two coats of urethane with a sponge brush. I’m not sure, but I think the spray urethane is important because the sponge would probably smudge the ink.
  14. Once the table top game board was completely done, we removed the screws holding it to the base and Tim assembled the lazy-susan. Basically we took the bottom and top from the original and replaced the larger middle circle with our new game board.

The finished board turned out great! The graphics aren’t super bold against the stain, but I really wanted more of a vintage look, so I’m really happy with the result. The lazy-susan works great, so you can spin the board to ante or claim your winnings. We let the kids open this gift on Christmas Eve and enjoyed a fun evening of Rummoli!

Thrift Store Score!

I have been totally ignoring my blog over the last couple of weeks because I’ve been crazy busy trying to get through everything that needed to be done after being on the road for 3 weeks and with school just two weeks away. So, here’s a little update on what I’ve been up to.

After spending about 3 days unpacking, doing laundry and reorganizing the camping gear to be put away for the season, it was crucial I moved on to my giant “to do” list before the summer ended. So, with the trip behind us, it was time to start the “back to school” list. You know… doctor’s appointments, eye appointments, back to school shopping, renting instruments, picking up supplies, writing cheques for fees, fall activity registrations and for me getting into my classroom, as well as doing computer and prep work at home. Eden came to school with me for a whole day and although it was a long one, we got lots done…she was so much help.

drum shade

A drum shade is one that is not tapered, but the same diameter on both the top and bottom.

Aside from all of this, I’ve been arranging my errands and knocking of “jobs” between paint coats. I was bound and determined to repaint the vanity in my bathroom…a big job that really needed to be done and was daunting because of the amount of work and upheaval it would cause. To make things even more hectic, I still had projects to complete in Eden’s room.

One of the projects I wanted to do for her new room involved upcycling an old lamp and it required a drum style shade. I made my rounds to my favourite thrift stores as well as a few garage sales, but unfortunately have come up empty-handed so far. If any one has a small (6″ to 8″) drum style shade that is collecting dust in your basement ~ let me know as I really need one. Although I wont’ get to it before school now, I’m thinking I might need to resort to building one. I really don’t want to pay top dollar for a new one because I may ruin it completely in my attempt to create the look I want. In reality, it is only the bones that I need. I thought Michael’s might have lamp kits or something, but in looking on-line it doesn’t seem like it.

So, this brings me to my thrift store find. I have an ongoing shopping list that is specifically for thrift stores (and/or garage sales). Although I love to browse when I have the time, I often whip in and check for the items on my list and nothing more. It sometimes takes months for me to find the things I’m looking for, so they are often future project items or pieces that I would like, but don’t need. Such was the case with the following.

Board Game Snag:

We have a cupboard packed full of awesome board games and to my dismay, my kids complain about how boring “bored” games are. I love games! Aside from sleeping and reading, playing board/card games is one of my favourite things to do. I’m an early to bed person, but get me in a game of Settlers of Catan or Canasta and I can pull an all nighter….seriously ~ I love games and my kids don’t. How sad. They will enjoy the odd game of Apples to Apples and a few others, but one round and they are literally begging release like I’m inflicting bodily harm or something.

Last winter, I thought that maybe I’d give Rummoli a try. I loved Rummoli when I was a kid and although the chances were slim, I thought I might be able to hook them with it. I refused to pay top dollar for another game that would probably serve as nothing more than a dust collector in my games cupboard, so it went on the “thrift store list”. Needless to say, I’ve been on the look out for months and not a one. Recently when out searching for the drum shade, I finally came across a Rummoli game at Value Village. There was also a traditional Monopoly game that was in mint condition ~ perhaps never used. The kids used to like Monopoly when they were younger, but the Princess version was sold in a garage sale years ago. I decided to pick-up both. The Rummoli game was $2.99  which was actually kind of a rip off when you consider that it only comes with a plastic mat and a deck of cards as compared to the “mint” condition Monopoly game that was selling for $2. I always check the games because the last thing you want is a game that is missing pieces. As mentioned, the Monopoly was perfect and looked brand new. The Rummoli box was kind of falling apart and felt surprisingly heavy. I opened it up to check and to my surprise it included a bag of money! (Not such a bad deal after all!)

So in the end, I left with a pillow case ($2), a black fleece throw ($4) and two board games ($3 and $2). When I got home, I was curious enough to count the money and was surprised to find $10.41 worth of Rummoli change. So, I paid less than a dollar for it all ~ SCORE!!

On Saturday night, a friend came for the evening and she loves games just as much as I do. She is a close friend and an “Auntie” to my kids. We will often try to get them playing games. She was totally up for a game of Rummoli and so we insisted the kids joined us at the table for a post dinner game. They weren’t excited about the prospect of another “bored game”, but loved the idea of spending time with “Auntie”. We fumbled through the first round or two until they got the hang of it and they both loved it. Shay wanted to play again on Sunday and insisted that 8 o’clock is much too late to start a great game like Rummoli. Even Eden was happy to set her iPod aside and was totally engaged in the game. I think I finally found a game that we can all enjoy ~ YAY! You really can’t put a price on that ~ there’s nothing like quality family time that everyone agrees on.