Project Overview

Turn a tired old area into a fun game zone with this giant noughts and crosses game. It’ll get the kids outside and keep them entertained for hours - even the adults can get involved.

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How to extend a spirit level

You can extend your spirit level to suit any size project. Just get a kick rail or a long, straight, flat piece of timber. Place it on the spot you want to make sure is level, then lay the spirit level on top to easily check that it is.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Draw squares on plywood
2 Draw up a nought
3 Draw up a cross
4 Cut out the noughts
5 Cut out the crosses
6 Sand the edges
7 Paint the noughts and crosses
8 Make the border
9 Screw sleepers together
10 Fill border with sand
11 Lay pavers
12 Add bark
13 Start playing
  • Step 1. Draw squares on plywood

    Measure, mark and draw ten 220mm squares on your plywood. You will draw the noughts and crosses shapes inside these. 

  • Step 2. Draw up a nought

    For the noughts, drill a screw in the centre of one square about a third of the way into your wood. Measure and cut a 215mmm piece of string and tie it to the screw.

    Tie a pencil to the other end of the string and use that to draw a perfect circle each time. Do the same with a 90mm piece of string to draw the inner circle.

  • Step 3. Draw up a cross

    For the crosses, mark the centre point in a square and use your ruler to draw a cross from corner to corner. Then measure up and mark the width of your cross.

  • Step 4. Cut out the noughts

    Use your jigsaw to cut the nought out of the plywood. You can use this as a template to make the other noughts. When you’ve cut the circle, use your router to cut the inside circle out.

  • Step 5. Cut out the crosses

    Use your jigsaw to cut the cross out of the plywood. You can use this as a template to make the other crosses.

  • Step 6. Sand the edges

    Sand the edges of your noughts and crosses with an electric sander. 

  • Step 7. Paint the noughts and crosses

    Then paint your noughts and crosses any colour you like. We’ve used bright colours for a bit of fun.

  • Step 8. Make the border

    To create the borders for your game area, take the four sleepers, lay them out in a border and tack on a temporary brace. 

  • Step 9. Screw sleepers together

    Hammer a star picket on each corner and screw the sleepers together. You can also paint the sleepers first to help define the area better. 

  • Step 10. Fill border with sand

    Pack and level the inside of your border with sand, making sure you don’t overfill it. Leave about 40mm between the surface of the sand and top edge of the sleepers. 

  • Step 11. Lay pavers

    Evenly place nine pavers on the sand inside the border, leaving about 150mm between each paver. Gently hammer each paver with a rubber mallet and use your level to make sure they’re even. We also painted our pavers before we started, to liven them up.

  • Step 12. Add bark

    Pour some bark around the pavers and evenly spread it out. You can use any colour you like but we’ve chosen black to make the pavers stand out.

  • Step 13. Start playing

    The rules of the game are simple. Each player chooses a shape and takes turns placing them on the pavers. The first to get three of their shapes in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal row, wins.

Tools and Materials


  • Broom (with hard bristle)
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Dust mask
  • Earmuffs
  • Jigsaw
  • Pencil
  • Roller and tray
  • Router
  • Rubber mallet
  • Ruler
  • Safety glasses
  • Sander
  • Screed
  • Shovel
  • Spirit level
  • Tape measure
  • Working gloves


  • 1.8m x 200mm x 75mm treated pine sleepers x 2
  • 1.95m x 200mm x 75mm treated pine sleepers x 2
  • 2400mm x 1200mm structural plywood
  • 450mm x 4mm star picket ultrapost
  • 400mm x 400mm pavers x 9
  • 20kg brick sand
  • 50L landscape mulch x 2
  • Rubber gloves
  • Screw
  • String
  • Paint

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