How to Make DIY Tic-Tac-Toe Game

Surely, tic-tac-toe is a simple game, but is it simple to make it into a board game? The answer is yes! In fact, you can easily whip up a wooden tic-tac-toe game board under an hour, given that you have the tools and scraps lying around. Yes, since the board can be made using scraps, they are inexpensive (or free, if you like it better) with the price of one hour labor.

This board game is a perfect gift for the holiday, especially if you want to give them a DIY gift with extra care while getting rid of scraps. If you have children who are spending their holiday without a lot of entertainment, this board will be a suitable gift, too. Plus, since they are solid, they can be reused again and again – so, no more wasted paper thrown away for this simple game.

Materials and Tools:

  • A 1 ¼-inch dowel
  • 2×6 boards as needed (you can use scraps)
  • A 1 3/8-inches Forstner bit
  • Paint or stain with two different colors
  • Pencil
  • Tape Measure
  • Table saw
  • (Protection) Safety glasses and hearing protection


  1. Before working, use the protections properly. Though this project is not meant to take long, protection is still important for your safety.
  1. Make the tic-tac-toe pieces by cutting the dowel into nine 1 ½–inches pieces. Then, paint or stain the pieces with two different colors to differentiate them. If you are using the stain, stain 5 pieces with one color and the rest with the other. You can also do the same with the paint or simply color each side of the pieces with different colors to make them more versatile.


  1. Make a 5 ½ x 5 ½ square from the 2×6 board. Then, measure and divide the playing surface into nine equal squares using the pencil. Set the table saw to 1 ¾-inches and cut following the tracing line for 1/8-inch deep.

  1. Drill each center of the square for about ¾ to 1-inch deep. Sand the surface if necessary and stain the board. You can also paint it if you want to. Put the pieces into the holes and the tic-tac-toe board is ready to use!


See how simple it is? This tic-tac-toe board is so easy to make that beginners can make a decent one. Not to mention, they don’t take a long time to make, which is perfect for a last-minute (or, er, last-hour) gift especially if you have the spare time to make some.

If you want to make them more appealing, painting the boards and the pieces is the easiest way to do it. If you want to, you can also mark the ends with Xs and Os with paints. Or, if you can afford to be extra, etch the symbols using a chisel on each end! If you are planning to give the board to a child, then inviting them to decorate the board is a good way to engage with them and make the gift more personal.