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Happy Fourth of July, design lovers! I hope you all have a long, languorous day spent outdoors with family and friends on tap.  I know I do!

backyard scrabble board

Photo: E. Spencer Toy

If the backyard barbecue I’m going to had a hand-built Scrabble board like this one, I might not show up here tomorrow. (Scrabble and I have a long, loving history.) This outdoor board was built by Sacramento, California architect Kristy McAuliffe with stained poured concrete. She crafted the tiles from baseboard trim and adhesive letters and numbers. I’m wondering if Ms. McAuliffe needs a new best friend?

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Design Inspiration

16 Responses

  1. Elemnope says:

    I MUST have one!!! This is totally badass!! Thank you!!!

  2. @VoxAZ says:

    Would be absolute genius if it was built into a big table so players wouldn't have to squat.

  3. PFG says:

    I so agree that incorporating this concept to a tiled table would have be much better use overall with this application, plus it can be introduced to more locations thruout your home.

    1. I'm thinking an old cardboard table is perfect
    2. Attach a 1/2 " or 3/4" slab of plywood evenly on top so completely stationary, but does not hinder use of table folding leg mechanisms. Measure plywood to incorporate 2 X 2 inch tiles/colors needed, plus tile gaps, & (seal 1st) permanently attach your added wood border for your protected edging.
    3. Add wood sealer & moisture barrier to wood on all sides
    *insuring wood end grain is thoroughly sealed prior to adding your edging
    4. Use small bucket of mastic (1 gallon) applying it with grooved tool in sections. Then add your 2 X 2 tiles evenly spaced, so they sit completely flush with your board edging on your display board in the various colors as needed. Use a large block of wood to press 2 X 2 tiles evenly, ensuring all tiles are completely flush with one another throughout being uniform in heighth on board into the mastic.
    5. Let sit & dry completely.
    6. Add your grout, in a color coordination with your tiles & you'll be happy with. Push grout around with your grout tool, ensuring it's thoroughly packed in between all tiles & edging in small sections at a time. Work quickly & once complete wipe down so grout is smooth & flush with tiles, but clean tiles thoroughly. I think I would seal grout, tiles with a heavy sealant.
    7. I'm thinking you'll need a template for cutting thin consecutive multiple wood tiles. A bench sander probably would work best for all the sanding that will be required for letter tiles necessary.
    8. Make your cardboard stencils for game tiles, spray paint in black.
    9. Voila! A universal game table version, would be heavy, portable, but has foldable legs being that your using a metal cardboard table frame for your version.

  4. PFG says:

    Another application for this table top scrabble game is UP words. It's played slightly different, but you could apply the Upwords concept to scrabble as well here. More love of it & bang for your bucks with making this table when having more uses with it I think. Still a nice nice card table, with more stability with it as well.

  5. PFG says:

    Universal Board Table – 15 tiles X 15 tiles
    Measure exactly your supposedly 2 X 2 tile size width (not always 2” as claimed) plus add in your ¼ or ½ grout lines or add a nice tile border edge too.

    I personally feel less of a grout line would be better to add a cohesion to when applying your wooden tiles on top with words spelled. So maybe, 1/8 to 1/2 inch grout line might work better.

    (Example)
    15 tiles X 2” each = 30” inches
    16* X 1/8 (.125) inch grout lines = 2 inches
    16* X ¼ (.25) inch grout lines = 4 inches
    16* X ½ (.50) inch grout lines = 8 inches
    30” 4” 1” = 35” X 35” plywood size board
    30” 8” 1” = 39” X 39” plywood size board

    Places like Lowes & Home depot cut your required plywood size at store for you.

    Of course, layout your tiles prior to placement or applying mastic to ensure you have the necessary layout and all that’s required.

    The several typical folding tables I have on hand are squared, one is at 34” and the other has 35” inch equal dimensions. Works well with this plan here.

    Adding a 1” inch wood mitered border would be preferable as you would have less chance of splitting your edges when screwed into your plywood. Don’t forget using pilot holes.

    (*all the sides of the tiles would require 16 lines of grout inclusion of both edges)

    Anything I missed add to it…please do.

  6. Zoey says:

    Hi all,

    I am rehabbing my house and just got Red Oak unfinished hardwood floors and stairs throughout. I have Cherry Cabinets and am having a hard time picking out the stain. My husband does not want to do natural and I don't want anything with a golden tint. Any ideas!!!!

  7. PFG says:

    Hmmm…golden or yellow hues do not bode well with cherry finishes. You can make it work and standout, but take a serious peek into another hue over yellow hues, since the cherry cabinets are permanent thus far? Look at samples with taking a door to where you will choose a selections of colors. It helps loads and you'll both be satisfied then :) Take a left over piece of flooring and try a small sampling on it you choose and if goes well with your cabinets you have a winner you'll both be so happy with your outcome then. Compromising is and it's all what it's cracked up to be with having more and getting more. It's really harsh on both of you when unwilling to consider choices you'll both like vs making a rule and not allowing anything in to budge you into to working with your life partner. It's hard way to go in marriage, after 34 years in marriage, do what's best with the selections and pick them together on what you two can like best. :)

  8. Julia says:

    Could never play scrabble squatting or cross-legged on ground. Looks cool and beautiful, but not fun…..as u knjow, scrabble can go on for hours. You'd have to be under 25 to play on this one.

  9. Miranda says:

    I love it on the ground. Too many lazy-ass-out-of-shape Americans these days. Quit making your life so easy & do some work. It wouldn't kill you to get exercise while you play, would it? Plus, there are benches next to it. Plan your word, grab your tiles, squat/neal/bend, place them & sit your lazy butt back down. Geeze!

    • PFG says:

      Miranda…take in another perspective not everyone can squat, bend or neal pysically due to those parts not being there or they don't work…..HELLO. Awful shallow surmising it's just due to laziness. :)

  10. Philly says:

    Love scrabble, love the outdoors, but Miranda, it isn't laziness preventing the squatting, just bad knees. Very nice for small kids but, sorry, hard enough to make the words…can't get up and down that smoothly.. oh, yes, and I do yoga and I am very flexible…but I don't look pretty getting there.

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Lili ZarghamiLili is Editorial Director of HGTV.com. Her personal obsessions include looking for just the right sofa, ogling real estate listings, and reading floor-plans. She has an admitted "chair problem," collecting...

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