Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo



Make your own Pick-Up-Sticks game

by: Chica

Make your own Pick-Up-Sticks game
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For quite some time now, I’ve been wanting to teach my niece how to play pick-up-sticks. I remember the simple game from childhood as being easy to transport, easy to play, and lots of fun. I knew it would be a great tool for building her dexterity, as well. The idea of possibly making my own set had been in the back of my mind for months until Jo and I encountered the Mrs. Butterworth’s bottle recycling contest that Jo told you about a couple of weeks ago. The bottle would make such a fun container for the game!

The game itself was really easy to make. I started with some nice, thick, round bamboo skewers. I had 12″ skewers and they were pointy on one end, so I used my trusty branch pruner to cut the pointy end off of 30 of them and trim them to 8″ in length.

pick-up sticks

Then I used regular craft paint to paint the sticks in the following proper colors: 1 black, 7 red, 7 blue, 7 yellow, and 8 green (per the rules). Rather than mess with brushes, I took the easier (and more fun) approach and just put on a disposale glove and dipped my finger in the paint and smeared it all over the sticks. It only took a few minutes to paint them all, and after drying for a short time on some waxed paper, they were ready to go.

pick-up stickspick-up sticks

With the sticks done, it was time to move on to the container. I took an empty, clean Mrs. Buttworth’s syrup bottle and removed all the labels. Then I made my own new labels — one for the front with the name of the game, and one for the back with the rules for gameplay. I made a downloadable for you guy sin case you wanted to print some labels, too.

pick-up sticks template Download our free Pick-Up Sticks label template

After I printed them, I wanted to laminate the labels so they would last longer. You can use clear Con-Tact paper or any other laminating material to do this, but I chose to use regular 2″ wide packing tape, because it was handy. After covering the labels with tape, I cut them out and used double-sided tape to stick them to the front and back of the bottle.

pick up stickspick up sticks

I’m delighted with how this game turned out. My niece really loves it, too, and totes the bottle back and forth to Grandma’s house. She’s not quite ready for the official rules and scoring process, but she’s quite good at picking up the sticks without moving the others, so it’s a lot of fun for us to play together.

She also really likes to use her imagination with the sticks and do other things like spell out letters and play her favorite made-up game: “Stick world”.

Make your own Pick-Up-Sticks game
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9 comments so far:

  • 1
    Rachel 03/16/2009 at 7:09 pm

    I love what you did with the bottle, that is so clever! I’ll be linking to this tomorrow.

  • 2
    Cynthia Pitman 02/17/2010 at 2:09 pm

    I love this ie is soriginal. I am going to be making these for all of my grandchildren!!!!!!!!

  • 3
    Renee 07/10/2010 at 6:54 pm

    I much appreciate this!!! It is a great idea to do for my clients. THANK YOU!!!

  • 4
    Kelly W 08/14/2010 at 12:45 pm

    I need a set of pick up sticks and after looking in the store and not finding any decided to see about making my own. I found your directions and am excited that I can so easily make my own

  • 5
    Chica 08/14/2010 at 12:53 pm

    So glad we could help, Kelly. Let us know how they come out!

  • 6
    Brenda Dodd 05/24/2013 at 12:10 am

    I love this game and haven’t played since my teens i’m now in my 50’s. Can/will you refresh my memory about the rules? and why the different colors?
    I would appreciate your answers and will be making these. The bottle remake is cut too. Thanks

  • 7
    Chica 05/24/2013 at 8:46 am

    Brenda, you can find the rules on our downloadable label, as well as an explanation of the different colors. Glad you like this idea!

  • 8
    Tami 01/27/2016 at 3:14 pm

    Thank you for being craftier than me and for putting it online for all to see.

    I know it’s been years since you posted this, but do you remember why you blunted the ends? I remember the game having pointy ends to help with maneuvering.

  • 9
    Chica 01/28/2016 at 6:34 pm

    Tami, it was probably mostly because I didn’t want it to be dangerous for the little ones!

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