Last week my family and I went on a Carnival Cruise.  It was our first cruise.  We weren’t really sure what to expect, but we really enjoyed it.

One of the cool parts was the Hasbro The Game Show.  There were 3 instances of the show during the week.  We saw games like Connect 4 Basketball, Operation Skee ball, Simon Flash, Sorry Sliders, Yahtzee Bowling and others. 

The games looked really fun.  So of course the entire time I’m watching, I’m thinking through how I can build versions of these games for our Kid’s Church. 

Here’s a few of my pictures.  Of course you can find much better pictures by just doing a Google search.

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I wanted to start building one of them as soon as I got home, but I had a notice from my HOA that my fence is in need of repair.  So I guess my freetime will now be devoted to fence building.  Once finished, Connect 4 Basketball and Yahtzee Bowling await.

My wife was wanting a couple of carnival/festival/ticket booths for VBS this year.

She found a picture at that she liked. It looked simple enough. We really liked the idea since we could use the same booths for VBS (checkin), in our Kid’s room (prize store), and in our Fall Festival. Our initial cost estimates were around $100 total for two booths, but everything normally costs more than I think it will once I get into it.

original booth

The site didn’t have any details on dimensions or construction steps. So we had to make our own dimensions. We started by printing a picture of the booth and making educated guesses at the lengthes we wanted to make everything.


We started by saying we wanted it to be 4 feet wide (this helps since most sheet goods are 4 feet in one direction). Then we thought it should be 8 feet tall in the back and 7 feet tall in the front. Again sheet goods are normally 8 feet in one direction. This means less cutting involved. Then we decided the front should be 3 feet tall and then the tabletop.

So after a quick run to Home Depot to get 16 2″X4″X8′, I ended up making the following side frame. Again the front 2X4 is 7 feet tall with a 30 degree angle cut at the top. The back 2X4 is 8 feet tall with a 30 degree angle cut at the top. The two boards at the bottom are 17″ long. I wanted the booth to be 2 feet deep. So 24″ – 3.5″ – 3.5″ = 17″. I took the 3.5″ twice because the is the size of the 2X4 itself.


I screwed them together after making the pocket holes using my Kreg Jig. NOTE: I know I’m always talking about using my Kreg Jig. I am in no way sponsored by Kreg. I just like the simplicity and strength of the joints made with their products. Now if someone from Kreg is reading this and would be interested in sponsoring me, I would be very willing to talk. I really want a Kreg Router Table.

For the board at the top, I started with a 28″ board and simply held it where it needed to go and drew lines to make the cuts. Ironically it ended up being 30 degree cuts on both ends also. I tried to calculate the angle but got lost somewhere….

So I made a second frame board using the same technique. Just reversing everything.


Then the idea was simply to secure the two frame pieces together using cross boards. These cross boards were cut to 45″. I wanted the booth to be 4 feet wide so I made the cross boards 48″ – 1.5″ – 1.5″ to take into account the smaller side of two 2X4’s.


I used the Kreg to make pocket holes for the crossboards, but also added a 3.5″ screw through the 2X4 just for added strength.

I ended up using 3/16″ hardboard for the sides. I bought it at Home Depot. I bought two 4’X8′ sheets. I needed it cut in half. I needed four 2’X8′ sections. I got the Home Depot guy to cut it with their track saw. Perfect cuts. They don’t charge for this. Unless you have an awesome large table saw, letting them cut it for you is much easier.

So I ended up putting the 2’X8′ sections on the sides. I also had Home Depot cut a seperate 4’X8′ sheet into 3’X4′ sections for the front of the booth. I secured all of these boards onto the frame. The next step is to make the tabletop. A 2’X4′ of some type of particalboard/pressedboard/plywood/MDF can be used. I used a 3/4″ MDF. You’ll just need to cut slots for the board to slip into the frame working around the 2″x4″ frame. We decided to make ours stick out from the booth 2″.


So after putting this much of the booth together my wife started the priming/painting.

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So the next step was to make the roof. We liked the tin roof in the original picture. After reading online on the best way to cut tin, I decided to get a grinder blade for my circular saw. I initially cut the tin for 3′ long.


After putting it up just to look at it, it looked a little long:

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So I shortened them to 33″. This seemed more appropriate.

We added a hanging sign to specify what the booth was for.

Here’s the finished product:

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I think it turned out pretty well. Tomorrow we’ll move them to the church and set them up. If you happen to build something similar, I would love to see pictures.


Here’s a new picture:


After VBS, we put the booths in our Kid’s Room.  We use them as our store (where kids can buy stuff with the bucks they earn during service).  It also works well to seperate the kitchen from the rest of the room…



In one of my previous posts, I went through the process of building a DIY projector screen.  I’m going through the process again.  I’m adding a second projector to the right hand side of our kid’s church room.

I’m planning to have it so it can show the same video as the main projector or have an independent image.  During worship and bumper-type videos, the images will be the same on both.  But during games, I’ll have ScoreKeep (from Digital Stache) up on one screen and whatever video is needed on the other.  Probably something like a Minute to Win It timer or something.

I’ll update this post with the progress in the next few weeks.

I’m considering using this VGA Matrix switcher to control which video goes to which monitor.  I’m not sure how well it will work, but for the price, it is hard to go wrong.


Update as of 07/25/13:  I haven’t had a lot of time to post lately because of VBS.  But we did get this solution in place.  Now we have two projectors/screens.  We use the Matrix VGA switcher from Monoprice.  Here’s a couple of pictures:

This picture shows the screens with the projectors off


This image shows the screens with the projectors on.  Both projectors are throwing the same image.  Notice the difference in image quality.  Even though they are pretty much the same projector, the newness of one is a big jump over the other.   We played with the brightness and whiteness quite a bit, but weren’t able to get it any closer.  I guess that’s one downside to using cheap projectors.


Unless there’s a lot of white in the background, they looks pretty much identical.



This image shows the front of the Matrix switcher.  The left button contols the left projector.  The right button the right projector.  You press the button to select source 1, source 2, or nothing.



This image shows the back of the VGA Matrix switcher.  There are two sources (both computers) and two outputs (both projectors).



The only issue we’ve seen is that the Matrix switcher isn’t an instant switch.  It takes a bit for the image to change.  This caused two issues.  One the projector would think the image dropped and display its logo.  To fix this, we changed the projector settings to only display a black screen and not the logo.  The second issue was that during the change, the projector would begin searching for a signal.  Again, we simply turned this off in the projector settings.  No big deal.

Soon I want to make a quick video showing how everything works.


Break My Heart Game – Part 3

Posted: February 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

Here’s the final product:


Here’s a few pictures of the gameboard during the game.

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The kids had to answer questions to earn a chance to punch the board and win a prize.  Today we only had prizes behind the paper.  In the next few weeks we might add a few “funny” things behind the boards.

I guess the design works OK, but it is a pain to get the buckets on and off the board.  The method of screwing on the handles works, but it might need some refinement.  I think in the future, I might try to come up with a way to use boards with a slit.  The slit would hold the lips on the buckets.  Then I could slide them on/off the board.

Here’s a picture of the gameboard after all prizes were claimed:



The kids had to answer questions to earn a chance to punch the board and win a prize.  Today we only had

Break My Heart Game – Part 2

Posted: January 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

I spent some time tonight working on the Break My Heart game that we’ll use this coming weekend.

I pulled out one of the Matchy Madness boards:


I stopped by Dollar Tree to look for buckets to use to hold the prizes.  I found this as a possible solution.  It was close to the correct size.  Maybe a little small though.


I went ahead and tried to put it on the board to see how it worked.

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It kinda fit, but the screws just barely fit around the edge of the opening.  So I wasn’t happy.  Once the tissue paper was put in the opening, I wouldn’t be able to see where to put the screws.  I’m sure I would end up splitting the wood.  So I went to a different Dollar Tree.  This one had a different bucket.  I originally had been looking for buckets only that had a decent lip so I could screw into the lip and secure it to the game board.  But I found the following bucket.


This bucket has almost no lip, but it does have a couple of handles that I can use to secure it to the gameboard.

Here’s a couple of the buckets positioned where they would need to go:


To secure the buckets, I’m using small screws and washers to hold down the handles:


Here’s the board with three of the buckets secured to the board:



So now I’m going to pull the buckets off.  I’ll let my wife cover the openings with tissue paper and fill the buckets with prizes.  Then I’ll put all 9 buckets in place.  The final step will be to build a stand to hold the gameboard at just the right height.  I’ll post pictures of the finished product this weekend.



Break My Heart Game – Part 1

Posted: January 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

Me and my wife were in Arkansas a few weeks ago while my mom was having surgery.  Sitting in the hospital, we ended up watching a lot of TV.  One of the shows we watched (which I had never seen before) was The Chew.  At one point they had a game where people had to answer questions to earn turns to punch their hand into a game board to win prizes or get surprised by what was inside.  They called the game He Said, Cheese Said (the entire episode was about cheese).

Here’s a video link to the game.    When you go to this link, there is a link in the episode clips called “He Said, Cheese Said”.  That’s the link to the game.

Once we saw it, we looked at each other and decided it would make a great Kid’s Church game (with a few modifications).

So we started thinking about how to build it.  It sounded just like the game I made previously called Matchy Madness.  So we decided we would simply modify one of the game boards we used for Matchy Madness.

I grabbed one of the boards out of the shed.  Then I pulled everything off of it.  We’re now thinking through how to make the game work.  We’re proabably going to call it Break My Heart since we are starting a series on Love.  My wife came up with the idea to use Pat Benatar’s Heartbreaker.  So we found a Karaoke version on Amazon.    I built a bumper with BluffTitler.  It’s a very east way to create 3D text.  My wife’s going to pull it into Premiere Pro and add the music and create the final video.

Once we get some more done, I’ll post some pics of the finished product.