How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

At the time of creating this video and writing this blog, there is a worldwide lockdown due to the coronavirus COVID-19.
Many people now have to stay at home and the children cannot go to school.

Besides the fear of becoming infected with the coronavirus, I think the second biggest concern of people is the fact that, after a few days of a lot of free time, boredom will strike.
That’s why I want to inspire many to get started and make a tic tac toe board game. In this way, time is useful spent and it is fun to play after building.

With this tic tac toe board game, I don’t just want to build something quickly, it has to become an eye-catcher that fits nicely into the interior. That is why I made this tic tac toe from recycled wood. The beauty of the naturally grayed wood provides a unique character, making it not only a game board but also a beautiful decoration item.

Ebook part 1 woodworking basics

What do you need to make a tic tac toe board game

To prepare you for building this tic tac toe board game, I have made a few handy lists.

In addition to a few personal protective equipments that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build this wooden board game.

* Safety is always your own responsibility!

Watch the video here & learn how to make a tic tac toe board game

Here you can watch the video and see how to make the tic tac toe board game.
After watching the video, you can continue reading the step-by-step guide to making this wooden board game yourself. 

Making the tic tac toe board​

Step 1 | Making thin strips

We will start with this step because we will have to Paint these strips. While the paint is drying we can make the other pieces. By the time all the pieces are made, the paint is dry and we will able to assemble the tic tac toe board. 

To make a clear distinction between the playing fields of the tic tac toe board, I want to mark the playing fields with a contrasting color. In this way, not only the fields are clearly visible, but the whole board gets a nice appearance.

To make the lines on the playing field I used my thin strip jig.
If you follow my Youtube channel you saw that I previously posted a video online in which I show how you can make this simple jig.
This jig makes it possible to adjust the fence of the table saw once and make thin strips that are always the same width in a very quick and safe way. Be sure to watch this video via this link: Thin strip jig.

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

With this jig, I saw 6 lengths of about 30cm (11.81″) long and 5mm (0.20″) wide and sanded them afterward with 80 grit sandpaper.

After sanding I painted these strips with old white chalk paint. Immediately after painting, I removed some of the paint with a cloth to obtain an aged look of the wood. 
While the paint was drying I was able to continue working on the other parts.

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

Step 2 | Cutting all pieces to size

I would like to make the final playing fields of the tic tac toe board 8cm by 8cm (3.14″ by 3.14″).

But for easy work, I will cut these pieces a bit bigger so that, after glued as a grid, I can cut the edges. Like that the entire tic tac toe board has nice flat sides.

To make the playing fields I proceeded as follows:
I sawed a plank to a width of 9cm (3.54″), by setting the fence 9cm (3.54″) from the saw blade and sliding the plank along the fence. Once the plank was the correct width, I used my crosscut sled with a stop block set at 9cm (3.54″) to cut out square pieces of 9cm by 9cm (3.54″ by 3.54″). I made 6 pieces like this.

In the same way, I made 3 pieces that are 9cm by 8cm (3.54″ by 3.14″).

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

I explain why three pieces need to have a different size.

All pieces I made are 1cm (0.39″) bigger so that I could saw the edges flush after gluing the playing fields. But after gluing, the 3 middle pieces (on the picture below, pieces 4, 5 and 6) can’t be cut anymore and that is why I already make these pieces 8cm (3.14″) high. The width is less important because I later level those edges by cutting them off.

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

After I had cut these pieces, the paint on the thin strips was dry and I could also cut these to size.
The white thin strips were also cut to 9cm (3.54″) long. In total, you will need 6 of these thin strips.

Step 3 | Assembling the tic tac toe board

Now that all parts had been cut, I could start assembling the board.
I did this in 2 steps: First I made 3 groups of three playing fields, each with a white strip in between. In the second step I glued the 3 groups together with a white strip in between. 

Step 3.1 | Making 3 groups​

To make these three groups I started the middle piece of 9cm by 8cm (3.54″ by 3.14″). On both long sides of 9cm (3.54″), I glued a white strip with CA glue. Because we cut the surfaces to a width of 8cm (3.14″) afterward, the sides do not have to be completely flat.

Afterward, I glued a piece of 9cm by 9cm (3.54″ by 3.54″) to both the bottom and the top white strip.

I repeated these steps 3 times until I had 3 groups of 3 playing surfaces separated by a white strip. 

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

Step 3.2 | Connecting the 3 groups​

After making the three groups I cut the middle group to a width of 8cm (3.14″) By cutting on both sides the playing fields and the thin white strips are flush. I glued a white strip with ca glue to both sides of this group an I glued the other groups to each side. This way I got my 3 on 3 playing field.

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

After gluing I cut the outer edges so that each playing surface is now exactly 8cm by 8cm (3.14″ by 3.14″).

By cutting afterward you do not have to work very accurately during gluing and you have nice flat sides on each side of the tic tac toe board and playing surface.

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

Step 4 | Making a box for storage​

Because I wanted the possibility to store all X&O pieces, I made a box from the tic tac toe board, the bottom of which can slide open.

For the sides of the box, I used a plank that I cut to a width of 7 cm (2.57″).
After cutting the plank to the correct width, I was able to cut the correct length with the miter saw. Since I wanted to miter the corners, I set the miter saw to 45 degrees.

Every time I saw a piece I checked that the corners were well connected and that there were no gaps.


Be sure to watch my video how I improved my budget miter saw with 3 simple adjustments: 3 Miter saw improvements I should have done before.

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

After sawing the 4 sides, I set the saw blade of the table saw to a depth of 5mm (0.20″), this to cut a slot where the bottom board can slide in later. The fence was set at 1cm (0.39″) from the saw blade.

Because the bottom board is 3mm (0.12″) thick and my saw blade is also 3mm (0.12″), I made 2 cuts next to each other. In this way, a slot of 6mm (0.24″) wide with a depth of 5mm (0.20″) was obtained at 1cm (0.39″) from the side.

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

I attached 3 of these sides to the board with wood glue and brad nails. 
If you do not have a nail gun, you can use small nails that you hammer into the wood.
The fourth and last side is later attached to the bottom plate so that it can slide open and serve as a drawer.

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

Now that the sides are attached to the tic tac toe board, I was able to measure the sizes for making the bottom plate. I took the size on the inside of the tic tac toe box and counted twice the depth of the slot.

Out of 3mm (0.12″) thick plywood, I saw the bottom plate of 26cm by 26cm (10.23″ by 10.23″) with my crosscut sled. Like that, It is nice and square.

The bottom plate was slid into the groove of the box and I glued the last side to the bottom plate with ca glue on to the bottom plate. To make everything firmer I strengthened the connection with brad nails.

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

After sanding the tic tac toe box again with 120 grit sandpaper, the box was ready.


If you want to know more about how to determine the right sandpaper for your project, be sure to check out my blog: The perfect sandpaper grit guide for woodworking.

Everything you need to know about sandpaper can be found in this article. It will no doubt give you a better understanding of the proper use of sandpaper.

There is also a FREE downloadable guide available to help you determine the right sandpaper grit.

Highly recommended!

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

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Making the X&O’s​

Step 1 | Preparations​

Because I wanted to make the X & O’s for this tic tac toe 3.5cm (1.37″) high, I had to glue 2 boards together for the O’s.

The gluing was done with wood glue and the two boards were held together with clamps.

While the glue dried I was able to work on the X pieces.

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

Step 2 | X’s​

After setting the fence at a distance of 3.5cm (1.37″) from the saw blade, I sawed 2 planks.

Afterward, I cut the pieces to a length of 9cm (3.54″) on my crosscut sled.

For this game, I wanted 5 X-pieces. So that’s why I saw 10 blocks of 3.5cm by 9 cm (1.37″ by 3.54″).

After I saw all the pieces I determined the middle of the blocks. There I would make a slot in each block that was the width of a block and half the height. By sliding 2 blocks together I got an X as the end result.

Because I had to saw a slot in 10 of these blocks, I clamped 2 stop blocks on my crosscut sled. 1 Block determined the starting point and the other block, the endpoint. In this way, I could quickly make the slot in all blocks

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood


Do you want to make the same crosscut sled as mine?

You can!

Check out the step-by-step instruction blog where I show you how to make this crosscut sled.
There are free building plans available on this page, to help you to build this sled.

Don’t miss this!

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

Step 3 | O’s​

When the wood glue had dried and provided a strong connection between the 2 boards, the clamps could be released.

Because just like the X-pieces I also wanted 5 pieces here.

I drilled out 5 circles with the drill press and a hole saw with a diameter of 51mm (2.01″).

After this, I exchanged the 51mm(2.01″) hole saw with a 32mm(1.26″) hole saw. This allowed me to saw the inside of the O’s.

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

Please note! 

Clamp these circles with a vise or just like I did with a clamp, but don’t hold it with your hands. The hole saw exerts a great force on the workpiece and due to the high speed you will not be able to hold the piece and you could hurt yourself.

After I sanded the O’s with 120grit sandpaper I could paint it with white chalk paint.

Again I used the same technique by removing some of the paint with a cloth to give the O’s an aged look.

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

Now that all the tic tac toe pieces are made I had to do one more thing and that was to ad linseed oil on the wood.

For this, I used the Stain Pad Wood stain applicator pad for woodworking. The advantage of working with this stain applicator pad is that the stain pad does not make stripes and absorbs the product. More about the Stain pad down below.

How to build a tic tac toe board game out of reclaimed wood

Now that the tic tac toe board game is finished, you can play this fun game.

Facts about stainpad

Stain Pad is the only cut-to-size wood finish applicator designed by woodworkers specifically for fine wood finishing.
Stain Pad is a microfiber cloth around a sponge applicator pad. It is a disposable alternative to bristle brushes, provides better durability than a foam brush, and more control than a shop towel or rag. It is perfect for furniture, cabinets, trim, cutting boards, bowls any woodworking project.

  • Each pack contains two 6”x 8” pads that are easily cut with scissors into any size you choose. Two pads generally make 12-16 applicators.
  • It may be used with all wood finishes and sealers. (Gel Stain, Wax, Water or Oil Based Finishes, Polyurethane, Hardening Oils, Shellac, Varnish)
  • Stain Pad works on any wood surface. Unlike terrycloth pads, Stain Pad’s loop-free material resists snagging on rough surfaces—ideal for distressed or reclaimed wood projects.
  • Stain Pad Its foam core absorbs, holds and evenly releases stain providing a smooth, consistent, streak-free finish with reduced need for reloading. The impermeable center membrane lets you apply the finish with one side and use the other side to wipe off excess for the perfect depth of color and a smooth finish.
  • The outer layer won’t leave lint, fuzz or bristles in your finish. *****Important Note: The cutting process will create lint. You must remove this lint prior to finishing. The pads are easily cleaned with forced air or painter’s tape.*****
  • After you finish with your applicator, simply let it dry and then throw it away. Its open-cell foam allows the pad to dry out quickly making it less susceptible to spontaneous combustion. (Proper disposal is always recommended)
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I really suggest it to all of my fellow DIYers and creators!

I hope this information on how to make a tic tac toe board game  was helpful, and that this blog and video inspires you.
Let me know in a comment below.

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I’m looking forward to seeing you soon in another blog or video.

Christophe, founder of
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration

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