DIY Large Vintage Dominos

Vintage Dominoes
Vintage Dominoes

I love vintage games and have been scouring flea markets and online auctions to no avail. I just never find what I want or what I want is way too expensive for this particular desire.  I have seen games c. 1900 and earlier for thousands of dollars!  I am thinking more like $10-$20 each.  Here I will teach you to make them for even less!

You see, I want to have a number of these games for a completely EMPTY wall in our playroom and I love the colors of folk art and vintage games fall right in there!  Also, I would like to be able to take them off the wall easily to play the games. You know I am always practical! So a real vintage game does not really fit my purpose.  I don’t think I would let my toddlers play around with an antique, you know?

As usual, I decided to create all these games myself.

So far I am planning on creating, from easiest to most difficult – Checkers (Easy!),  Chinese Checkers (difficulty depends on pattern chosen), Parcheesi (difficult) and Backgammon (moderate).  I am sure I will add more if I see some really cool ones but this is a good start!

I am going to have a series on creating these games, which I think would be great for a play room, family room, kids room or rec room. If you want to make sure you get all the DIY tutorials as I create these games  and tons of other projects please consider following through Google Friend Connect or subscribe via RSS or by email to get all the latest DIY tips and tutorials from this handy Mom!  As usual I am always here if you have questions or do not understand a certain step.  I will do my best to help you finish your own DIY masterpiece!

I had been plotting my vintage game room for quite some time when I stumbled across the girls from Shanty2Chic and their Large Vintage Dominoes tutorial.  What a great place to start!  While I am not ever going to play with the large game pieces, I thought they would be great to break up the actual size games I would create and add some drama!  Check out their site – they have TONS of great vintage projects including some large vintage dice I am going to make in red!  The Shanty2Chic girls have a great tutorial on their site for both projects but I wanted to add a few details for those of you who, like me, are new to this kind of DIY.


1 – 2 x 10 x 8 piece of untreated lumber from any home improvement store.  This will make 6 dominoes. and cost about $5.  Sometimes they will have scrap wood that you can get for less.  If so – go for it!  You only need 48″ to make 3 dominoes.

Sandpaper in 80 grit and 120 grit

Cream Paint in Satin Finish – I used Behr Cozy Cottage (740C-2) but any creamy color will work.

Black Paint in a Satin Finish

Ralph Lauren Glaze (RL 2420) tinted to smoke color.   I actually did not have them tint the whole gallon as it can be tinted at home with different colors depending on your needs.

Tools I Used:

You don’t really need any fancy told for this.  I just happen to have some so I used them.  Making the dots is the hardest part but you can be as casual as you want.  I am just completely anal and had to whip out my stencils, compass and tracing paper!

Miter or Circular or Hand Saw or Home Depot Guy:  To cut your pieces.

Power Sander:  makes it much easier to shape raw wood

Sanding block:   makes it MUCH easier

Paint Brush:  I literally used a tiny package from Walmart for the detail work and a very old Purdy for the cream.

Painters Tape

Tape Measure and / or Ruler

Sharpie (I live and die by Sharpie on projects) Not necessary, just wonderful!

Circle Stencil and / or Simple Compass:  I used both.  The circle stencil was from a super cheap package of shapes at Walmart.

Tracing Paper

Step One: Cut your wood into 16″ lengths.  I used my miter saw but you can use a circular saw, a handsaw or the handsome gents at the cutting stations in any major home improvement store.  Usually the first 2 cuts are free and after that are 25¢ each.

Cut Wood into 16" Lengths
Cut Wood into 16″ Lengths

Step Two: Use your power sander or get a real workout with your arms and a sanding block to round out each and every edge to look like a vintage domino.  Sand the entire piece so that it is relatively smooth.  This is raw wood so you are not going for perfection here!

Rounded Corners Close-Up
Rounded Corners Close-Up

Step Three: Apply 2 coats of your cream paint.

Step Four: Plan and Layout your dots and center line.  I used a pencil and ruler on 1 domino to make a template.  After much experimentation I chose 3/4″ thick for my center line and app. 1 5/8″ diameter for my circle.   I had a circle stencil in various sizes and this is the one I chose.  I think that 1 1/2 inches would work too.  I apologize for the light on this picture but essentially I drew on my center lines horizontally and then made a vertical line down the center of the domino.  I then made a horizontal line splitting the top area in half.  This gave me the location for the center of my starting circle.  Dominoes are not equidistant from all sides as I thought.  Creating a full 9 dot domino allowed me to see the spacing that I wanted.   You an experiment but my circles are app. 3/4″ from the sides and 5/8″ from the top and from the center line.  There is app. 5/8″ between my dots vertically.  You can use a compass or stencil once you create all of your lines to make your circles.

Domino With Lines
Domino With Lines

Step 5:  Crate Your Template / Stencil:  Steps 4 and 5 you could have done much more free hand but I am not that good.  I also do not have a way to create a large stencil and I knew I wanted to use a template so I made one out of tracing paper.  I copied all 9 dots and my center line onto my tracing paper and marked top and bottom on it.

Tracing Paper Stencil
Tracing Paper Stencil

Step 6: Layout center lines on all pieces.  This is simple using your ruler.  Use your template and a compass or stencil to draw all of your circles in pencil.  If using the template make sure to follow your top and bottom notes and “flip” the template to do the bottom of the domino.  Simply use the template and compass to draw as many circles in the correct place as you need on that domino.  Apply painters tape around the lines.

Center Line Tape
Center Line Tape

Step 7: Paint in your lines.  Using a small brush I dry brushed 3 coats of black paint.

Step 8: Outline your circles.  I had one circle stencil and was just going to paint by placing it over my pencil lines but I did NOT like how it was making the dots look.  I kept having leakage.  I decided to use my one circle stencil and my handy dandy Sharpie and make all of my circles using the stencil over my pencil circles and then paint them.

Line and Dots Outline
Line and Dots Outline

Step 9: Paint Your Circles.  Using black paint and a tiny brush paint your circles.  This was fast and so much fun!  It was not at all difficult to stay in my Sharpie lines and I love the not absolutely perfect look of my circles!  It took 5 very light coats to get this right but each can be applied right after the last.  I show both 2 coats and the final so you can see!  Do not worry about brush strokes by coat 5 they are gone!

Two Coats
Two Coats
Final - 5 Coats
Final – 5 Coats

Step 10: Sand all edges, particularly corners, using 80 grit sandpaper and apply Minwax Red Mahogany (225) over the sanded areas.  This gives that vintage feel!  The Minwax stain will seep into the bare wood immediately so use a small brush and wipe off directly after application because it will stain your domino as well!  I learned this the hard way and have a little boo boo on my first corner.  Good thing these are vintage looking!

Sanded Edge
Sanded Edge
Minwax for Vintage
Minwax for Vintage

Step 11: Apply Ralph Lauren Tinted Glaze in Smoke.  You have to ask for a tint at my home depot and I did not want to tint an entire gallon of this stuff ($24.00) all one color since I can use it for so many projects!  I used a little tiny bit of my black to tint a little tiny cup of this stuff.  I might go back and use more but I am happy with the very light tint it gave at the moment.  You can get your glaze as dark as you like but be careful and test some first!  You just paint on and wipe off!  Love the simplicity there!  It gives a nice finish to the pieces no matter how light you go.

Ralph Lauren Glaze
Ralph Lauren Glaze
Very Light Glaze
Very Light Glaze

Step 11: Attach simple saw tooth hangers and hang!  I am not sure which way I am going to hang these yet so I am waiting on my hangers.  Right now they are filling part of an empty wall in my front room and get TONS of compliments!

Finished Dominoes
Finished Dominoes

Please let me know if you try this project – I would LOVE to see your own Dominoes and any tips you might have for creating them!

I hope you liked this DIY Large Vintage Domino Tutorial.  Please come back for more!  I am linking this up to Kimba’s DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land! Kimba DIY

Also, thanks to the girls at Shanty2Chic for the great tutorial and always inspiring blog!


    • says

      Thanks! I usually use cardstock and make them with cool font and then punch a hole in the corner and use pretty ribbon to tie aaround the napkins and lay them on the plates. I love to keep things simple and this allows me to inexpensively alwasy have custom place settings and napkin holders!

      If you drink wine and have corks (I save all corks for projects) you can also make really cute holders with those. See this site.

      Have fun and good luck!

  1. Mom says

    Awesome dominoes…saw in person over the holiday and can’t wait to see the next game! Also cute idea for nametags! LOVE the fact you are so talented and you are my daughter….wish I could say the gene pool was from my side, but alas have never built anything in whole life!! Hugs!

  2. says

    So fun. I love these. A chick who uses a miter saw. If I were a guy, I’d totally be into you.
    .-= Holly´s last blog ..Raising the Male Child =-.

  3. magda says

    I am not a guy…and I am totally into you;)
    I will skip saying the obvious about how clever and creative and inspired you are. It goes without saying. I want only to know who watches your kids while you buy materials and FINISH these masterpieces. seriously? I am lucky to get my teeth brushed,bed made, and body showered. Those are generally my only indulgent activities and they last a sum total of 14 minutes, broken up throughout the day.
    .-= magda´s last blog ..For Our Little Elves =-.

  4. TooManyHats says

    You are a DIY queen!!! I loved parchisi as a kid btw.
    .-= TooManyHats´s last blog ..More Monday Menu Planning =-.

  5. Moody Foods Reviews says

    Love it! Would look great on our recroom wall.
    .-= Moody Foods Reviews´s last blog ..Holiday Food Gift Guide =-.

  6. says

    You are too cute and too funny. I really pray that it will work for you, too, since that seems to be very important to you. Gotta tell ya though that my daughter had a C-section for her breech and she thinks it’s the only way to fly…and I do mean HIGH! hahahaha
    .-= judy´s last blog ..Dear Daughters, =-.

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