Mandy Kellogg Rye knows a stylish picnic isn’t complete without a fun activity. A good outdoor game can generate conversation, stimulate the mind as well as the body, and it can be a convenient, if not totally necessary excuse to enjoy a summer afternoon in the park.
Mandy is a talented and in-demand stylist– she founded the Waiting On Martha blog and online store. She came up with this tutorial for building a DIY ladder toss game (often called ladder ball). It’s her contribution to our Outdoor Games Style Challenge.
Her ladder toss game set is a great for a tailgate party, a backyard barbecue, or for enjoying time with friends in the park.
When The Home Depot asked me to be a part of its latest Style Challenge, I didn’t have to think twice before saying #letsdothis, especially since moving to Atlanta from Chicago we’ve been spending more time than ever outdoors.
The only caveat is that we live in the city, which means we have a very teeny-tiny backyard, and most of our time spent outdoors is at some of the beautiful parks that grace these city streets. So I knew when choosing and creating my outdoor game it would have to be portable and easy to store. We already had cornhole and bocce ball, but what seemed to be missing was one of my favorites– ladder toss. While ladder toss tends to be a tad on the large side I knew that with a few tweaks I could make it portable and part of our outdoor routine in no time.
Heading to the park with friends, the ladder toss game, my new bike, blanket, and picnic basket in tow.
The set up for a perfect afternoon– ladder ball and a picnic.
We girls decided it was more fun to chat and let the boys battle it out.
Tasty summer treats.
DIY Ladder Toss
What You’ll Need
- 4 – 1 x 4 x 8 Pine Boards
- 3 – 1 x 48″ Dowel Rods
- 4 – Wood cabinet knobs
- 8 – Wood Pole Connector Screws
- Rust-Oleum Metallic Gold spray paint
- Rust-Oleum High Gloss White spray paint
- Rust-Oleum High Gloss Black spray paint
- Painter’s Tape (if you’d like to create the stripes)
- Wood Glue
- Saber Saw
- Drill with 1″ round drill bit
- Ladder Toss Bolas (available at sporting goods stores)
Using a saber saw, cut the pine boards into 4 pieces of equal size, creating the sides of the ladder toss (approximately 4 ft. tall).
Round and sand the edges. You can choose to keep the tops square, just make sure you sand them down.
Using a saber saw, the cut pine boards to 8 pieces of equal size, creating the bottoms of the ladder toss (approximately 2 ft. long).
Round and sand the ends and edges, however just as above, you can choose to keep the ends square, just sand them down.
Cut an additional 4 pieces of wood into 4″ x 4″ pieces.
Take two of your 2-ft.-long plank pieces and 2 of your smaller 4″ x 4″ block pieces. Center the smaller blocks of wood on the larger plank pieces (like a sandwich) leaving a 4″ space between, and glue them together.
The 4″ space should be the center of your wood sandwich allowing the sides of your ladder toss to fit into the center space.
Please note that if you choose to use smaller pieces of wood, simply measure the width of your wood and adjust the amount of space needed. The sides should fit tightly into the bottom pieces.
Using a drill and 1″ round drill bit, create indentations where the dowel rods will fit on the inside of each side board– 3 indentations per board in equal distance from top to bottom. The indentations should be just large enough to allow the dowl rods to sit in them (think of a paper towel holder).
In the center of the top and bottom indentations, create a 1″ hole where the rod screws and knobs can be screwed in and tightened. Leave the center indentation alone.
Take the wood pole screw connectors and twist/screw them into the end of the 4 dowel rods (the center simply sits in the round indentations and does not need to be screwed in), leaving enough room to screw through the boards and into the knobs.
Spray paint all of the pieces including the ladder balls. I used Rust-Oleum spray paint in gold metallic, high gloss black, and high gloss white, but use whatever color combo you love!
I also suggest purchasing the spray paint can comfort grip so your fingers don’t throb and cramp when painting.
If you choose to stripe any of your rods, I suggest spraying the entire rod white, and let it dry. Then using painter’s tape create your stripes and re-spray with your chosen accent color.
When all of your paint is completely dry, begin building your ladder toss. Place the slides into the base and screw in the dowel rods using your knobs.
Stand back and admire your handy work, then get outside and start playing!
A big thanks to The Home Depot for allowing me to participate in this Style Challenge.
Photography by Rustic White
Mandy Kellogg Rye is the founder and creative director for Waiting On Martha, a blog about decorating, entertaining and style. She’s also an editorial and interior stylist for several well-known brands. She lives with her husband Anthony in Atlanta. Wondering who the Martha is in “Waiting On Martha”? You’ll have to ask Mandy.
For more DIY outdoor games, see other Outdoor Games Style Challenge articles here on The Home Depot Blog, and follow our Style Challenge pinboard on Pinterest. Browse our Outdoor Recreation Department, too, for everything you need for fun in the outdoors. Shop our Paint Department and Building Materials Department for the materials you need to build this ladder toss game.