Croquet is a fun outdoor game. But it’s even more fun if you play the game with flamingos as mallets, just the way Alice in Wonderland did.
Amber Kemp-Gerstel of Damask Love came up with this terrific do-it-yourself Alice in Wonderland croquet set for our Outdoor Games Style Challenge. Some of our favorite design bloggers are inventing clever ways to DIY outdoor games for summer fun for this series, and this is Amber’s contribution.
Maybe you’re planning an Alice-themed party, maybe you just want to make your croquet match a bit more whimsical than usual, or perhaps you’re looking for a fun summer DIY project… then Amber’s tutorial is for you.
There was a lot of discussion in our house about what outdoor game to create for the Home Depot Outdoor Games Style Challenge.
Let me rephrase.
My husband had a lot of ideas. Among his best were:
- A Jousting Set using wooden dowels from the Home Depot lumber department.
- A Ninja Star Throwing Competition with circular saw blades from the power tools section.
- And then there was that time he suggested that I design our own personal Hunger Games.
I think we can all agree that these ideas…while hugely creative and ambitious, were not so, uh…feasible. So here’s what I came up with. While it’s not as exhilarating as ninja stars, there will most definitely be fewer trips to the Emergency Room.
Considering we live in the heart of Miami, it only made sense to incorporate a few flamingos into our outdoor game. And when it comes to flamingos and games, there is really only one option: croquet.
Turns out that The Home Depot carries everything you need for an Alice in Wonderland croquet set with flamingos for mallets, right down to the topiaries scattered with red roses.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this flamingo croquet set:
- Plastic flamingos (These plastic flamingos come in pairs, with one upright flamingo and one that’s leaning forward. I used the upright flamingos for the croquet mallets.)
- ⅝-in. round wooden dowels
- 2-in. round wooden dowels
- 1-in. square wooden dowels
- Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Spray Paint in white, and other colors as desired
- Wood glue
- Drill and drill bit
Use a spade drill bit to drill a hole in the top and bottom of the plastic flamingo. The size of the hole should correspond with the size of the wooden dowels you are using as the croquet mallet handles. The wooden dowels I used were ⅝-in. in diameter. For my drill bit, I used the Bosch Spade Drill bit set, which comes with lots of sizes to choose from.
Once you’ve drilled the holes, slide the dowel through the plastic flamingo.
Next, cut a 2-in. diameter wooden dowel down to a 10-in. length. This will create the head of the croquet mallet.
Note: You can also use your hand saw to saw off the piece of plastic on the belly of each flamingo. This piece of plastic is intended to hold the wire legs in place, but we won’t be using those.
Again using a spade drill bit that corresponds to the diameter of the mallet handle, drill a hole into the middle of the mallet head.
Do not drill all the way through the mallet head. Half-way through is sufficient.
Squeeze wood glue into the hole…
…then place the mallet handle into the hole and allow the glue to dry overnight.
To create the wicket hoops for the croquet game, you can use the wire that comes along with the plastic lawn flamingos! Gotta love that right? Just bend them into a U-shape.
Since I don’t have a soil lawn where I can place the U-shape wire, I came up with another solution for getting them to stand up.
Simply take a 1-in. square wooden dowel and cut it down to 3-4-in. strips. Drill a small hole in each cut and use those holes to hold up the U-shaped wire.
Last, you’ll want to give your croquet mallets a dose of color.
First, I spray painted the mallet head with white spray paint. I then taped off two stripes on the head and spray painted the entire mallet in a few vibrant colors. Rust-Oleum’s Painter’s Touch spray paint is my favorite. It has a primer in it so you only need one coat!
Step 10 (not pictured)
To create the croquet balls, I used a little creative license. Since we don’t own any actual croquet balls, I spray painted a few lacrosse balls that we had. I’m not sure why we had them. No one around here plays lacrosse.
Of course the topiaries are not a necessity for this cute little game, but it is certainly a cute backdrop, especially if you plan on using this for an Alice in Wonderland party.
I planted each topiary in a plastic terra cotta pot and topped the soil off with gravel. Then, I placed little rose bush buds into the topiaries to finish off the look.
I hope this project inspires you to bring a bit of creative outdoor fun to your own space!
Amber Kemp-Gerstel is a child psychologist by day, and an amazing crafter, decorator and DIY enthusiast by night. Damask Love is where she shares her decorating ideas, craft projects and more. She lives with her husband in Miami.
For more outdoor ideas, 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 for everything you need for fun in the outdoors.
Amber received a Home Depot gift card to complete her outdoor game DIY project. The ideas and opinions she expressed are her own.