How to Make a Plinko-Style Bottle Opener Game

Liven up your next party with this Plinko-inspired game where falling bottle caps decide the outcome.

November 30, 2021

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Tools + Materials

We hung our Plinko game outside, so we used exterior-friendly paint and hardware. If your game will stay indoors, you can use interior-grade materials.

  • (1) 1x3 x 8'
  • (1) 1x2 x 8'
  • (1) 19-1/2" x 11" Plexiglass
  • 1-3/4" roofing nails with neoprene washers
  • exterior screws
  • drill
  • ready-cut craft board or 1" plywood at 18" x 24"
  • chalk paint
  • white exterior-grade paint-and-primer all in one
  • two shades of exterior-grade paint-and-primer all in one (sample sizes should be enough)
  • paintbrush
  • painter's tape
  • speed square or T-square
  • graph paper
  • hammer
  • bottle opener
  • mounting brackets

Step 1: Cut Plywood

Cut 1-inch plywood to 18 x 24 inches. To make it easier, we used a ready-made craft board.

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Step 2: Paint Upper Section

Measure roughly 8 inches from the bottom of the craft board and draw a horizontal line using a speed square or T-square. Run painter’s tape along the line and paint the bigger part of the board (the 16-inch section) with white paint.

Step 3: Paint Bottom Section

When the white paint is dry, move the painter’s tape up to the bottom of the white paint and fill in the bottom section using black chalkboard paint. Remove painter’s tape when the paint is dry.

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Step 4: Make Outer Frame

Use 1x3s to make the frame. Cut two boards to 23-1/4 inches (sides) and two boards to 18 inches (top and bottom).

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Step 5: Make Bottom Tray

Use 1x2s to make the dividers and the bottom tray where the bottle caps will land. Cut two pieces to 3-1/2 inches for the sides. Cut one board to 19-1/2 inches for the front of the tray. For the dividers, cut four boards to 8-1/2 inches.

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Step 6: Paint

Paint the frame and tray pieces one color and the dividers a different color.

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Step 7: Assemble

Attach the 1x3s to the side of the plywood, leaving an excess of 3/4 inch on the bottom; this is where the side extensions for the tray will go. Predrill to prevent the wood from splitting and then fasten with screws (use exterior grade screws if your game will be placed outdoors). Attach the 3-1/2-inch side extensions to the bottom. Attach the bottom 1x3 piece to the face of the plywood and the side extensions. Last, attach the 1x2 lip piece on top of the side extensions.

Step 8: Prep Nails

Move the rubber ring on the roofing nails to 1-1/4 inches away from the head of the nail. This will make sure all the nails are level across the board when you hammer them into place. If desired, spray paint the nails and let them dry.

Step 9: Hammer Nails

To make it easy, use a piece of graph paper as a guide to lay out the nails. Place the nails about an inch apart, enough so a bottle cap can slip through. Then stagger the next line of nails 1/2 inch off the previous line. Hammer the nails in place until the rubber ring sits flush against the plywood. When all the nails are inserted, tear out the graph paper and discard.

Step 10: Add Dividers

Lay the dividers out equally across the bottom tray. Use wood glue and screws to fasten the dividers onto the board from the bottom or from the back.

Step 11: Attach Bottle Opener

Center the opener above the nails and screw it into place.

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Step 12: Add Plexiglass Shield

Install a precut piece of Plexiglass over the nails using screws. Be sure to predrill the holes to keep the Plexiglass from cracking.

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Step 13: Set the Stakes

Use a chalk pen to write fun phrases or indicate game points in each slot.

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Step 14: Hang It

Attach mounting hardware to the back of the game and fasten it to the wall using screws.

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

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