How to Make a Giant Outdoor DIY Memory Card Game

DIY, June 4, 2024

This post is sponsored by Krylon. All opinions are my own.

When I was younger, playing matching games was my favorite pastime at my Grandma’s house! My husband and I just moved closer to family and our nephew’s birthday was coming up so I thought it would be fun to make a DIY memory card game to play at his party!

I can only imagine how much I would have loved a giant size matching game that we could play in the lawn. It’s so fun making an outdoor version of a game that’s normally played indoors! Last year I made a yard version of Yahtzee and it was a huge hit on our family vacation. Click here to see!

This oversized matching game is a fun game for both kids and adults! It’s the perfect activity for backyard gatherings, picnics, or even just a summer afternoon. In this tutorial, I’ll guide you through exactly how you can make your own DIY memory game. I used plywood to make mine, but there’s other alternatives if you don’t want to get the power tools out! Let’s dive in!

Summer Matching Game Jumbo Size

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means, if you purchase something from a link I provided, I will receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to youThank you so much for the support!

Step One: Make Your Set of Cards (Optional)

The first step is making (or buying!) your “cards”. 

Don’t let the idea of power tools scare you away from this project! You can actually buy 12” x 12” plywood tiles which would be much easier and actually similar in price. Here’s a couple options to choose from:

DIY Large Matching Game Tutorial

If you have the proper tools and want to make your own, you’ll just need a 4ft x 8ft sheet of ¼” plywood. You can either use a table saw or a circular saw to rip them down. I made my cards a little less than 12” x 12” (about 11 ⅞” x 11 ⅞”) to account for the blade!

Make as many matching cards as you’d like. I decided to make 20!

After your pieces are cut, you’ll want to give them all a quick sand on the front, back, and especially all the edges. I used my orbital sander with 220 grit sandpaper for this!

Huge Matching Game DIY

Step Two: Prime and Paint Cards

When working with raw wood, it’s best practice to use an all-purpose primer before painting!

How to Make a Yard Matching Game

Make sure you have a good amount of space to work with. I laid out a tarp and propped the plywood pieces up. These pyramids have come in handy for many, many projects! Luckily the primer dries really fast so by the time I finished doing one side, I was okay to flip them and do the other side.

After the primer is dry, give them a quick sand with a 220 grit sanding sponge. Before painting, just wipe away the dust with a damp rag or tack cloth. I promise this extra step makes all the difference for a smooth finished product!

Matching Game DIY

It’s totally up to you how you want to design your diy matching game cards. I knew I wanted colorful images, so I went with a white background! I had some white paint samples laying around so I used one of those for this part! 

Large Matching Game DIY

Step Three: Cut Out Stencils

This large DIY matching game was very much inspired by a tutorial I found from Studio DIY- Check it out here!

The summer themed free printable stencils provided in that tutorial is what I used! Don’t forget, you can also make your own stencils too if you’re going for a different theme! 🙂 After downloading the symbols, I had them printed on cardstock from UPS.

Using an X-ACTO knife and scissors, I carefully cut out the symbols!

Jumbo Matching Card Game

Step Four: Spray Paint Images

Now for the fun part- adding some color! This is where Krylon comes in🙂

Krylon Fusion All-in-One was the perfect spray paint for this project! It’s ideal to use on wood, it dries fast, and they have a broad color palette! 

These are the 8 colors I chose:

Krylon Spray Paint Project Ideas

First, I taped the stencil to the plywood using painter’s tape. The cardstock wasn’t large enough to cover the entire piece of plywood, so I made a cardboard border to protect the edges!

Before spraying, don’t forget to protect your area with a drop cloth or scrap cardboard. You’ll want to work in a well ventilated area for this project- there’s a LOT of spray painting involved! I worked outside in my driveway making sure our cars weren’t parked too close due to potential overspray.

Shake your spray paint for 1-2 minutes and then apply in sweeping motions about 8”-10” away from the surface to avoid drips. One coat was all I needed for the symbols, but if you need another you only have to wait 1 minute for the next coat!

Summer Matching Game DIY

If you want to include multiple colors for one symbol, like I did for the strawberries, just be sure to cover what you don’t want painted with some painter’s tape or scrap cardboard!

Summer Size Memory Game

Step Five: Design the Top of the Cards (Optional)

You can absolutely leave one side of your matching cards blank, but I thought it would be fun to do some kind of pattern. Have fun with this part- you can do polka dots, stripes, a favorite symbol… whatever makes you happy!

I chose to do stripes using 6 of the spray paint colors I used for the symbols!

Once I found a stripe thickness I liked, I made my own stencil out of a sheet of cardstock. (Actually, I ended up making two so I could swap them out every other color to let them dry!) I just used a ruler and scissors and cut out every other stripe. 

Matching Pairs Game DIY

Working with one color at a time, I sprayed one stripe on each card, being sure to cover the rest of the stripes with scrap plywood or cardboard. 

Krylon spray paint dries so fast that by the time I finished one color, I could start working on the next! I just kept track of the order I sprayed them so each card gets the proper amount of time to dry.

Large Lawn Matching Game

Allow all the cards plenty of time to fully cure before stacking them up! (Especially if you’re heavy handed with the spray paint… I know I’m guilty of that!)

Step Six: Enjoy Your DIY Memory Card Game!

Bring this game to your next family get together!! I promise it will be a hit for adults and children alike!

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