Things You'll Need
- Sturdy white cardboard
- Sharp awl or punch
- Sharpened golf pencil
- Bowl or other pattern (optional)
Many board games rely on spinners to control the movement of game pieces. Homemade spinners are particularly useful because you can include up to eight outcomes, if you wish, and weight them as desired. You can design homemade spinners to accompany games that you have created. Spinners are outstanding tools to use in situations where dice might be inconvenient or difficult to toss safely. You can create game spinners that allow less experienced players or those with special needs to participate in games that might otherwise be too difficult.
Create a shape from the cardboard to use as the spinner. This shape should be as nearly perfect as possible. Trace a bowl for a circle, or use a ruler to create an accurate triangle, hexagon or octagon. It is important for the shape to be constructed accurately so the spinner will be properly balanced. Cut the shape out.
Find the exact center of the shape by balancing it on the point of the pencil. Make a small mark on the underside of the spinner so you can find the correct point when it is time to make the hole.
Use the center as a reference point and divide the spinner into sections radiating outward from the middle. If you chose to make a polygon shape, your spinner should have a section for each side. Spinners made from hexagons can have six sections, for example. A circular spinner can have between two and eight sections. A greater number of sections will make the spinner more difficult to read.
Decorate the sections of the spinner with numbers, colors or other markings to control game movements. If you wish all possible outcomes to have equal probability on a given spin, make sure that each is represented in an equal number of sections. You can increase the odds of a particular outcome by increasing the number of sections that have that marking you want to favor. For example, if you have a hexagonal spinner and wish to favor an outcome of number four, place a four in two or more of the sections and use only one section each for other numbers.
Using the guide mark showing the center of balance, punch a hole through the cardboard with the awl or punch. Push the sharpened pencil through the hole so the decorated side of the spinner is face up and the point is on the undecorated side.
Put the pencil point on a hard, smooth surface that will not be damaged by pencil markings. Spin the pencil sharply so it twirls on its point. When the twirling slows, the spinner will fall and come to rest so that one section is touching the table. That is the chosen outcome to use in the game.
Sandy Fleming is a writer and educator from Michigan with master's and bachelor's degrees in special education. She has been writing for the Web for more than 10 years and does private tutoring with children and adults. Her areas of expertise include educational and parenting topics as well as how-to articles and informative pieces. Fleming writes for numerous Internet publications and the local newspaper.