better homes & gardens

How to make a ball game
How to make a ball game

Gather your supplies

  • Body 1400 x 1200 x 15mm plywood
  • Arms (2) 650 x 250 x 15mm plywood
  • Supports (2) 655 x 320 x 15mm plywood
  • Tonsil 220 x 110 x 15mm plywood
  • Tooth panel (makes 2)1550 x 430 x 9mm plywood
  • Socket block ends (4) 70 x 55 x 15mm plywood
  • Socket block sides (8) 70 x 20 x 15mm plywood

You'll also need

Cheval mirror (ours measured 1570 x 485mm); Dulux Prepcoat 1 Step Acrylic Primer, Sealer & Undercoat; Dulux exterior acrylic in Alien (green), True Red, Black and White; jigsaw; drill; black permanent marker pen; cable ties (2); tent pegs; croaking frog motion detector (optional); mini roller; self-adhesive Velcro tape

Here's how


Step 1

Remove glass and backing, if any, from mirror frame. Discard glass and reserve backing. Sand frame to remove or key old coating. Apply 1 coat of primer, sealer, undercoat to frame. Allow to dry.

Step 2

Draw a 1400 x 1200mm crosshatch pattern of 100mm squares on plywood you’re using for body. Position mirror frame so it is 200mm down from top and centred. Mark around frame on inside and outside.

Step 3

Draw in remainder of main body shape using Body Diagram (see below). It may be necessary to adjust body slightly to suit your particular mirror frame shape. The mouth opening also takes its shape from mirror frame.

Step 4

Use jigsaw to cut out body shape, including mouth opening. You will need to drill a 10mm hole in each corner of mouth opening to start jigsaw. Then use Arm Diagram (see below) to cut out 2 arms and Tonsil Diagram (see below) to cut out tonsil. Use measurements on Support Diagram (see below) to mark and cut out 2 supports from 2 pieces of 655 x 320mm plywood. (Bottoms of supports slope back at about 5.5°, so body will lean back slightly, and feature pins that fit in socket blocks attached to body.) Cut out Socket Block pieces (see diagram, below) and screw the 4 socket block ends to the 8 socket block sides.

Step 5

Use reserved mirror backing, or mirror frame itself, to mark and cut out a full width tooth panel made of 1550 x 430 plywood. Make sure it fits in mirror recess in frame.

Step 6

Use mouth opening in body to mark in each side of tooth panel, then cut with jigsaw to make 2 sets of teeth.

Step 7

Paint front, back and edges of all components with 1 coat of primer, sealer and undercoat, making sure edge grain of plywood is well coated.

Step 8

Once undercoat is dry, paint edges of body and 2 arms in black (a mini roller makes this quick and easy). When dry, paint fronts and backs of these 3 components, as well as supports and socket blocks in green.

Step 9

Paint each set of teeth in white, then paint mirror frame lips and tonsil in red. Apply a second coat, if necessary, to get a good depth of colour.

Step 10

When sets of teeth are dry, use Tooth Panel Diagram (see page 239) as a guide to mark in tooth outlines. Use a fine brush to work your way around outline of teeth in black paint so they stand out in sharp contrast.

Step 11

Use Body Diagram (see page 239) as a guide to mark and colour in eyes and nostrils. Start by painting eye sections in white with a small brush. It may be necessary to apply 2 or 3 coats to cover green. When eye sections are dry, use permanent marker to draw in bottom outline of each eye and colour in irises and nostrils.

Step 12

Use a small amount of red paint on tip of fine paintbrush to draw in veins of bloodshot eyes.

Step 13

Time to put your footy-eating monster together. Screw each set of teeth to back of mirror frame.

Step 14

Place mouth assembly on front of body, align, then screw on from back of body. Screw arms to sides on back of body.

Step 15

Directly under nostrils on back of body, drill two 5mm holes about 30mm apart. Don’t drill through mirror frame, just into gap between body and mirror frame. Drill a matching pair of holes in top of tonsil.

Step 16

Position supports on each side of body so they are flush and square at bottom and 300mm in from bottom edges of body. Slide socket blocks over pins of supports and mark positions on body. Remove, then glue and screw blocks to body. Test fit supports to make sure they slide in easily.

Step 17

Feed cable ties through holes behind mirror frame in body and top of tonsil and secure so tonsil flaps easily. (This is the target you’re aiming for when passing ball.) As an optional extra, give your monster a voice by attaching a small croaking frog motion detector behind mirror frame and in line with centre of tonsil using Velcro tape.

Step 18

To stop your footy- eating monster running away, drill a pair of angled 7mm peg holes in bottom of each leg and use pegs to hold game down.

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