How to Make a Backyard Pipe Ball Game

Pipe ball combines the challenge of Skee Ball with the fun of ring toss. It’s simple to make, easy for kids to play and interesting enough for adults to play too (even with a cocktail in hand).

By: Carla Wiking

Tools and Materials

  • 4" PVC pipe
  • scrap wood
  • wood screws
  • painter's tape
  • 4 colors of spray paint
  • (18) 1/4" x 3/4" bolts with nuts
  • vinyl number stickers
  • wood dowel or stick
  • tennis balls
  • miter or circular saw
  • hand saw
  • drill

Step 1: Make Jig

To make sure all the pipes are cut at a uniform angle, create a jig from scrap wood. With a miter or circular saw, cut two pieces of wood at a 35-degree angle. Screw these boards to a 4-1/2” wide piece of wood so that the angled edges form a diagonal line.

Step 2: Cut Pipes

Cut the pipes to the following sizes (all measurements are taken from the highest point):

Row 4 - four pieces at 6-1/2”
Row 3 - three pieces at 10”
Row 2 - two pieces at 13-1/2”
Row 1 - one piece at 17”

To avoid extra cuts, measure from the straight edge of the pipe to your desired height, place that mark at the lowest edge of the jig and, using a hand saw, cut the pipe at an angle. This will give you your first piece. Next measure your desired height from the top of the angle still attached to the length of pipe and cut a straight edge, this will give you your second piece. Repeat these steps until you have all ten pieces cut.

Step 3: Mark Connection Points

Set up your pipes on a level surface in a pyramid shape with the tallest at the back. Use a marker to mark where the pipes intersect. Then use a pencil to draw lines from those marks along the sides of each pipe. Mark the hole placements by measuring from the flat edge of the pipe to the following points:

Row 4 – 3” for all holes
Row 3 – 3” for front holes, 5” for side holes, 7-1/2” for back holes
Row 2 – 7-1/2” for front and side holes, 9” for back holes
Row 1 – 9” for front holes

Step 4: Drill Holes

Drill holes where you made your marks. Make sure to check that the holes line up as you go.

Step 5: Paint


Run painter’s tape along the inside edges of the pipes and stuff the holes with paper. Paint each row a different color. Optional: You may also wish to paint a stick to serve as a throw line and tennis balls to coordinate with your game.

Step 6: Affix Numbers


Place the point numbers along the top of the inside edge of each pipe. The tallest will be marked 100, row two will be 50, row three 25, and row four will be worth 10 points each.

Step 7: Connect Pipes


Place the pipes together and attach by running the bolts through the drilled holes. Hand tighten all the nuts for a nice snug arrangement.

Step 8: Play!


Place the throw-line stick anywhere from 6 to 15 feet from the pipes, the further away the more difficult it is to win. Each player stands behind the line and gets three throws per turn. The first to score over 100 wins!

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