This painted stone tic-tac-toe game is almost as much fun to make as it is to play with. The simple-sew jack-o’-lantern bag doubles as a Halloween decoration and game board (on the back) and will keep track of your painted rocks when you are not playing with them or when they are not out on display. (They are almost too cute to put away!)
We painted our stones to look like ghosts, vampires, jack-o’-lanterns and Frankensteins, but you could paint yours to look like witches, black cats, werewolves, mummies, skulls, or bats or just leave them in solid colors like orange, green, black and yellow if you want to go with a minimalist look. The pumpkin bag is made from wool felt, so it is a fast and forgiving sewing project, no matter your skill level.Things You’ll Need
- Smooth, round stones (find them in nature or buy at craft stores)
- Acrylic paint in orange, yellow, white, black, green, purple and red
- Small paintbrushes
- Paper plates
- Water basin
- Paper towels
- Mod Podge (optional)
- 5-inch square of wool felt (2 orange and 1 black)
- Fabric scissors
- Wool yarn in green
- Bias tape or ribbon in orange
- Sewing machine with orange thread
- Sewing pins
Begin by sorting your rocks into similar shapes and sizes. You will need five rocks for each game board character. Think about which rock shapes would make good ghosts, pumpkins or whatnot.
Paint your rocks with a base layer of paint. We painted our vampire rocks purple and Frankensteins green. The pumpkins got an orange coat and the ghosts white. Let the paint dry completely while you wash your paintbrushes.
Use the handle of a paintbrush and dip it in black paint to make perfectly round ghost eyes on the white rocks. Wipe the paint off the end of your paintbrush after using it. You need the dipped-end technique a few times to paint these rocks, and keeping it clean is important.
Use the finest-tip brush you have (such as a liner or a script liner) to paint widow’s peaks and eyebrows onto the purple rocks and zigzag hair onto the green rocks.
Next, use the fine paintbrush to paint the striped lines onto the orange pumpkins. Flip the paintbrush around and dip the end to make little yellow “bolts” on the lower half of Frankenstein’s neck/jaw area.
Use white paint and the handle of the paintbrush to give white eye dots to the purple and green rocks. Then paint jack-o’-lantern faces onto the orange pumpkin rocks. Use a gentle hand to give the whites of the eyes a tiny dot of black for pupils. Wash your brush and then paint white mouths onto the Frankensteins and white, trianglular fangs onto the vampires. We also mixed a little green and yellow paint and dotted our Frank-faces with button noses. We finished up by painting a thin red line at the top of the fangs on the vampire rocks. By painting all of our rocks in this assembly line style, we wasted no time waiting for paint to dry and were able to make all of our game pieces in less than an hour.For a little added sheen, we sealed our painted stones with Mod Podge and let them dry completely. While they dried, we pulled out the felt, yarn, sewing machine, scissors and thread to make the pumpkin pouch.
Begin by braiding a few lengths of yarn together until you have about a 3 1/2-inch braid. Knot both ends, and snip the yarn with your scissors. Set the braid aside.
On one orange 5-inch square of felt, pin down four 5 1/2-inch pieces of orange bias tape or ribbon to look like a pound or number sign (#). I rounded the two horizontal pieces a little bit to mimic the lines in a pumpkin, but it ended up being barely noticeable.
Fold the yarn braid in half, and center it along the top of the orange square, with the ends of the handle on the inside of the bag, the opposite side of the bias tape. Stitch the ends down with your sewing machine.
With a second 5-inch square of orange felt, stitch a circle and several curved lines within it to make a pumpkin shape.
Cut two triangle eyes and a jack-o’-lantern mouth out of the black wool felt, and position them on the stitched pumpkin square.
Stitch the felt face pieces in place.
Place the two orange squares with right sides together (make sure the braid is at the top of your jack-o’-lantern sandwich). Pin the sandwich together and, leaving about 2 inches at the top, sew around the felt squares, rounding the edges slightly as you work.
Trim away the excess felt from the corners.
Turn the pumpkin right-side out through the 2-inch hole at the top.Use your scissors to make a tiny incision on both sides of the pumpkin opening, on the front and back. Thread a length of green yarn through all four holes as your bag’s closure.
Fill the bag with your now-dry painted stones and find a playmate to challenge to a spooky game of tic-tac-toe.
Whether you make a tic-tac-toe set exactly like the one we’ve made here or customize your own painted stones (and bags — you could make easy felt headstones, witch’s hats or full moons and flying bat bags using similar steps) you are in for a lot of fun painting, sewing and playing together.