Introduction: How to Build and Play a Game of Ladders
Ladders is a simple game played in American campgrounds. Golf balls connected by rope (known as bolos) are tossed at the constructs alternately by two teams. The goal is to wrap the bolos around one of the three rungs of the ladder, gaining points for your team.
The entire project costs approximately $35 and can be built in 2-3 hours. Prices may vary by time and location.
This instructable was written as a project for a technical writing class in the Spring of 2011. The authors implore you to use all tools safely and are not responsible for any injury associated with attempting to build or play ladders.
Step 1: Materials List
• Safety Goggles
• Safety Gloves
• Drill (not pictured)
• Tape Measure
• Circular Saw
• 12 Golf Balls
• At least 6 feet of 5/32" rope of one color
• At least 6 feet of 5/32" rope of another color
• Matches or Lighter (not pictured)
• Paper Towels
• PVC Cleaner
• PVC Cement
o Three 10ft x ½" pipe (one and a half pictured)
o Two 10ft x ¾" pipe (one pictured)
o Eight ½" Tee joints (four pictured)
o Four ½" Elbow joints (two pictured)
o Eight ¾" Elbow joints (four pictured)
o Four ¾" x ½" Tee joints (two pictured)
Step 2: Safety Precautions and Preparations
How to Cut PVC pipe
1) Wear safety goggles and gloves while completing theses steps.
2) Mark the appropriate length for the cut you desire.
3) Hold the PVC pipe steady on a saw horse.
4) Cut the PVC pipe with circular saw across the mark you made.
How to Clean and Glue PVC pipe
1) Wear safety gloves while completing these steps.
2) Apply cleaner to the outside of the PVC pipe and the inside of the joint.
3) Apply glue to the outside of the PVC pipe and the inside of the joint and push together.
4) Wipe away any excess glue.
5) Hold the connection together for 30 seconds.
Be sure to lay down newspaper before you cut.
1) Cut the ¾” PVC pipes into four 2’ pieces (two for each set) and eight 1.5’ pieces (four for each set).
2) Cut the ½” PVC pipes into twelve 1’ pieces (six for each set) and six 2’ pieces (three for each set).
Step 3: Building the Ladders
Be sure to lay down newspaper before you glue. Start with the sides and add the crossbar.
1) Connect a 90 degree ¾” elbow joint to the 1.5’ ¾” PVC pipe.
2) Repeat step 1 with three times.
3) Connect two of the 1.5’ ¾” PVC pipe with elbow pieces to the ends of a 2’ ¾” piece.
4) Repeat step 3 with the other two 1.5’ ¾” PVC pipe with elbow pieces.
5) Clean and Glue all joints together.
Be sure to lay down newspaper before you glue. Start at the top and work your way down.
1) Connect a 90 degree ½” elbow joint to the 1’ ½” PVC pipe.
2) Repeat step 1.
3) Connect the two 1’ ½” PVC pipes with elbow joint to the ends of a 2’ ½” PVC pipe.
4) Connect two ½” T-joints to the ends of a 2’ ½” PVC pipe.
5) Connect the 2’ ½” PVC pipe with T-joints to the product of step 3.
6) Connect two 1’ ½” PVC pipes to the open T-joints in the product of step 5.
7) Connect two ½” T-joints to the ends of a 2’ ½” PVC pipe.
8) Connect the 2’ ½” PVC pipe with T-joints to the product of step 6.
9) Connect two 1’ ½” PVC pipes to the product of step 8.
10) Connect two ¾” to ½” T-joints to the product of step 9. This is the bottom of the ladders game.
11) Clean and Glue all joints together.
How to make bolos
Bolos don't have to be exactly the same length, but within an inch of each other is ideal.
1) Wear safety goggles and gloves while completing these steps.
2) Grab two golf balls and drill 1/4” holes through the middle of each ball.
3) Cut a 22” piece of rope.
4) Put the rope through the holes in the golf balls.
5) Tie knots on both sides of the golf ball to hold the ball in place.
6) To make sure the rope stays tied, burn the knots a little.
7) Repeat steps 2-6 five times. Use one color of rope for three bolos and a different color of rope for the other three bolos.
Step 4: Playing Ladders
1) Slide the bases into the ladders.
2) Place ladders facing each other anywhere between 15 and 30 feet apart.
3) Divide into two teams of two players.
4) Determine which team throws first.
5) Stand at the opposite ladder from your teammate.
1) Collect all bolos to the side whose turn it is.
2) Take turns throwing to the opposite ladder.
• To start the next round, the team that scored in the previous round will have the first throw.
3) Score the round.
• Score 21 points to win.
• A bolo hung on the top rung is worth three points, two on the middle rung, and one on the bottom.
• A bolo that is knocked off the ladder is worthless.
• If both teams hang a bolo on the ladders, the points negate each other. For example, if:
o Blue team hangs a bolo on the top rung, and
o red team hangs a bolo on the middle rung,
o the points cancel and blue team earns one point for the round.
• A single bonus point can be earned if:
o You hang all three bolos on the top rung without the other team hanging any on the ladder.
o You hang a bolo on each rung.
• If you score enough points in a round to go over 21, the next round you will start with 17 points.
• Bounces don’t count and are immediately removed from the ladder upon throwing.