My brother-in-law Paul recently reached the grand old age of thirty, so rather than just buy him a gift I decided to make him something a little more personal - and what could be better than a personalised version of the classic board game Operation?

This Instructable will take you through the construction process of creating O-Paul-Ration! so that you can follow it step by step, should you so choose. You might decide that not every step is strictly necessary, but I've documented the whole (lengthy) process all the same. And since I was forced to bodge a few things along the way, I've included a section at the end of things that I think I would have worked out better if I'd approached them a different way. Feel free to make any adjustments to my (shoddy) methods that you feel necessary.

And yes, I know that there are already a couple of Instructables on making Operation on the site, but they all lack one vital element - personalisation. And photos of my chubby fingers.

Step 1: Things I Used

Here is a list of all of the materials and tools I used in the creation of my board game.


  • White A4 Paper
  • White A4 Card
  • 1 aerosol can of Permanent Spray Adhesive
  • 1 roll of Clear Cover Film
  • 4 sheets of red Fun Foam
  • 1 3mm red LED
  • 1 roll of red Equipment Wire (FA33L from Maplin)
  • 1 roll of black Equipment Wire (FA26D from Maplin)
  • 1 6V Buzzer (FL39N from Maplin)
  • Lead-free solder
  • 1 Battery Box for 4xAA batteries (HF29G from Maplin)
  • 1 roll of Garden Wire
  • 1 pair of metal tweezers
  • 1 packet of Air-Dry Modelling Clay
  • Superglue
  • 1 A4 picture frame
  • 1 Black Hama bead
  • 1 Retractable Pencil
  • Various other pencils, pens and paints


  • Craft knife or scalpel
  • Soldering Iron
  • Hot glue gun
  • 12" Metal ruler
  • Nail scissors
  • Wire stripper
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Large cardboard box
  • Cutting mat
Do you have to use wire that is 5mm thick? Or can I use something smaller?
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Great job with the build and the 'able. As I recall boring old normal operation uses a metal sheet with the same shape of holes cut a tiny bit smaller. I guess it's a personal preference deciding if that way would be easer then bending the wires, but if you are going to the trouble of cutting/drilling to make it out of wood you might want to consider it. I'm sure it would be pretty easy with a drill press.
Yeah, the trick would have been getting the holes in the metal sheet slightly smaller than the holes in the top layer. Unfortunately I have neither the tools or the skills to do it, but the option's there for anyone else who wants to have a go.
maybe just a sheet of tin foil under the top layer? surely that's much easier than bending wire loops? great effort here though, well done.
Easier? Yes, definitely. But I wanted to ensure that the game would withstand multiple plays, and I discounted tin foil as not being strong enough. Thinking about it now there are plenty of changes I'd make - a sheet of strong card with appropriately sized holes would have lent the tin foil the strength it would need. All of this is worth bearing in mind should someone else have a go at the project.
So are you not American?
Nope. Why?
Just wanted to know
Ah, because of the whole chip/french fry thing, right? I'm with you.
This is amazing!!! Absolutely loved it. So useful and easy to follow. More from alfly please. Paul is a very lucky brother in law x
Alffly made this game for my husband and it's brilliant. The personalisation was very funny and made the game a lot of fun to play. The finished product looks great and works really well. In my opinion the photos don't do justice to how nice the game looks. Gotta admit - I hadn't realised how much work had gone into it! Alf the instructions are nice and easy to follow. So easy in fact that I think you should do another one...
Cheers, chuck! And now you're a member, I reckon the ball's in your court. Where's <em>your</em> first Instructable? ;)<br/>
I think a real picture would have looked better. However, great job. It looks great despite that.
The trick would have been getting hold of a photograph of my brother-in-law in just his boxer shorts. I can't really think of any good way to make that happen. A picture of him in a dress would be no problem, but in his boxer shorts? Nope. :)
I don't think I want to know about the dress bit. Haha. Well you could have done a fully dressed picture, I guess.

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