Introduction: Make Your Own Portable Mancala Set

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Mancala is a popular 2-player board game that was invented in Africa hundreds of years ago. According to Wikipedia, what is known as Mancala in America is actually the game Kalah, which was introduced by William Julius Champion Jr. in the early 1900s.

This game is played with a board that has 2 rows with 6 holes in each row. There is also a pit at each end of the board. You can find a picture of a Mancala set here.

I am going to show you how to make one of these by yourself and save around $20 and the trouble of searching for a set in stores. Plus, who doesn't enjoy working hard and making their own stuff? Also, it's portable, so you can take the set anywhere you want!

For more on the gameplay of Mancala, check out Wikipedia or YummyPancakes' tutorial.

This is my first instructable, so try not to be too harsh :)

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Tools required:
-A ruler
-A sharp knife (A utility knife is recommended)
-Duct Tape
-Regular Tape (Masking tape is fine)
-Pen or pencil
-Optional: Some paint, colored markers or pencils for decoration

Materials needed:
-Two egg cartons*
-Counters (e.g. rocks, seeds, paper clips, coins, marbles, etc.) You need to be able to fit about 7 or 8 in one pocket, just in case. I chose peanuts, but it's up to you. There should be 48 in total.

Note: The cartons should have 6 pockets each. If you have a 12-egg carton, it's a harder process, but you should still be able to accomplish the task. I made the set with two 6-egg cartons, so I don't have pictures showing the 12-egg carton method.

Step 2: Take What You Need From the Egg Carton

For people with two 6-egg cartons:

Take one of the two cartons.

First cut off the top section (Image 1). You will need this later on.

Then cut off the closing tab thingy if you have one (Image 2).You can throw this away.

Do the same for the other carton.

For people with one 12-egg carton:

Cut off the entire top section (Image 1). Save this for later.

Carefully cut the egg carton in half so that each half is a 6-egg carton. Make sure each pocket has a full boundary (Look at Image 2).

Cut off any other tabs sticking out (Image 2 again).

Step 3: Making It Portable: Cutting the Cones

Now you have to make it foldable so you can take it with you. To do this, take out your ruler, pen/pencil, and utility knife.

On one and only one of the cartons (or one half if you have a 12-egg carton), measure about 3.5 cm down the cones. Draw a line around as shown in the first picture. Use the knife to cut where the line is. The way I did this was to saw through 3 sides of the cone, and cut off the last side using scissors, as shown in the third picture.

Now, if you put the other carton, with the cone facing down, into the holes we just made, it should fit snugly. Your set is coming together.

Next, we have to attach the two cartons.

Step 4: Making It Portable: Attaching the Cartons Part 1

To attach the cartons, first put a diamond of regular tape over the place where they meet. To secure it, put 2 strips of duct tape on the sides of the diamond and fold them down, like in the picture. Also, add a couple of strips on each of the touching corners, shown in picture 3

This isn't the strongest hold, but glue is not an option, as the carton needs to be able to fold over.

IMPORTANT: If you have a 12-egg carton, turn each half around so that the outer ends are touching each other when you tape them, not the ends you just cut apart. (see image 4)

Now fold the carton with the holes over to the right so it looks like picture 5.

Step 5: Making It Portable: Attaching the Cartons Part 2

On the side that you taped on the inside, strengthen the bond. Add some strips of duct tape to the middle, as shown in the pictures. Then add duct tape to the sides. I'm sorry, but I don't have pictures for that.

Step 6: Creating the Pits

Remember the piece of the carton I told you to save at the beginning? Well, we're going to use it now.

Place the piece under the carton like shown in the second picture. Place it so that there is a lot of space for the counters. There can be up to 48 counters in there, so make it a good size. Take it back out, and draw a line where you want the pit to end, like in picture 3. Cut on the line, and use the bigger piece. You can throw away the other one.

Put rolled-up duck tape on the sides, like in picture 6. Also, put glue so it sticks to the bottom of the carton. Preferably hot glue, but I didn't have any. Picture 7 is what it should look like if you did it right. Repeat the process on the other side, so that there are 2 pits, or mancalas.

Step 7: Decorating Your Set

It's time to make your mancala set look professional.

Use paint to decorate the interior of the box. I didn't have any so I had to use markers lying around. I labeled the pits A and B so players know which one is theirs during game play. You can decorate your set however you want, though. I'm planning to give mine a better paint job when I get around to it.

It's time to finally lay back on your couch and relax -- maybe have a warm cup of tea or watch some TV.

Don't forget to post some pictures of your own homemade mancala sets!

Step 8: Play the Game!

Once you find a partner to match your awesome mancala-playing skills against, fill each pocket with 4 counters of your choice (I mentioned the different possibilities at the start of the 'ible). All counters need to be the same material (all marbles, all rocks, etc.). I used peanuts, but this is risky as you might be compelled to sneak a few counters into your mouth during game play ;-)