Introduction: Rubber Bound - a Game With Rubber Bands

Hello everyone! What I have for you today is a two players table game that I invented. It's called rubber bound.

I have to admit that it is quite challenging and a little bit addictive. Moreover, I completely made it up, so you're totally free to change rules to your liking! At the end of this instructable you'll find the rules of the game and a few minutes of gameplay. If you decide to follow me in this build, I hope you have fun building and playing it :)


- 40x80cm plywood board (13mm thick)

- 35mm diameter wooden dowel (you'll need just a slice of it)

- 5mm wooden dowels (for a length of around 150cm in total)

- 113 washers (inner diameter should be 5mm, outer diameter at most 15mm)

- 3 colors of acrylic paint (and a brush)

- Epoxy glue (recommended, but other types of glue may work too)

- Drill and drill bits (5mm and 5,5mm standard bit, 15mm Forstner bit, countersink bit)

- RUBBER BANDS! (preferably colored, but it's not mandatory)

Step 1: Marking the Holes

Take the wooden board and divide it into horizontal lines, 5cm apart from one another. Then draw a line all around the board, 1cm away from the edge. Draw a dot in the exact center of the board and start marking dots 5 cm apart from each other on the entire board. If the dot happens to be on the edge of the board, mark it on the line 1cm from the edge instead.

The short sides will have a different treatment. Mark a total of 8 dots in the following pattern: space them from the lateral edges 1cm, 4cm, 10cm and 16cm. The result should look like the third picture. Repeat the same pattern symmetrically on the other side.

Once you marked all the dots, you may as well prick them with a needle (or something like that) and then sand the entire board in order to remove the pencil marks while leaving the dots barely visible. Sanding should not be avoided in this step because it will be harder later.

Step 2: Testing the Drilling Procedure and Making “the Ball”

This step is extremely important. Don't you dare make your first hole directly on the board, you may regret it! Take a scrap piece of wood instead and try the entire procedure. The plan is to make a 5.5mm hole with a counterbore, then paint the counterbore and stick a 5mm washer in the middle of it. You may use any mean you want, for example a CNC machine would make the job SOOOOO easy, but I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me (...he's just a poor boy from a poor family...!). Anyway, I managed to do it by hand with a drill, so I'm sure you'll succeed too. Here's the steps I followed for each one of the 113 holes:

  1. Drill a counterbore with a 15mm forstner bit. It should be deep enough to accomodate the washer, which ideally should be flush with the surface once it is stuck with glue, but keep this in mind: if the hole is too deep, it won't matter much, but if it's too shallow it may be a problem during gameplay. Note that this is probably NOT the right way to do a counterbore, but as I said, that's what worked for me!
  2. Drill a through hole with a 5.5mm standard bit. The forstner bit should have left a nice groove to center the bit.
  3. Drill a countersink on the other side (if you want. This will just make the final build nicer)

To test the holes, you may as well make "the ball" right now. It is a 18mm slice of the 35mm diameter wooden dowel. Make sure to sand its edges, as shown in the last picture.

Step 3: Drilling the Counterbores

As stated in the full procedure, drill the counterbores for each hole. Make sure NOT to drill the counterbores for the dots marked on the edge, because they will just have a 5mm through hole.

Make sure to test the ball flow before proceeding to the next step. If the counterbores are correctly done, the ball should slide over them even if filled with a washer (see fourth picture).

Step 4: Drilling Through Holes and Countesinks

You now have to complete the holes with a 5.5mm drill bit. The game will use 5mm dowels, so they will slide freely inside these holes. Make sure they are clean and the dowels can easly slide in and out of each hole.

You may also drill the holes marked around the edge of the board. This time use a 5mm drill bit. This way the dowels will fit snuggly inside those holes (you won't have to move them once you put them in). The holes on the edges may as well be countersunk, just for appearance.

Step 5: Painting and Gluing the Washers

Painting the counterbores is pretty important to define a placement rule for the rubber band (see game rules down below). You may skip this step if you understand how it is supposed to be placed, but the board will probably lose a lot of its charm...

Just use the three colors in an alternating pattern as shown in the pictures. If you want, you may decorate the board in this step, for example tracing the middle line or dividing the board into sectors (you can invent as many rubber bands games as you like, the rules you'll see at the end are just the first ones that came to my mind!).

When the paint is dry, you can glue the washers inside the counterbores. I made a few batches of 5-minutes epoxy (use gloves!) and glued the washers one by one, making sure to align them so that the 5mm dowels can easily fit. The washers are useful to prevent the wood from wearing out and the holes from becoming too loose.

Optional: you can spread a couple of layers of clear paint at this point. This will make the board shiny and perhaps the ball will slide better.

Step 6: Cutting the Pegs and Edge Pins

You now have to cut the 5mm wooden dowels into 3cm pieces. 50 of them should be enough. Stick one of them in each of the edge holes (you can also glue them if you want) and keep 17 to play the game. You may change the amount of pegs used to play the game, so make sure to make a few more in case you need them.

After the edge pins are in place, you can fit rubber bands between them all around the border. Depending on how you want to play the game, you might want to leave some of the edges free from rubber bands. For example, you'll see that I eventually chose to incorporate three doors for each side of the board instead of only one (check the video down below).

Step 7: Learn to Play RUBBER BOUND

RUBBER BOUND is now finished and ready to play! In this step I'll list the rules to play it the way I intended. Of course you're free to change any of them if you want :)

SETUP: before starting the game, 3 pegs are placed equally spaced in the middle row. Each player also places 7 more pegs in their own half of the field and 1 rubber band to their linking (refer to “rubber band positioning”). From now on we will call “bound pegs” the pegs which are wrapped by a rubber band (yeah, they are... rubber bound) and “free pegs”, the ones which are not.

RUBBER BAND POSITIONING: a rubber band can only be placed between 2 pegs in a straight line, in such a way that the rubber band crosses exactly three different colors OR exactly two equal colors. A rubber band cannot begin or end in the first or last row of the field.

THE TURN: the active player places the ball wherever he wants and uses his rubber band to throw it using the technique he prefers. Many outcomes are possible at this point:

  • The ball’s first hit is an opponent’s free peg ---> that peg is removed from the game (unless the opponent only has 3 pegs left);
  • The ball’s first hit is the opponent’s rubber band or a bound peg ---> nothing happens;
  • The ball’s first hit is a middle row peg ---> the active player gains that peg and places it in his field (unless he has 6 or more pegs already);
  • The ball ends out of the field somehow (not through a door) ---> nothing happens (overwrites any other outcome);
  • The ball passes through one of the opponent’s doors ---> the active player scores a point and the game is reset.

Note that wall bounces are allowed and won’t count as a “first hit”.

ENDING THE TURN: after the ball is shot and the outcome is checked, the active player MUST change the position of one of his pegs and the rubber band (always refer to “rubber band positioning”). He may also move one additional peg. It is now the opponent’s turn.

WINNING: First player that scores 3 points wins.

Step 8: Play RUBBER BOUND!

This video shows a gameplay example of RUBBER BOUND. I hope you liked this instructable, thank you for your attention and let me know if you build one yourself! Follow me on instagram @fabcolella if you want :D

Rubber Band Speed Challenge

Grand Prize in the
Rubber Band Speed Challenge