Improved Catan Board.




If you've never played Catan, you probably wont know what a pain the original board is.
If you have played you know that it falls apart and is especially irritating to play with kids.
Since I have three boys who love the game, I had to come up with something.
We also wanted the option to take the game camping with us, so needed a way to store it, move it, and play it in the tent.
Hopefully this instructable will give you ideas for your own board.

After careful measurement I decided that my playing boards would be 24"X32".
I could have gone smaller, but wanted room on the whiteboard for some of the custom games we do.
I purchased a sheet of 4'X8' whiteboard Masonite for the board surface.
I also purchased the hinges, handle, felt and clamps.  
Total cost was around 100$.
Everything else was created from scraps, 

Step 1: (trace the Board, Then Cut It Out).

So I cut two pieces of the white board into 24"X32" pieces.
Then I placed the Catan pieces in the middle, (yes I measured) :)
I then placed a soup can on each piece so they wont move while I trace them.
Then I CARFULLY cut out the inner side of the trace.  I tried both a jig saw and a dremel, and the dremel was by far easier.
The key with cutting anything is going slow.
There are two sized boards, one for 2-4 players and one for 4-6.  So I repeat this step for each side.

Step 2: (the Box).

The inside measurements for the box are the same as your board pieces.  So I basically made a 45 degree angled frame about 10" deep.  I forgot to take some photos of the early box creation, mostly because I got in the zone.  So once I had the frame I measure some scrap particle board I had,to fit just right and used the nail gun to fix them in with wood glue.  Then I used some liquid nail over all the seams when the wood glue was dry (because I was sure my kids would drop it at least once).  I filled all the holes and cracks with wood filler.  Then sanded with 80 grit all over and removed the majority of imperfections, then finished sanding with some 120 grit.  I had a tiny about of gunstock and black walnut stain, so I mixed them and the color turned out pretty good I think.

Step 3: (Polyurethane, Felt and Fasteners).

I was happy with the finish at about 4 coats of polyurethane.  Needless to say that the finish is completely up to you.  You could paint it oil it distress it, but I stained it.  I choose blue felt, because it looked better than the green, and red was too loud.

I felted the inside fully, and under the whiteboard, with a general purpose adhesive.  You must use sparingly or it will bleed through the felt.  So I used an adhesive trowel to make sure the right about was used.

The idea is that the inside will store the game pieces for travel.

The unit when closed ended up being about ten inches thick, which is too big and weighs about thirty pounds.

So I would advise going WAY thinner, to save both some weight and bulk.

The good thing about my board being huge is that we can fit almost all our favorite games inside, not just Catan!

This is my first Instructable so be gentle and vote if you find it worthy!

Weekend Projects Contest

Participated in the
Weekend Projects Contest



    • Beauty Tips Contest

      Beauty Tips Contest
    • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

      Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest
    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest

    10 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This is pretty cool! I have played Catan at some friends of ours and it is very annoying the way to board goes all OVER the place. This is the answer!!
    Great Job!!

    2 replies
    Iron Cowbell

    5 years ago

    You could build a version so it could accommodate the original on 1 side and an expansion on the other.

    1 reply

    It does! It has the original on one side and expansion on the other. However now that you mention it...I'm not sure I actually showed that! Ill take a pic and update it to be more clear. Thanks!


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    This Instructable is only for the boards themselves and uses the hexes that came with the original boards.


    5 years ago

    I had the exact same idea but the problem with making a board like you made is that it makes it difficult to carry around and you can't use it for some of the settlers expansions. I do admire your creativity. Catan all the way!!!

    1 reply

    It is bulky however we consider it a fine trade. We play it on the carpet or anywhere, we even played it by the campfire this weekend. We also use several of the expansions from time to time, and they fit just fine (at least the ones we have). I would much rather deal with a little bulk for a few seconds rather than deal with getting an hour into a game and having a kid bump it and have to start over. Thanks for the comment!