Personalized Matching Game

About: incoming PhD student to the School of Information at the University of Michigan | she/her/hers

Hello! I recently wanted to practice making a game with some of the materials/tools we have in the lab, and so I decided on a lab-themed matching game (complete with custom slack reacts and lab logo). I was pretty happy with the final product, and it was fun to come up with so I wanted to share the process in case anyone was interested in making their own!

I did a lab theme, but you could easily replace the matching tiles with images of your family, friends, things you like, etc.. This took me a while to complete (maybe like 3 hours) because a) I had to think about what theme I wanted, b) there were other people working with the tools (read: I was goofing around) and c) I had a lot of trial and error. But if you have a theme in mind (and if this instructable helps) it shouldn't take more than an hour and a half to make! Probably even less if you don't use the cricut to draw images... Depends on what you want!

Supplies:

I made this in a makerspace (aka the lab I work in) so I had access to the tools and materials listed below in there. So if you don't have these tools at the ready, I would try looking up if there is a free makerspace near you (they are starting to become popular in libraries, or you can check this website if there is somewhere near you).

Materials for cards:

  • Printer paper
  • Glue (I used a glue stick)
  • Pictures you want to use to match (I used emojis/reacts)
  • A picture/icon/drawing you want to use for the back (I used our lab logo)
  • Cardboard
  • (Optional) Markers for the Cricut
  • (Optional) Scissors

Materials for box (Optional):

  • Cardstock (12"x12")
  • (Optional) tape, because my box tore in some places

Tools:

  • Laser cutter (I used a glowforge because that's whats in the lab)
  • Color printer
  • Laptop/Computer with Word (or something similar)
  • (Optional) Cricut Air 2

Step 1: Pick a Theme

This part took me a while because I wasn't sure what I wanted to match, but once I settled on it, the process was pretty straightforward. I thought about:

  • Tools we have in the lab
  • People who work here
  • My family/friends
  • Words/phrases related to research
  • .... some other things I've forgotten

I settled on the reacts because there is a lot of them and they are easy to find (didn't have to search through millions of pictures), so if you have a collection of pictures you like then that will work well for this. I did 18 pairs, but this could definitely be altered based on your preference.

Step 2: (Optional) Cricut the Design for the Back

So there is a paper that I really like, and it happened to be printed out and not being used so.... I used it as the back for the matching game. We have a Cricut Explore Air 2 and a bunch of different color markers for it, so I:

  1. cut out the paper to get the parts I wanted to draw on
  2. opened the design space and made a bunch of copies of the logo
    1. I spaced them out about so that the cards would be ~2.5" wide and ~1.5" tall, but you can do bigger or smaller depending on what you want!
  3. had them drawn on the paper

...and did this ~3 times to get the number of cards I wanted (18 x 2 = 36).

This part is optional because you could print out an image for the back, or simply not use a background image. It was also the most time consuming part because drawing the logo took a long time, and I had to redo some. I really wanted to use this paper and the cricut though, so I waited.

Step 3: Laser Cut the Matching Tiles

After I got the images ready for the back, I glued the papers to cardboard so the tiles would be sturdy. Then I placed the cardboard with the logo/image facing up in the bed of the laser cutter.

Once I did that, I uploaded matchinggame.svg (attached) to the glowforge app. It's good to make tiles about 2.5inx1.5in. The settings I used to cut it out of cardboard ~.15in thick were power 80 and speed 200.

I centered the rectangle over each of the logos by copying and pasting the tile outline and dragging it over the images from the camera. Once I had one for every logo, I set it to cut and started printing out the tiles!

Step 4: Laser Cut & Glue the Matching Images

Once I had all the tiles cut out, they still had to have the actual matching images put on the other side. To do this, I:

  1. made a new word document
  2. copied and pasted the images about the size I wanted them into the doc. There were 18 images, and two of each so I could match them
  3. printed out the document with all the images/words that I wanted

Once I had the images I wanted, I placed the papers image side up in the bed (without glueing them to cardboard, so I would just get the image part). Using the same method and template as before, I cut out the images from the paper. The only thing I changed was the settings for power/speed, which was power 15 and speed 500. This allowed the tiles to not be completely be cut out of the paper, but easily removable once I wanted to take them out.

When the images were done, I started gluing them to the cardboard tiles. To attach them to the cardboard tiles, I put glue on the paper (image down) and placed the cardboard tiles (logo up) on the glued part of the paper. Then, I was able to remove the tile, now with the image attached, from the paper.

Do this for each tile, and you'll have a complete matching game!

Step 5: (Optional) Make a Box to Hold the Game

I wanted it to feel more official, so I made a box to keep the game in. If you use the same dimensions that I did, this box (simple shipping box) cut out of a 12"x12" sheet of cardstock should just do the trick. I used the laser cutter again, with the design in the link (credit to Ray Scott, who did the design for that box and put in online!), and cut it out of ~.015in cardstock with power 35 and speed 400.

This worked for me with the dimensions I used and 36 tiles. I then decorated the box to make sure people know what's inside!

And that's it! I hope that your personalized matching game turns out well and you have a fun time playing!

Games Contest

This is an entry in the
Games Contest

Share

    Recommendations

    • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

      Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest
    • Beauty Tips Contest

      Beauty Tips Contest
    • Sew Tough Challenge

      Sew Tough Challenge

    Discussions