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Spring Time Tic-Tac-Toe


I feel like I’ve been hibernating and now that the sun is out I’ve got many, many pages on my to-do list. This is a project I’ve had in mind since late December. Forget the boring X’s and O’s, it’s time to add some life to the game board with some insect-inspired stones.

DIY Game Tutorial

To make your own Ladybug vs. Bumble Bee tic-tac-toe game you will need:

  • large, rounded river rocks (I found mine at Dollar General)
  • Red, Black and Yellow paint
  • paint brush
  • wood round (or something for your board)

Painting the rocks is super simple but it may take a while if you need lots of coats. I needed about 5 coats for the yellow, 3-4 for the red and 2 for the black. The goal is to make happy little insect-like stones, no need to go crazy here! It’s simple enough that even my mom could do it (she banned pictionary from our home, that’s how much she loves drawing) so I promise that you can!

Decide which end will be the head and leave about 1/4 for the total length unpainted. For the bumble bees start painting yellow stripes across the top and down the sides. The number of striped you need will depend on the side of you rock and the width of your stripes. For the ladybugs paint about 3/4 of the stone red, after many coats add the black dots on top. I like the look of an odd number of spots myself but it’s up to you!

Painted Rock Tic-Tac-Toe

I free-handed the lines on the wooden disk (it’s one that didn’t get burned in the post-wedding bonfire!) in paint but if you were more motivated a wood burned game board would last much longer.

I can’t wait to get to use the game this summer, I love how fast the games go! One thing’s for certain, I’ll always be the ladybug team!


** The painted rocks can obviously be a choking hazard! Please watch young children when allowing them to play with this game


  1. Too cute! Pinning 🙂
    Jessie recently posted…Bachelorette Party Name Tags {Free Printable}My Profile

  2. Sheila Miller says:

    A perfect find at a perfect time! I will be working w/ a group of youth in 3 wks and needed one more project for their group….this is definitely IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Amber @ WhatAmberLoves says:

    This is absolutely adorable!

  4. This is really very cute! I’m going to start gathering rocks and do this for my granddaughter and I to play together!
    Elizabeth recently posted…‘Egg’cellent Friend GiftMy Profile

  5. What kind of paint did you use?

    • I used Apple Barrel High Gloss acrylic craft paint, it’s what I had around the house. I’m sure any acrylic paint would work

  6. Sabrinna says:

    One Thing that was left out, was how many? I Would Love to make this, but the number of bugs were Not specified

  7. Adorable! My 5-year-old girl is REALLY into tic-tac-toe lately – this would be such a fun project! Pinning now 🙂
    Kelly @ recently posted…Here’s a Quick Way to Deal With a Bored KidMy Profile

  8. Just had to tell you that your adorable Spring Time Tic-Tac-Toe inspired my project and post today. A good friend shared with me a pin of your idea and I knew immediately I had to create my own version. I absolutely adore your fun and creative take on such a classic game.
    Sam @ Thrive 360 Living recently posted…Garden Tic-Tac-ToeMy Profile

  9. Maro's kindergarten says:

    Hi! I loved the painted rocks ideas and I have featured you on my new blog post “Discovering nature: Painting & creating with rocks” .
    You can see it here:
    I would love your feedback! Have a nice day!

  10. Love this, too stinkin cute!

  11. This looks so fun! I was trying to think of an End of the School Year/Summer Fun project for my 9- and 10-year-old students and if I can find someone to cut up a tree for me, I think this will be it. I like to encourage them to be creative, be outside, and limit their media time. Thank you!
    Jennifer recently posted…Cooking Up A Little Learning, Social Studies-StyleMy Profile

  12. So cute – what a lovely idea! I’ve been painting loads of ladybirds and bumblebees the last few weeks – and love the idea of making a game board… now I got one to play on… all I need now is someone apart from the dogs to play with. Hahahah!
    Cathy recently posted…Summer’s here – and so are the bumblebees!My Profile

  13. Hi, These are gorgeous! Did you paint the underside too?

  14. Where did you get the wood round? Or was it cut from your yard? What is the diameter?

    • My brother-in-law is a park manager, the wood is cut from a cherry tree that fell down by a trail. If I had to guess I’d say it’s about 12-16 inches wide. The size of the wood you need will depend on the size of your rocks

  15. Perfect for Grandma Camp!

  16. Best idea ever. What a fun summertime project!

  17. This is such a cute idea! Pinning 🙂

  18. Absolutely lovely idea, my girls want me to make one like this as well 🙂
    Margot @ Coffee & Vanilla recently posted…Tried & Tested Products – The Round-up (July 2013)My Profile

  19. Yay! Those ladybugs are so cute! : )

  20. Thank you for all your wonderful ideas.

    Flying Kisses all the way from Turkey Antalya:-)))

  21. how would you make them waterproof, i did this with my class using normal paint but we want them outside what would you suggest?

  22. oweneen says:

    Well done, brilliant way to interact with the grandchildren, luvin it. Thnx for sharing

  23. I believe once acrylic paint dries it becomes water resistant

  24. I shared this same idea on my site a few months ago. I got the idea from my sister-in-law, but I wonder if she got it from you. Sorry if you stumbled on it and thought I copied. If I did, I didn’t know it. My sister-in-law brought all the stuff to do at our family reunion last year. Anyway . . . if the idea did come from you . . . thank you! We had a blast with it at the reunion.
    Heidi recently posted…DIY Paper Book CoverMy Profile

  25. susie anderson says:

    Ooh! I’m going to try this with Mijnleiff. It’s played on a 4×4 grid, involves a little more strategy and still finishes up in 5 minutes.

  26. Hi! We used your cute idea in our camping activities roundup on our blog today. Just wanted you to know- Thanks so much for such a cute idea! I can’t wait to make it with my own little ones!

  27. I’m not very good with paints ( worse than your mom) so I painted half red and half yellow and then made stripes and dots with a black sharpie. Came out great!

  28. Featuring your project in our studio this month. Will credit you as source in our project tutorial, with your permission!

  29. Awesome project! And it looks great! I want to make one for a friend. Did you use a preservative on the wood to prevent it from cracking over time? What did you use? I have been researching this and I haven’t found a practical way to stop it.

    • I was wondering the same thing. I just made one, but with daughter and boyfriends favorite NFL team vs other team. I was going to modge podge it, but wasn’t sure how it would look.

  30. So cute! What size wood round is that? Thanks so much!
    Krista recently posted…Spooky Halloween Ghost DIYMy Profile


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