Tic Tac Toe Board Makeover – Farmhouse Style

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My 17-year-old son came home from school and headed to the garbage can…..he was going to throw away this tic tac toe board project he had made in woodworking class. The DIY’er & mom in me could not allow him to do that!!

Here’s what it looked like. Not bad, huh?

tic tac toe board made from wood with green o's and orange x's

I was so proud of him! Just like a typical teenager, he didn’t care. The project was done he was graded and he had moved on….lol.

I however didn’t want it to get thrown away. Since he didn’t care, I set out to find a way to keep it but have it match my decor a bit more. (sorry green and orange don’t quite go with my decor!)

Here I will show you how I updated it, and share the plans on how to build a tic tac toe board with you in case you want to make your own.

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I’ve always wanted a tic tac toe set for the coffee table. In fact, I almost just bought this one last week! Here’s how I updated my son’s handiwork to blend in with my decor.

STEP 1 – Sand

The first thing I did was to give the wooden pieces a good sanding. I was able to do a lot of it by hand, but I did need to pull out the sander for a few sections.

orange wooden letter x and sandblock

Step 2 – Paint Tic Tac Toe Board

Next, I decided to paint the board black. I made sure to get the inside edges first and then do around the outsides.

tic tac toe board frame wooden in process of being painted

Step 3 – Paint Wooden X’s & O’s

I had some white chalk paint laying around, so I used it! It took a few coats to cover up the orange and green but it went fairly quick.

black wooden tic tac toe board and white wooden letters mid makeover

Step 4- Change your mind

I was not loving how it looked with just the black and white. My house is mostly farmhouse style, but it just wasn’t working for me.

I wished I had sanded down the wooden X’s completely and went with a stain. Can you stain over paint? I was about to find out….

tic tac toe board white painted letters black wood frame

Step 5 – Stain Over Paint

What could it hurt to try? I grabbed some Kona Stain I had leftover and gave it a try, what’s the worst that could happen?

brown stain over white painted wooden letter
stained wood letter x and stain rag

I was pleasantly surprised that the stain took great! Also, it only took one coat! This was already looking so much better.

brown stained x's and white painted o's on tic tac toe board make from wood

Step 6 – Sand a bit more

I took some sandpaper and just went back over everything to smooth out any bumps from the paint and stain.

Step 7 – Distress Black Tic Tac Toe Board

The black tic tac toe board was too clean for my taste. I wanted to give it more of a rustic industrial farmhouse vibe.

So I took some sandpaper and just roughed up the edges here and there to distress it. It looks so much better now!

piece of sandpaper used to distress edges of tic tac toe board
black wooden tic tac toe board distressed

Step 8 – Add X’s & O’s and start playing

After everything had dried, it was time to put the pieces back in and enjoy! I love the way it turned out, but even more I love that my son made it. This will be enjoyed for years to come.

Table top wooden tic tac toe board with black frame white o's and brown x's

How do you think it turned out?! I’m all about decorating on a budget so this fits right in with my style 🙂

Make sure to check out more of our DIY Projects!

How to make a wooden tic tac toe board (lap joint)

In case you want to make your own board, here are the plans to it.

  1. Cut out 4 pieces from 2×4 16-1/2″ long. (Keep any pieces that are at least 3-1/2″ long for the letters)
  2. Plane down the 2×4’s so that they are 1″ thick. Sand the pieces with 80/150/220 sandpaper.
  3. Rip down the 2×4’s to 1-1/2″ wide. You should have a total of 8 pieces.
  4. Measure and mark all 8 pieces the same for the lap joints. Mark where it is being cut out.
  5. Use a table saw and dado blades cut 4 of the pieces. With the bandsaw, cut the opening for the lap joints on 4 of the pieces.
  6. Test fit your pieces together and check for flushness. If necessary, make any adjustments.
  7. Glue the tic tac toe board together
  8. Cut the wooden letters to 3-1/2″ x 3- 1/2″. Continue to cut out the shapes.
  9. Once everything has dried, remove any excess glue and paint.

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  1. Wow! You’d never know this beautiful tic tac toe board was once orange and green! A gorgeous transformation for sure!

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