Pipe Ball

For a great campsite or backyard game, try Pipe Ball! You can buy one at a sporting goods store or custom make one of your very own. Follow our directions below to make a unique Pipe Ball game that you and your family will have a ball playing!

How to Play

Pipe Ball can be played with multiple players and multiple teams. The object of the game is to toss a tennis ball into one of the pipes to score points. The first player or team to reach 21 points wins. Sounds easy, right? Not so fast!

Arranged on the ground are 10 pieces of pipe set up much like bowling pins, but there isn’t any space between them. The back row of pipes is the tallest and each row toward the front gets shorter. With the pipes being only 4″ in diameter and the tennis balls being 2.7″ in diameter, there isn’t a lot of room for error when you try to land the ball inside a pipe. Also, the bouncy nature of a tennis ball sends it flying left and right off of pipes when you miss the holes. For each turn, the thrower is given three tennis balls for three chances at scoring points. The back row of four pipes is worth the least amount of points at 1 point each. The next row of three pipes is worth two points, the next row of two is worth three points, and the front pipe is worth 5 points. The thrower makes all three throws during his turn and adds up any points he made. After retrieving the tennis balls from nearby bushes, campsites, or neighbor’s yards, now it is the other thrower’s turn. Play continues back and forth between players or teams until one reaches 21.

How to Make It

To make your Pipe Ball game, all you need are some pieces of drain pipe, zip ties, spray paint, number stickers, and a drill & saw! These can all be found at your home improvement store, and some you may have tucked away in a junk drawer or basement bin.

Supply List

116” of 4” drain pipe

Zip ties

Spray paint

Number stickers

1 5/8” deck screws

¼” drill bit

Jig walls: One that is 1 x 5 x 24 and two that are 1 x 6 x 24 (this is to make a guide for cutting your pipes)

At least 3 tennis balls, but having a few extras is always good.

Putting it Together
First you need to assemble your jig so that you have your guide for cutting the pipe. To do this you want to make sure the two 1 x 6 x 24 pieces are beveled 30 degrees on one end.

Lay the 1 x 5 x 24 piece flat and then put the other two up against it as walls. You will want to be sure that the bevels are level with one another. Then screw the walls into place with the deck screws.

Now it’s time to cut the pipe. Here are the dimensions for each, from the highest point of the pipe to the straight edge.

  • 4 pieces 14” long
  • 3 pieces 11.5” long
  • 2 pieces 9” long
  • 1 piece 7” long

Once you have the right length, use your jig to cut the 30 degree angle in the top of each piece.

Now you need to drill the holes that will hold them together! In order to “measure” where the holes go, you need to set them up, upside down! Turn them over and set them up in the triangle shape that they will be in once assembled. By “upside down” I mean put them on the angled ends. Once they’re all set up, mark on the bottom of each pipe where it touches the other pipes. One at a time, take the pipes, and continue that mark up the outside of the pipe. On this line, drill holes at ½ inch and 4 inches up from the bottom with your ¼” drill bit.

Before assembling the pipes, spray paint them in colors of your choice and stick numbers on them so they’re visible. The tallest pipes get a 1, the next tallest a 2, then 3, and 5 for the shortest.

Now all you have to do is assemble it! Set your pipes upside down again. Run the zip ties through the holes and secure them tightly. This will hold the game together and ensure that none of the pipes fall over while you’re playing.

Make this one of your regular camping trip or backyard games and you’ll have loads of great memories from playing it. Invite neighboring campers to your campsite to play Pipe Ball and make some new friends from far away places.

Do you play Pipe Ball? Share your fun Pipe Ball experiences with us in the comments below!