How can I reuse, recycle or pass on old board games?

We’ve had an email from Harrie:

We’ve got lots of board games (Monopoly and such) from when the kids were little but they’re not in good condition so I don’t think charity shops will take them. What else can I do with them?

As long as they’ve still got all/enough pieces, games like that don’t need to be in pristine condition to be fun. Perhaps offer them honestly on your local Freecycle/Freegle group – someone might just be grateful to have them whatever the condition, especially if they’re going to be playing with similar destructive kids ;) Or someone might want them for “spares and repairs”, or to make things out of the game pieces.

What could they make? Jewellery from the pieces, notebook covers from the board, decorative decoupage with paper money/cards – quick searches on Etsy shows all sorts of things being made from old Monopoly, Risk and Cluedo game parts — and that some people are selling the raw materials too (especially if they’re vintage games). Of course, you could make those things yourself too if you’re the crafty sort :)

Any other suggestions for Harrie? What have you done with old board games?

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10 Responses to “How can I reuse, recycle or pass on old board games?”

  1. Peter Darby says:

    Over on Boardgame Geek, there are a good few ideas:

    1. Use the board to build a fancy dice tower for rolling dice for other games.

    2. Use the parts as a base for making a print-and-play (pnp) game more sturdy (re-use the board by pasting the new paper board over the top, paste new cards onto the old card, etc).

    3. Classic, well known board games make a great set of resources for art projects.

    4. Get together with someone else with an incomplete set and see if you can make up a complete set with the parts you both have, whether to keep, gift or thrift.

  2. emma says:

    I would use it in crafts, to make earrings, bracelets and such. Or make cards or with the words from an Old scrabble.

  3. Local children’s charities are always looking for things like this.

    Many people like Harrie don’t bring these games to charity shops etc because they think they might not be wanted.

    The truth is, is that they are actually really in demand. There’s not enough people doing this.

  4. Andrea says:

    Game boards might make cool artwork to hang in a game room/rec room?

  5. Shelley says:

    Check with your local social services office to see if they would like them to give to families who care for foster children. We have an entire “shop” where foster parents can get clothing, games, books, toys, etc. It is a fantastic idea, helps the kids, and is a real money saver for the families. Plus, you can usually write it off as a tax deduction! :)

  6. wendopolis says:

    I like to hang the boards in my kids’ rooms. They’ve already lost all the pieces, so… :)

  7. The boards could be used as place mats with a lick of varnish. Alternatively, the Scraptors take recycled stuff for use in their sculptures. Visit: or email them:

  8. Tyg och otyg says:

    I’m about to make a peg rack using some thrifted chess pieces for pegs, I’m sure you could also use other kinds pieces for that.
    I have also, as suggested above, used Scrabble letters to make cards earlier (pics here and here

  9. I created several art pieces by combining the game of life, monopoly, clue and by also using magazine and encyclopedia cuttings to create my own game board. The title is Get a Clue About the Game of Life.

  10. Print out new graphics, make up your own rules and recycle the old game in to something new.

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