Catherine Gracey

Living Life, One Misadventure At A Time.

How to Make a Foreign Language Scrabble Tile Set

on September 18, 2013

Scrabble is one of those games that never seems to get old. The game forces you to consider words in new ways, stretching your ability to see patterns in letters. Not only does it challenge you, but it also offers a chance for smug linguistic superiority, and who doesn’t love that?

In my household is a very lovely, very overpriced Scrabble set. Unfortunately, it never makes it out of the box. English is my native language, but German is my partner’s native language, and playing with my tile set doesn’t seem fair to either of us.

Since playing in English is unfair, I decided to even things up by playing in German. The first problem is that German has a few characters that English does not, and letters occur with different frequency. This was an easy problem to work around: make a German tile set.

What I Needed

  • A list of the letters and their point values in my target language.
  • A tile from my existing Scrabble set.
  • A ruler.
  • Something to make the tiles with. I ended up using two pieces of cardboard in different colours.
  • A pair of scissors.
  • Wide but thin double sided tape.
  • Something to write on the tiles with. I used a pencil for the outlines and then pens of different thicknesses for the letters and points.

Scrabble Supplies

How To Do It

Step One: Look up the letter set in the target language. For this I went to Wikipedia, which has more than 40 tile sets. I chose to go with the modern German set, rather than the original.

Step Two: Measure my existing Scrabble tile and then draw up a grid of squares that size on my pale sheet of cardboard. I added a few spare squares to my grid in case I made mistakes, then cut the grid free from the larger piece of card so it would be easier to work with.

Step Three: Write out your letters and their values.

Step Four: Layer the double sided tape onto the back of your tiles. I found it easier to measure lengths with my ruler and cut, rather than trying to do it directly on the card. Make sure the tape covers the entire back, or you might have problems with the tiles peeling apart at the end.

Scrabble Tiles TapeStep Five: Peel the backing from the tape and stick the card to the back piece.

Step Six: Cut apart your tiles. I had five blank squares; two for the blank tiles in the tile set, and three for spares. I left the spares together so that they are easy to find if I need to use them later.

Scrabble Tiles

The tiles I created are quite thin but very sturdy. By using different coloured card I have created a matched set that I can easily differentiate from any future languages I might also decide to create tile sets for.

To balance out our language skills, we have decided that I can play with a dictionary while my partner can’t. Now we just need to solve our second problem: finding the time to play.


3 responses to “How to Make a Foreign Language Scrabble Tile Set

  1. Mandi M. Lynch, author says:

    You can probably go to a craft store and just buy blank wood tiles in pretty much the right size, which would have saved you a lot of time/effort.

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