How to Make Your Own "Apples to Apples" Game

DIY Apples to Apples Game

By Rachel Tiemeyer
November 11, 2020
DIY Apples to apples

Creating your own Apples to Apples game is simple, cheap (only scrap paper and a few pens required) and freaking hilarious.

I’ve played our homemade version with adults (I don’t think my small group gals will ever forget that night, as we almost wet our pants from laughing so hard) and with my family, including my 5-and-6-year-olds.

I’m here to tell you all about how to make your own Apples to Apples game, because you MUST give it a go over the holidays at gatherings with friends and family.

playing apples to apples

What is Apples to Apples?

If you’re not familiar with Apples to Apples, here’s the description from Mattel:

“The family-friendly card game…creates lots of laughter and party-time joy! Apples to Apples challenges you to think on your feet, get a little silly, and find out how your friends and family think….

Easy to Learn, Fun to Play
There are just two types of cards: Things and Descriptions. Each player takes turns being the judge and pulling the next Description card. The other players try to pick, from the cards in their hands, the Things they feel best match that Description—in the eyes of the judge. So it helps to know your judges a little better, too.

Winning the Game
You have to collect a certain number of Description cards to win the game – it depends on how many players you have (more players = less cards needed to win). And with so many cards and possibilities, it’s never, EVER the same game twice.”

Our homemade version is very similar, except it is personalized to your group–ages, various social connections, etc–and a little more low-key.

How to Make Your Own Apples to Apples Game

Number of Players: 4-10 people will work fine

Objective: To have the most Description Cards at the end of the game. (But, really it’s to laugh and have fun!)

Supplies: To play one round, which takes about 15-30 minutes depending on your group size, you’ll need…

  • Enough small pieces of scrap paper (about post-it note size) for each person to have about 20 pieces
  • A pen or pencil for each person


  1. Pass out about 20 pieces of paper and a pen to each player.
  2. Make Noun Cards: Instruct players to write one noun–person, place or thing–per sheet of paper and then place them face down in a pile in the center of the table/room. The goal is to get about 10-15 Noun Cards per person, but players can certainly write more. Note: Here’s where you can have some fun. Encourage your group to think about connections they might have with one another (i.e. people in the room, a favorite blankie of a child’s, an ex-boyfriend that everybody laughs about now, etc). We even used phrases like “Uncle Ryan’s muscles” or “Hannah’s pink blankie”. This makes for some potentially hilarious rounds in the game.
  3. Make Description Cards: Next, have each player write down about 3 descriptive words and place them face down in a separate pile (i.e. stinky, bumpy, pungent, etc).
making diy cards for apples to apples

How To Play:

  1. To start the game, each player should choose 5 cards from the Noun Pile. Do not let others see your cards.
  2. For each round, select a judge. This person will draw a Description Card from the pile and place it face up in the center of the table. This person will not play this round but will instead judge the winner.
  3. After seeing the Description Card the judge lays down, players will look at their Noun Cards and select the one that they think fits that description the best. Place that card face down by the Description Card. Note: Since this game is subjective, players should take into account who the judge is for that round and what he/she may choose.
  4. The judge will then read each Noun Card aloud, but no one in the group is allowed to tell which card is theirs yet! Then the judge will select the Noun Card that he/she feels best fits the Description Card.
  5. The winner of the round gets to keep that Description Card. All of the other Noun Cards that were laid down should be discarded.
  6. For the next round, each player draws a new Noun Card to replace the one laid down. The judge for the next round is the person to the right.
  7. The game ends when everyone has been the judge OR you run out of Noun Cards (whatever you prefer). The winner is the one who has collected the most Description Cards.

My kids had an absolute blast getting to play with the grown-ups at our last family gathering…

boy playing diy apples to apples
little girl playing apples to apples

Some of the combinations induced some pretty hearty multi-aged laughs. I put down the “Daddy” card for this one…of course. My kids decided it only won because, “Well, Daddy does sweat a lot.” Gotta love our literal littles!

diy apples to apples cards

Perhaps this was the best word combination of all. Can you guess which Noun Card won this round?…

diy apples to apples cards

Poor Uncle Ryan was a good sport as always (who, by the way, happened to have won a state weight lifting title in high school)…

man holding apples to apples cards

Have fun making your own Apples to Apples game. You never know what will draw a good group laugh!

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5 replies
    • Rachel says:

      That’s awesome. We play every Christmas and laugh hysterically. One thing I don’t think I mentioned in the post that I was reminded of by my sister is that whatever adjectives that you earned at the end of the game are supposed to describe you. It’s kind of funny.

  1. Sega says:

    Thanks for posting this 🙂
    You can make your own Apples to Apples kind of game at and print it out. You can also use other peoples cards. A lot of them are pretty offensive (more like Cards Against Humanity) but it is good for getting ideas.

  2. Melissa says:

    I have to tell you how awesome you are for posting this! My niece is almost 9 and loves this game but it can be a challenge because we only have the adult version of it. I am too stingy to shell out the money for the kid version. However, now we can make our own and it will be great!! Thanks so much!