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Bored No More DIY Board Game!


The other day I decided I needed some games for work so my younger clients have something to do while we're talking. I went to the store and bought one of those checkers/chess sets thinking it'd be just as great as the smooth, durable wooden sets I remember from childhood. Turns out most sets nowadays are made out the cheapest, thinnest cardboard available, not to be out-cheapened by the plastic tiddlywink-like pieces that get lost in the carpet in a nanosecond. I knew I needed something sturdy, something fun, and something with replaceable pieces. With all of that in mind, I trepedatiously embarked into the world of board game making! Join me in this adventure and you too can build a sturdy, homemade checker set you can be proud of.

The checker pieces are simple to make, they just require a handful of glass vase beads, paper of your choice, some tracing, some cutting, and a gluing agent (I used mod podge; you can also use silicon glue). If you've ever made glass magnets you'll know that these are exactly the same--you just don't glue the magnet on!

-Mod Podge
-Paint brush for the mod podge
-30 round glass beads (1-1.5 inch diameter)
-2 different sheets of scrapbooking paper (I chose sparkly blue and silver)
-Wooden square (or rectangle that you cut down)


1) Trace your glass beads onto the scrapbooking paper you've chosen. You might want to trace a few, cut a few, so then you know which tracing goes with which bead. When I did it the husband started playing with all of the beads after I'd traced everything--I had no idea which tracing went with which bead leading to a gluing and cutting fiasco.

2) Smear some mod podge (not modge podge as I've always called it) onto the side of the paper you want facing up--then stick the glass bead onto the paper. I also mod podged the back of the paper so that it was smooth and so the sides didn't come up. I waited to do that until the first part was somewhat dry as I pushed out any air bubbles I saw forming. I also made 3 queens for each side in case the stacking didn't work. I did that by making a little crown out of the opposite color paper. I glued the crown to the main paper, then glued that all to the glass bead.

3) Let dry overnight and admire you cute little checkers pieces.

4) Cut your wood down to size. My checkerboard wood came from the as-is section of Ikea. It's been sitting in our closet for a while (the original intention was shelving...but it didn't work out) and I was very happy to find a use for this nice black walnut piece. We cut it down to 12x15 (the extra 3 inches wide give a place for you to show off the pieces you steal from your opponent).

5) Admire your lovely pieces on your newly cut board. Also you can paint the sides of your board if the cutting gave it an unpleasant color (ours was particle board beneath the wood overlay so we just used some black paint we had lying around to touch up the cut sides).

6) Draw the lines for the checkerboard and tape off the squares you want black with masking tape (and the sides in our case)

7) Using a sander, sand down the parts of the board you want to be the non-black color.

8) Wipe off the dust (we used a vacuum throughout the process) and figure out where you need to do a little more sanding.

Additional thoughts:
-You can make these game pieces for any game you'd like! A cute idea I had was have each of your children make their own piece with either a favorite animal, or a picture of themselves as the background. You'll then never have another fight about who gets what color.


Here's another idea for board game making: mancala! The husband and I made this a few years back out of a piece of wood from his backyard. We cut off the side of a log (giving it a rustic look) and made both sides flat with a band saw. Then we drilled the round holes into the board with a drill press and forstner bits. Several coats of gloss later and we had our very own mancala board! The difficulty in the project really came after we finished the board and realized the way each of us plays mancala is quite different....we have to play both versions of the game for us to be happy.


Lawyer said...

LOVE this, shrink! I want to make a set that matches my living room. Weekend project!

Nancy K. said...

This is Lawyer's friend Nancy. You ladies are blowing my mind with this stuff. Seriously. Nice work, Shrink!

Sisteroos said...

Thank you so much, Nancy! This is a huge compliment coming from one of the most brilliant crafters/designers/bakers we know! :)

Sister Mac said...

Great ideas for some fun twists on old games, to keep 9 grandchildren busily happy at grandmother's house...some still a little too young,but not for long. They love the games I make up for them, so with a little more elbow grease, I can really give them something to beg Mom and Dad to take home. Thank you Sister Shrink.
Is there no end to Sisteroo talent?
I guess the answer is "No!"

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