Monday, September 20, 2010
How to Create Decorative Chess Sets | Family Economics
As a child I loved playing chess. It was the one game I could usually get a parent or other grown-up to play with me and it always made me feel extra smart to play. I’m far from a chess whiz, but still love the game. Unfortunately, traditional chess board games are a bit outside my decorative taste so our set is most always tucked away, and therefore constantly forgotten. But chess sets don’t have to be unattractive; they can easily be transformed by customizing to your own taste.
For starters, chess pieces can easily be found for low prices at a second-hand tag sale or thrift store. Online auction sites and vintage online marketplaces are great sources for inexpensive chess pieces. Most come in black and white or black and brown but with spray paint or craft acrylic paint can be changed to most any color you want. It is best to keep the two chosen colors in good contrast. Once dry, add small rounds of adhesive felt to the bottoms for easy sliding along the chess board.
Custom chess board surfaces can be anything from heavy chip-board or masonite to a repurposed wood cabinet door. A cutting board, small vintage framed window, or even a serving tray can work. To make your board squares, determine the size you will want. The best dimensions for individual squares range from 1.25”-2” depending on the bases of your chess pieces, allowing some margin around each. Chess board layouts are eight squares wide by eight squares deep. Once you determine the size of the squares that work best with your pieces, multiply that by eight, add an additional 0.5”-1" or more for an outside border if preferred and you have the minimum dimensions of the surface area you will need for your board base. If your base board is rectangular and not perfectly square, it leaves a place to store your opponent’s lost pieces and you can use the area to add additional decoration.
Chess board squares can be easily taped off and painted to match the chess pieces. Another idea is to cut patterned scrapbook paper to size and tile using decoupage glue. In lieu of scrapbook paper, cut squares from the text pages of an old discarded book and color tint half of the pieces with a light colored marker. You can also run a sheet of book paper through your printer with a large block of a light color to tint the page of text. Vintage wallpaper or book end papers have great patterns for using as well. If you’re a quilter, stitch a simple quilt of two different patterned fabrics and sandwich under a cut and edge-sanded piece of glass.
The list goes on—can you think of other fun ideas for creating a unique chess set?