DIY Chess Set + Checkerboard Pattern


Okay y’all, I have a confession to make … I love chess! My boyfriend and I play all the time, mainly because we are both super competitive with all things. We love competition, whether it’s a video game, board game or sports game. But I also have another confession … I’m such a sore loser! (but I’m working on it) 😉 I can’t stand when I make one wrong move, and he takes the lead or beats me at the last second. It’s heartbreaking, and he’s so good at sneak attack moves! Sometimes I think I become too invested in the game, but I just get so protective of my little players!

After playing chess on our iPhones for months, we’ve been talking about getting a real board, but I thought why don’t I make one myself? And that’s what I did! I gave this to him on our anniversary this past weekend, and he absolutely loved it (especially since it’s in the colors of his favorite team, the Carolina Panthers)! That’s what is so great about this DIY, you can customize it however you want!  (How cute would a light pink and purple one be as a gift for a little girl! ahh I die!!) This method can also be used to add checkerboard pattern to whatever you want … a sorority cooler, a canvas, just about anything! The possibilities really are endless! I hope y’all enjoy this fun DIY! Let’s get crafting. 🙂


.94″ frog painters tap
wood sealant
wood plank
acrylic paint
wood mini letters
glass gems
wood box
IMG_1715The first step is to sketch the outline for the checkerboard. Make sure to multiply the width of the tape your using by 8 (your final chess set will be 8 squares by 8 squares ;)).IMG_1711
Once you have your border marked it’s time to start taping off the first of the squares! Starting from the left, tape a long strip of tape along the edge of your border.
Then place smaller pieces exactly next to the first strip to ensure even squares. Place another full strip of tape next to the smaller pieces, and continue this process until you’ve reached the opposite edge of your border (your final board should be eight widths of tape, but you can lay down nine to ensure the edge boxes get a clean finish on all sides).
Repeat this process, but start from the bottom this time working up.
Now it’s time to start painting!
Using you’re lighter color, paint the blank squares. (There should be 16)
IMG_1737 IMG_1738
Now, while you wait for this paint to dry, start painting your letters! These will serve as the chess pieces!

Side Note: the “knight” pieces and “king” pieces both started with the letter k! #dilemma I decided to look up if the knight pieces could be abbreviated with another letter, and I found that “N” could stand for knight in a game of chess! “K” is reserved for the king! 😉

Be sure to get the edges! 😉
Remove the tape and admire your cute little squares! I’m obsessed!! Bleeding is naturally going to occur because of the texture of the wood. That’s why we do the light color first so you can touch up with the dark color after.
In order to get the checkerboard pattern, place strips of tape perpendicularly over the squares you just painted. But this time, you don’t have to worry about spacing in between. It’s already spaced evenly from the first strips. Then paint those blank spaces the light color too!
While you wait, paint the other little cuties!
Aren’t they presh!?
Now remove the tape! Are you crying at how cool this is or just me! 😀 Now repeat the same process, but shifted one row over. Fill in these blank spaces with your darker color.
IMG_1770 IMG_1771
Hint: make sure the tape is sealed really well this time since it’s the darker color, and it’s harder to cover bleed marks on this one!
 While that paint dries, let’s get back to our precious little game pieces! Now it’s time to attach the letters to the glass gems. You can customize them really however you want! I just used some craft glue to adhere the letter to the glass but feel free to add glitter, rhinestones, feathers, anything!
Remove the tape and reveal your perfectly crisp lines. Now place new strips of tape over the black squares you just painted, leaving you with just one more set of black squares to paint.
Okay, we’re almost done! I found this little wooden box at Michael’s and thought it would be perfect for holding all the pieces! I decided to add his initials of course to personalize. Feel free to go crazy decorating this one too! (If it was for me or one of my girlfriends, let’s just say this would be a lot shinier) 😉



I also added a few extra plain gems so we can play checkers too!

Now admire your gorgeous, hand-painted, personalize chess set! (optional: spray the wood with a wood sealant to protect the paint while you play!)

IMG_1818   IMG_1816  IMG_1806

Pretty cute, huh? I just love how this turned out and so does he. If you’re making this as a gift like I did, you can add their name, monogram or initials to the board itself too! I hope y’all liked this DIY! I had so much fun with this one and I hope you give it a try!

Leave some love and let me know what you think! 🙂

5 thoughts on “DIY Chess Set + Checkerboard Pattern

  1. Wow!!!! You are seriously the most creative person I know!! Who would have ever thought to make their own chess set!!!and it looks amazing


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