How to Make Your Own Checkerboard

Jumpstart your family game night with this nifty DIY set that parents and the kids can customize and create together, too – right down to the pieces.

The Martha Stewart Show once dedicated an entire episode to backyard entertaining with a good portion of the show focusing on games the whole family can play outside — from ladder golf to molkky, a game from Finland. Joining Martha on the show was Paul Tukey, co-author of the book Tag, Toss and Run.

The book features 40 classic outdoor games for families to enjoy. Paul stressed the importance of family bonding time, whether it’s playing a game outdoors or inside.

Whether or not it’s warm enough to set up the badminton set for the summer, you can get game night going at the dining room table with this checkerboard the whole family can help make and keep as a family heirloom.



Start out by marking a 1″ border on all four sides of the board. Trace lightly with your pencil to give you a guide.
At the bottom of one side of the board, mark at the 2″ point across the board and then draw a line the length of the board. You should have eight columns total. Next, turn the board clockwise and repeat the same marking pattern. Again, you should have another eight columns and the checkerboard appearance.
It’s now time to start marking your painting areas. Start out by taking your painter’s tape and mask off the outside border.
In the package of patterning tape, you’ll have two rolls of tape (use the quarter-inch roll for this project). Place a piece of tape down the length of each line you drew. Make sure the tape is set on top of the middle of each line. Press firmly so that no paint will bleed through.
Get ready to paint! Select the two paint colors you want for your board. Start with one of the selected colors and paint the squares in the bottom row, alternating blocks. For the row above, paint above the empty square from the previous row. Repeat this process until you’re done with your first color.
When the first color is done and dried completely, add your second color to the board. Again, let the paint dry completely and then remove the paint tape from the checkerboard center.
To prep the paint for the inner border, cover the checkerboard design with your painter’s tape in one direction. Apply an even coat of paint and let dry. Cover the checkerboard design in the opposite direction to complete the inner border. Remove the tape and let dry.
Finish the painting with the outer border. Remove the original tape and cover the checkerboard design instead. Let dry completely. Add a coat of clear finish and let dry. You’re all set! You can paint the sides and bottom, if you like, or let the wood through. To make the board play an extra role, paint the back a solid color, add a drawer-pull to either side of the board and use it for a snack tray when friends are over. For checkers, paint wood circles (found at the craft store) to match the colors you picked for your checkerboard. After that, get ready for game night!

This post was originally published 2012 and is updated regularly.

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