If you live in the Seattle area and have not been to the U-District yet, I suggest you do! It's a super nice outdoor mall with plenty to look at, plenty to buy, plenty to keep the kids busy, and plenty to eat...It's the best. We don't go often because it's a little bit of a treck for us, but it's nice to go there periodically! A few weekends ago, my friends and I went to the U-District and were wandering about window shopping. We stopped by the fabulously remodeled Land of Nod and I fell in love. I just love everything about that store, it's so fresh and fun! I wanted to buy everything, but seeing as I didn't have an extra half mil laying around to drop, I didn't buy anything.
What I did walk out with was inspiration! They had a display out of a wooden checker board with wooden pieces. I knew right away that I could make it, and it would be just as great if not better AND I knew I could make it for FAR less than the $32 price tag on it.
So I hit up my, you guessed it, scrap pile of wood at home and found a dowel rod and a piece of pressed board. I used my miter saw to cut the dowel rod into 24 pieces, about the same size in thickness. If you don't want to cut your own pieces, you can buy a set of wooden checker pieces from Amazon (affiliate link).
When I was done with that, I went out and spray painted the pressed board using Krylon Gloss Banner Red spray paint. When that was dry, I measured my board and taped it off using some washi tape.
For the black, I used Krylon's Black Chalkboard paint. I simply love everything chalkboard paint...It goes on super easy and evenly.
I had a mental block though, while doing this project about making the checkered board. I simply could not wrap my head around how to do it right...turns out, it was way easier than you would think. I taped it off one way, let it dry and then taped off the other rows and it worked out perfectly.
As an afterthought, I decided to paint the sides of the board with chalkboard paint also, that way you can keep track of your score while you are playing!
Naturally, I had to look up the directions on how to play it also since it has been YEARS since I played last. Lucy was super excited to sit down and learn too. She picked up pretty fast too and got really mad when I wouldn't let her win. When Matt got home from work though, he sat with her and he got really into showing her how to calculate each move. Right before we ended that game, Matt went to give Dexter a bath, Lucy was almost beating me, she had 5 pieces and I had 2. She made a wrong move and I was able to take two of her pieces, but then she trapped me, all on her own and beat me! She was super proud of herself and now can't wait to play every night for another chance to beat me again!