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Article: Colorful DIY Chess Boards

Colorful DIY Chess Boards

Are you ready for one of our easiest and most satisfying DIY projects yet? These chess (or checkers!) boards only require one stencil and there are endless possibilities with the colors and materials you can use. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Our 12”x12” checkerboard stencil 
  • 12”x12” wood panels
    • We got ours at Michaels (only $7.99 for 3!)
  • 1 or more spray paint colors
    • You can also use acrylic paint, house paint, etc. 
  • Masking tape (optional)
  • Finishing spray (optional)
  • A cloth or recycled paper to cover your work area (optional)

For this project, I set out to create 3 unique chess boards. I used Adobe Illustrator to map out the colors I wanted.

Three examples of chess boards

Step 1: Set up your work area

Especially if you are using spray paint (which you should always use outside!), make sure to cover the floor or other surrounding area you are working in. 

Place your wood on a flat, even surface. 

Step 2: Paint your first layer

Spray painting a wood panel

We recommend starting with the lightest color first, as dark colors are much harder to cover up with light colors. When working on the blue and white board, I painted the white first. I let it dry for a few minutes before starting the next color. You don’t want paint to transfer anywhere, but it is helpful if the paint is a little tacky to help the stencil stick. 

Depending on the material you are using, you can also choose to leave the wood bare. 

Step 3: Place your stencil

This stencil is easy to place! Simply lay it down onto the wood once the first layer has had a chance to dry. Lightly press the stencil down in order to help it adhere to the wood. 

Pressing down a stencil

Step 4: Paint your second layer

This step is just as uncomplicated as painting your first layer. If using spray paint, spray the typical 10-15 inches away. Give the paint a moment to dry afterwards. 

Step 5: Peel!

Peeling chess board stencil

Once the paint has dried a bit, you are free to peel off the stencil! In just a few minutes, you have created a beautiful and unique new game board. 

(Optional) Step 6: Finishing with a sealant

I chose to give my boards an extra layer of protection with a matte clear UV resistant spray paint. This isn’t necessary, but helps protect the color and integrity of the board. 

Fun tips & ideas:

  • For my black and white board, I first sprayed down white paint. With the stencil on, I sprayed each individual colored square then waited for everything to dry. Once it was dry, I used masking tape to cover the painted squares and then painted black over top of the stencil and tape. Peel your stencil and voila, you have an avant-garde chess board!

Painting an avant-garde chess board

  • You can also spray paint your game pieces to match your board. We recommend sanding wood pieces beforehand and sealing them afterwards.
  • You can use our stencils an infinite amount of times, so one stencil can work for many projects! Make personalized game boards as gifts, party favors, or decor. 

Playing with our new chess boards

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