My weekend project was to create a chess board for the set that we’ve just inherited from my father-in-law. Late last week, I headed out to the Building Material Resources and Recycling center to see if there was a cool door or something that I could repurpose for the project. They have the best stuff there and you never know what you might find. I didn’t have any luck finding something unique, but I found this board that was cut 18″ square… exactly what I needed and I left a happy girl.
When I brought the wood home and showed it to Tyson, he suggested that I frame in the edges for a more finished look. That wasn’t in my original plans, but I’m so glad I took him up on the idea. A quick trip to Home Depot to pick-up the trim, a few cuts later and I was good to get underway.
I used liquid nail to adhere the trim to the edges and secured them in place.
Since it was getting late in the day, I let the glue set-up over night before priming the next morning.
After a light sanding, I hit the board with the first coat of primer.
Several sites mentioned that one coat was sufficient, but I really wanted solid coverage. I waited an hour and added a second coat.
Once the primer had dried, I applied Copper Red from Martha Stewart Living.
This is a metallic paint that beautifully matches the chess set. I rolled several thin coats which dried quickly and gave me even coverage.
Next up, I selected a black glaze to go over the copper red paint. The red is so gorgeous (unfortunately the photograph doesn’t do it justice) I wanted to leave an element of it unglazed. I opted for a two inch border to go around the board.
I should pause and tell you two things:
1. I purchased a new camera this week and I’m still learning to use it. It’s definitely better than the shots that I was getting with my iPhone, but I’m learning a lot about lighting and sometimes get funky images like this.
2. I was starting to feel a little nervous at this point in the project. I haven’t used glaze before and I was beginning to worry that there might be a moment where I could really goof this up. The guy at Home Depot assured me that I’m using the right stuff, so I continued on.
In between drying time, I was able to carefully cut the newsprint into 1 and 3/4 inch squares. It was fun getting to select specific pieces to include in the board. How many chess boards give a shout out to President Nixon or Alfred Hitchcock?
Contrary to this photo, I did not include anything from the obituaries.
The glaze came out lovely and I was ready to apply the newsprint.
I cut all the newsprint squares and rearranged them until I got the exact balance I was looking for. I actually wasn’t sure what that balance was, but I knew it would be cool to have a mix of headlines, graphic images and text without everything being too planned out. Evan suggested I include the eye from a movie poster and everyone insisted that I use the car ads on the back of the board. More on that in a bit.
Once I had the squares planned out, I used Mod Podge to adhere the paper. Again, I was getting nervous because I wasn’t sure how the paper would react with the glue and if I would have any issues applying it to the glaze.
Thankfully, it all handled well. Once the squares were on, I went over the entire board with Mod Podge to catch any unsealed edges and give an even finish across the area.
As I mentioned earlier, the family was excited for me to include the car ads on the back as a decorative detail. When I went to place them on the board I had the happy accident of discovering that they were two halves of the same ad. With an 18″ square surface, I had plenty of area to piece them together.
However, I also had the unhappy accident of discovering that working with larger pieces of wet newsprint is a lot harder than the small 1 and 3/4 inch squares. It was incredibly difficult to get the newsprint completely smooth and the paper was very thin making it a challenge to lift and replace multiple times. Of the entire project, this area came out the worst. I’m SO glad it’s on the back side.
I had no idea if I’d be able to pull off creating this game board, but I’m pretty pleased with the final results. But more importantly, I’m thrilled to have a piece that I think complements the gift that Tyson’s Mom once gave his Dad.
Now we just need to learn how to play chess.