I've been wanting to make a checkerboard for some time. My older daughter just turned four and is starting to learn how to play games, although we can only do it when my younger daughter (2) is asleep because she likes to collect all the pieces we are playing with and hoard them in her lap. Take a look at the tutorial below, and afterward enjoy the game! (*Note: This tutorial originally posted here.)
How to Make a Checker Set
1. First, make handmade clay by combining 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, and 3/4 cup of water in a medium mixing bowl. Stir until combined, then knead for 10-15 minutes.
2. Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inches thick.
3. Using a cookie cutter, cut out 26 pieces (you will need 12 for each side, but we did two extra just in case some get lost under the couch). We made two sets, one with stars and the other with circles. We made the small circular cutter by cutting a strip of plastic from an old yogurt container and taping into a small loop.
5. Take shapes out and set on baking sheet with the back facing up. Poke a few holes using a toothpick to prevent the pieces from bubbling up. Bake in the over at 300 degrees until hard, flipping every 20 minutes. It should take about an hour, but it could take longer depending on how thick your pieces are.
6. While baking, make the checkerboard. I used white fabric as the base, cutting two pieces to 17x17 inches. I also made a square of batting at 16x16 inches. On one side of one piece of white fabric, I used a ruler and a fabric pencil to draw out a board. First I drew lines 1/2 inch in on each side, and then used those lines as a starting point to draw 2x2 inch squares. That should give you eight rows of squares across and eight rows of squares up and down; sixty-four squares total. Then I cut out thirty-two 2x2 inch squares of colored fabric. I used my sewing machine to sew the colored fabric in a checkerboard pattern, making sure to line the pieces up with the lines I had drawn. Once I sewed all the squares in place, I put the two white fabrics with right sides facing in (so the fabric squares are facing in toward the other piece of white fabric) and then put the batting on top. I stitched all around the three pieces of fabric (two white pieces of fabric and one piece of batting) using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, leaving a 2 inch gap at the end. I turned the piece inside out so the batting was tucked on the inside and the checkerboard pattern was facing out. I pressed the seams flat, then sewed around the entire board again.
7. Back to the checker pieces! Once they are out of the oven and cool, paint them using acrylic or poster paints. Paint 12 (or thirteen in our case) in one color and the other 12 in a contrasting color. Kaela painted her round pieces and I painted the star pieces.
8. Let dry completely.
9. Get ready to play!
I found a useful set of simple checker rules at this website, although I'm sure if you dig around you will find other great resources. Enjoy!
Windows of Agate