Our handmade set—assembled with the board itself and all of the pieces—will be a beloved heirloom for kids and the whole family. In other words? Checkmate.

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green and natural colored chess set
Ryan Liebe

This two-player strategy game is played on a square, checkered board with two sets of 16 chessmen. To capture Dad's heart by hook or by rook, give him a handmade chess set on Father's Day. Our one-of-a-kind DIY version, which costs a fraction of a designer one, customizes a plain wooden slide box with an easy-to-use stencil and spray paint. Simple wooden shapes and blocks become modern, sophisticated pieces (we painted half of them to match the board, for contrast), and neatly stow away inside. Throw in some wooden disks for checkers, and you'll have double the brainy rainy-day fun.

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What you need

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How to do it

Part 1

Step 1

Make the game board: Center the stencil on lid of box and spray paint; let dry. Spray paint one player's set of pieces in matching color; let dry completely.

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wood chess set pawn
Step 2

Make 16 pawns: Blocks serve as the most plentiful pieces, no assembly required.

wood chess set knight
Step 3

Make four knights: A single cone is your three-square mover in shining armor.

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wood chess set bishop
Step 4

Make four bishops: Hot-glue a disk onto a block, then add a sphere.

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wood chess set rooks
Step 5

Make four rooks: Stack two blocks, placing the top one diagonally, and hot-glue together.

wood chess set queen
Step 6

Make two queens: Top a column block with a wooden bead. Push a brass screw "crown" into the bead's hole.

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wood chess set kings
Step 7

Make two kings: Hot-glue a faceted wooden bead to a rectangular block. "Crown" it with a brass screw in the bead's hole.

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