Game on! DIY Checkers Table

I don’t play games when it comes to refinishing furniture.  But in this case, playing games is perfectly acceptable!  For the past couple weeknights and weekends I have been working to transform an old side table into a checkers table. This is a project I’ve wanted to do for a while now, and I have to say I am very pleased with the results! These are the supplies that I used:
A table, paint primer, black paint, white or ivory paint (I used Velspar brand from Lowes), a paint brush/paint roller, a paint stirrer, Frog tape, a flat-head screwdriver (to open the paint cans), a hammer to securely close them, beer bottle caps, and two different colors of spray paint.  If you want to be even more profesh you can sand the table with a very fine grit of sandpaper like 220 to get a nice porous surface for the primer to adhere to.
Keep in mind when you are painting with primer and paint that you won’t get the surface completely covered with the first coat.  It took me three coats of primer before it was adequate. I did a quick pass with sandpaper over the table before I moved onto the black paint. I used a small roller to paint on the black so the surface had an even finish.
When the final coat of black paint was dry (which took about a day and a half to paint each layer, and allow the proper dry time), it was time to measure out the perimeter of the checker board.  This table was an incredibly odd size, 21-11/16 inches to be exact.  That left me enough room to make a 16×16 inch checker board. I measured out a 16 inch piece of Frog tape, and centered it around each edge of the table by using a square to find the middle of the table.  To find the middle of the table, I divided the width of the table in half (11-3/8 inches) and left a tiny mark of tape.
0695Measuring When the perimeter of tape was placed, I made marks with a pen 2 inches apart on each side of the tape to signify the 2 inch grid.  Next I laid strips of Frog tape down carefully lining up the edges of the tape with the marks on the perimeter vertically.  When the marks were connected, I then filled in the gap lines after with more strips of tape vertically.
After the square perimeter was completely filled with tape, I took a razor blade and carefully scored lines horizontally across the tape connected by the lines I just marked.  When you do this, make sure you don’t press the razor blade too hard or you will ruin the black paint beneath the tape.
After the lines were scored, I peeled off every other 2 inch square block.
After every other 2 inch square was tape free, I rolled the white paint over the table so that the entire 16X16 square was covered in paint.  I did 3 coats of white paint, waiting approximately 4-5 hours between each coat.  After the third coat of paint was dry, my husband suggested I take the razor blade and lightly score each of the edges of the 2 inch checker squares so that when I pulled off the Frog tape it would peel off evenly.
While the last coat of white paint was drying, I took the opportunity to spray paint the beer bottle caps, that is, the checkers pieces.  I had been saving the caps for months now, and was storing them in my garage like a squirrel.
A checkers board has 12 pieces per side, but I decided to spray paint 13 of each color so there was an extra one just in case.  I spray painted 2 coats on the top surface and 2 coats underneath just to be classy.
Game on!



There are 9 comments for this article
  1. Ellyne at 8:54 pm

    ‘KING ME’ – Wow! What a little time, TLC and inspiration can do to transform this table. It does not look like the same table. This is a wonderful idea and looks so professional.
    Thanks again ~~ AND ~~ ‘QUEEN’ YOU – Maggie for a an amazing job. ejo

  2. Jessie at 2:34 pm

    Wow, this is really cool. What a great idea! I love the bottle caps as game pieces.

  3. Alison at 11:28 am

    Great post Maggie! A very classy checkers table. I like the use of silver and gold bottle caps as checkers, and the idea of you hoarding them like a squirrel made me laugh : )

  4. 58Teresa at 8:40 am

    Great Job,Maggie – like the taping – much easier than freehand!

  5. Hannah at 11:16 am

    Wow Mags! THis is AMAZING! I love it. Loveit.

  6. kirstin at 12:20 am

    Did you put a final clear coat over the black & white to protect it? Have the bottle caps scratched the paint at all?

    • Maggie Fromm Author at 9:21 am

      I did not, but I should have! Any clear satin polyurethane coating would do the trick! (I prefer a more matte finish over a gloss) Have you made one??