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I came up with this idea while working on a coconut birdhouse project. During that project I accumulated a bunch of 2 discs that reminded me of checkers. You will need three or more whole coconuts for this project, plus the list below.

I assume you have coconuts without husks.

ITEMS USED:
" Drill + 2 circular drill bit
" Sand Paper (coarse + fine) + Steel Wool
" Belt Sander (optional)
" Safety Glasses
" Flat-head Screwdriver
" Canvas Drop-cloth (or any fabric)
" T-square or other measuring/aligning tool
" Pencil
" Stencil/Stencil material
" Paint + Paint brush
" Stuff for Hemming (Regular Weight Stitch Witchery- iron-on)  Hot glue
" Scissors
" Xacto Knife
" Wax (optional)
" Elbow Grease

Step 1: STEP 1: Coconut Time (drain, Cut, and Clean)

Drain your coconuts in whatever way you are most comfortable. I like using the screwdriver to make a hole in the largest part of the face, and then shake away

Put on your safety glasses. Using your drill & 2 circular drill bit, begin cutting discs around the coconut. Youll probably get 6 or more discs per coconut depending on how close you cut and the size of your coconuts.

Be careful. As soon as you feel the bit cutting easily its time to back off. You want the disc to stay attached to the meat because you can then pry the disc from the meat with your screwdriver. Dont worry if meat is still attached, you can use your screw driver to cut/scrape/pry the meat away.

Make as many discs as you can. You can always use them for something else later. Also, the scrap coconut pieces work for other projects, too.

(WARNING: The disc may actually lodge in the 2 circular bit. If that happens, take the bit off the drill, unscrew the nut holding the circular bit to the shaft, and pull apart. You will then be able to easily get the disc out. I counted 5 times that I had to go through the process.)

Step 2: STEP 2: Sand Discs

Now that you have at least 24 discs, you need to clean them up. 12 discs should keep their fiber/hair, though you can give them a trim. The other 12 discs need to be sanded.

(I used a belt sander, though you can do this step with coarse sand paper.)

Stand your belt sander upright. Put on your safety glasses. Most belt sanders have a very coarse paper so LIGHTLY sand the fiber/hair from the discs. Once youve done your 12, put on a 120 grit belt and sand more  go with the grain as much as possible. (You are going to get grooves in your coconut. If you freehand the whole thing then itll come out much nice, though itll take you forever.) Once youve obtained as much dark brown as you want, switch to a fine (220+) paper. Rub, rub, rub  keep rubbing, you want as smooth a surface as you can get. After youre done with the paper, switch to the steel wool and rub, rub, rub. Steel wool does not hold the dust and helps clean your disc.

Patience will determine how smooth and flawless your discs will be. _

Now, time to polish. You can use wax, poly, or clear enamel if you want. Wax would be my choice out of these three options. BUT, I use human oil. I work the top of the disc with both thumbs, like a worry stone. Its not quick, but you can work on them when you are watching TV, etc  and you dont have to mess with chemicals, just natural skin oils. How green is that?

Step 3: STEP 3: Fabric Time (wash, Measure, and Grid)

Wash your cloth first! If you dont want to wash the whole thing, please cut a much larger piece than you think you will need. Any fabric will do. On my first attempt, our cloth shrank 2.

After washing, use your favorite measuring device and grid your fabric with the pencil. I suggest a 1 margin and 2.5 squares, since your coconut checkers are 2. The 1 margin is for hemming.

Step 4: STEP 4: Stencil Time

You could paint squares, but everyone does squares, so why not use a picture instead? We freehanded a 2.5 flower on shirt box and then cut out the flower, leaving the negative space intact. Using a brush and paint, dab the paint on the stencil in the appropriate squares. Be careful not to splatter your paint. You may need to let the paint dry on your stencil after youve done half the squares because the paint can get under the stencil. Using the butt of your screwdriver, apply a small dab of a different paint color in the center of your flowers.

Let dry.

Step 5: STEP 5: Hem

Once your board is dry, its time to hem. You can sew if you want; otherwise use an iron-on adhesive. Trim your fabric to your margin lines. Crease your margins by ironing. Add the adhesive and iron again. Let cool. If you are using canvas, you may find, as I did, that an iron-on adhesive does not work perfectly. Help the adhesive out with some hot glue.

Let cool.

Step 6: TIME to PLAY

Enjoy a rousing game of checkers.
Another cool coconut project! Just a tip--I've found that sanding and polishing a whole coconut prior to cutting it into pieces for projects like this makes things a little easier. I use a palm sander with a heavier grit to sand off remaining husk, and finer grits to get the shell smooth and shiny. (There's something to be said, however, about the therapeutic nature of hand polishing each piece... It's all about what makes you happy!) Keep of the good work.

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Bio: My wife and I welcomed into the world our son Tucker. We are excited and looking forward to all of the projects we can do ... More »
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