Making a "Magic: the Gathering" Playing Board





Introduction: Making a "Magic: the Gathering" Playing Board

About: My background: -over 10 years of welding experience and an AS degree in welding technology. I am also a welding instructor at TechShop Menlo Park. I am proficient in TIG, MIG, SMAW and oxy-acetylene. -se...

Okay, I admit it, I am almost 30 years old and I still play Magic with friends and family.  Sometimes, it is hard to find a table that is clean enough to play a game on without getting my cards covered in sticky stuff.  In an attempt to keep my cards clean, I designed a board that I can use to play magic on.  I did use some pretty sweet equipment for this project that most people do not have in their garage.  All of the equipment I used was at TechShop in Menlo Park. TechShop also taught me how to use the equipment.  For this project, you will need:

-a piece of wood that is big enough to play magic on.  Mine was approximately 29"x24" (which I cut in half to give me two 14.5"x24" sheets.

-access to a table saw:

-access to corel draw and a laser cutter:

-sharp pocket knife

-wood glue, clamps

Step 1: Get the Board Ready to Cut

I drew a line down the center of the board where I wanted to make the cut.  I used a tape measure and a china pen.

Step 2: Cut the Boards to Size on the Table Saw

I learned to use a table saw in the TechShop wood shop SBU class.  You can sign up for that class here :

All I did was cut the board on the line that we made in the last step.  Now I have two boards that have the same dimensions.

Step 3: Get Your Laser File Ready

Our lasers like to work with Corel Draw.  I have attached my Corel Draw file so that you can easily duplicate this project.

-I created my file so that you can keep your library, graveyard, and exile pile together on the right side of the board. 

-The slots on the left side of the board are for land.  You can have up to three different kinds of land with this board.

-The slots in the middle of the board are for creature cards and enchantments.

-I made finger notches so that you can easily remove your cards from the slots.

-I made my board so that it can hold cards either tapped or untapped.

You can find my Corel Draw file at the end of this step.

Step 4: Using the Laser

Using the laser is not too difficult.  Once you have your Corel File made, all you have to do is focus the laser, run the job, and make sure nothing catches on fire.  TechShop can teach you how to do everything you need to operate this machine in its Laser Cutting and Etching SBU class:

Step 5: Finishing Up the Cuts

Sometimes the laser doesn't cut all the way through the material.  When this happens, you can either run your job two times without moving it, or you can use a knife to finish cutting your pieces out.  Because I was short on laser time, I opted to cut my unfinished work out with a pocket knife.

Step 6: Glue the Two Boards Together

In order to have a pocket cut out, we need to glue the two boards together.  I used Elmer's wood glue and ran it across all the sections that would be touching.  Then I clamped the pieces together firmly so that it fits together without any gaps.  Make sure to clean up any excess glue before it dries.

Step 7: Success!!!!

Now your board is complete and you are ready to play!  If you want, I cut the slots for the cards a little bit large so you can put some paint or clear coat over your board so that it is nice and shiny.

Look at how much fun you can have at TechShop!!!!!



    • Game Life Contest

      Game Life Contest
    • BBQ Showdown Challenge

      BBQ Showdown Challenge
    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest

    20 Discussions

    I haven't played Magic in years... but I do frequent shops which have the occasional game, and I often see a lot more cards on the table than you've made room for... Do you think you've made enough room for a full game here?

    3 replies

    With lands you can stack... but beyond that it wouldn't work well for a deck that involves a lot of tokens.

    The slots for land on the left can remove the clutter of around 5-20 cards and keep them organized in three slots. Also, I rarely have more than 8 creatures on the field at once.

    Buuut, I see your point, I will have to work on an oversize board at some point.

    Just as an added side note, what if you just had the card slots facing one direction, but with a 90 degree swiveling thing underneath, to make tapping the cards easier? Just something to think about, because using lands could become a hassle if you have to remove them every time you need to use them. Also, would this work if the cards were in cases?

    Over all, Loved the ible.

    I love mtg. I was searching for a good board on instructables for a while, but non of them were very good until you posted this one. Now if only I had a laser cutter...

    Wow! I love this game and it's awesome to know that people play it on instructables.

    It would look pretty trick if you took the top 2 rows of the "battlefield" and removed them, then put the logo in the middle of that. so you would have much more play area. Just my 2 cents. Also as many people have said, you need to use a program to make the background of your image transparent. There are many tutorials on how to do this with GIMP around the internet.

    Typically that is caused when you use an image that is not of a transparent background. Even though your background looks white and appears to match the corel workspace, it could be off enough that the laser will pick it up and lase it.

    1 reply

    Also, if you are using Corel X5, look at the default color space settings.

    Regarding your note in Step 7, how did you import the M:tG icons, were they on a white background image?  I can't say for sure, but might the darkened area disappear if you used an image editor like GIMP, Photoshop, or to select the background (white) image and delete it prior to importing the image into Corel?  Maybe you could even do this in Corel if it has a layering and editing option like those others.  Good luck!

    Great design and 'structable, btw!

    Give over. This is sheer genius. This is one of my favorite hobbies and I'm nearly 30. I started back in high school.

    Really appreciate you sharing this. Brilliant.

    1 reply

    Thanks for the comment! I spent a lot of time on it and it's nice to hear that people like it.

    Nicely done, but looks slightly annoying to manage stacks.

    Looks nice but you should have a photo with cards in it to show it in "action". Another possibility is to design it in strips with hinges so it can roll up for transport.

    2 replies

    I like your thinking. Expect to see this instructable revised to show the board in action!

    I guess my next project will have to be a travel version of the board.

    Thanks for the comment!

    Making a travel one would be easy cut the board the outside columns and put \hinges on it so it would fold up on itself like a game board

    This is amazing! Especially love the "I'd tap that" in the middle. Ohhhh M:tG humor. :D

    I haven't played in years, but this makes me want to!