Introduction: Board Game Tie

About: Husband. Father. Artist. Musician. Teacher.

Does your workplace enforce a certain dress code which impedes you from truly unwinding during your breaks or lunch hour? Does your tie even serve any purpose other than to cover a missing button and a mustard stain that the dry cleaners couldn’t manage to get out? Do you loosen your tie incrementally throughout the day to make ripping it off on public transit easier? Then, do you find yourself having to hold it annoyingly during the commute home as you fumble to carry your other things and wish that your tie served a real purpose in your life?

Well my friends, to encourage the long-awaited mental prison release of your inner child, and to significantly reduce stress in the workplace, I’ve come up with a fashion forward solution that brings purpose to that boring old tie of yours. I present to you, the Board Game Tie! It’s identical in almost every way that it isn’t to a regular tie except that it unfurls to become a playable board game! Imagine the board meeting potential! The knot of the Board Game Tie also doubles as a storage compartment for the game pieces and a die!

So, untie, unclip or cut off your boring old tie and toss it away, because we’re making a BOARD GAME TIE! The game that you can wear without raising any suspicion! Ready to play? Of course, you are! You’re wearing a Board Game Tie !

Step 1: Tools and Materials

- Cardstock or Bristol Board

- Primed Canvas or Other Heavy Fabric

- Pencil and Markers (for design layout )

- 4 Small Neodymium Magnets or Velcro Strips

- ¾’’ Elastic Waistband (long enough to reach around your neck )

- Fabric or Acrylic Paint and Paint Brushes

- Die

- Game Pieces

- Fabric Scissors (like regular scissors but larger with a slightly serrated edge )

- Craft or Hobby Knife

- Fabric or Hot Melt Glue (and hot melt glue gun )

- Bone Folder or Spoon

Step 2: Designing the Game

For your Board Game Tie, you can decide to copy any type of simple board game that requires few game pieces OR create your own game! The game I created is called Impaired Pairs and requires only 1 die, two game pieces and a gameboard disguised as a tie. I’ve created a small rulebook that I can place inside the knot of the tie with the die and game pieces. I’ve attached a PDF of the rulebook if you would like to make your own Impaired Pairs game!

Step 3: Cutting the Fabric to Shape and Size

The size of your Board Game Tie will depend on your physiology, but once you’ve determined an appropriate length you can start to design the shape of your board. On a piece of cardstock or Bristol board, draw in pencil a basic outline of a tie shape without the knot (or trace a real tie ) in the middle of the page. Next, determine how wide you would like your gameboard to be when it’s unfolded. You can then decide on what shape you would like each wing of the board to have (by wing I’m referring to either side of the tie outline on your gameboard ).

Once the overall shape of the gameboard is determined, cut out the shape and use it as a template to trace an outline that is a ¼’’ larger onto the piece of fabric you’ll be using. To achieve an accurate ¼’’ larger outline, use either a compass found in geometry sets set to a ¼’’ or an appropriately sized washer, follow the edge of the template as a guide with a pencil inside the center of the washer. Following the larger traced outline, cut out the gameboard shape from the piece of fabric with a rotary cutter and put it to the side.

*Rotary cutters are scary sharp and should only be used against a metal rule.

On your cardstock template start designing the look of your game. Consider what parts of the gameboard will be crossing the tie portion of the board. I chose to start at the tie portion of the gameboard so that I could conceal the gameboard tiles within the tie’s pattern. This is also when to decide on the colour scheme of your gameboard. Once you are happy with the design of your gameboard cut out the tile pattern with a craft or hobby knife and place it to the side.

Step 4: Transfering the Gameboard to the Fabric

Begin by laying the cardstock template of the game tiles onto the cut out fabric gameboard and trace the outline of the template with a pencil onto the fabric (you might have to use a specialty fabric pencil or marker depending on which fabric you choose ). Draw in the rest of the details of your gameboard in pencil onto the piece of fabric.

*I drew everything freehand directly onto the canvas without using a cardstock template. By skipping that step I missed out on refining the design of the gameboard, so make some cardstock templates to experiment with and make a truly winning design!

A pro tip for making parallel lines, like for the path of game tiles, is to tape two pencils onto either side of a small bloc of wood that is the width of the path you would like to create minus the diameter of one pencil.

Step 5: Painting the Gameboard

Using your fabric or acrylic paint, paint the gameboard in your chosen colour scheme. Feel free to paint embellishments, add textual elements, etc., during this process.

A pro tip is to use a paper palette for your painting projects as you can simply let the paint dry and dispose of it appropriately instead of introducing heavy metals into the water table.

*Be sure not to lay the paint on too thick over the creased fold lines as this might cause the paint to crack once it dries and is folded. While the gameboard dries, let’s make the knot of the tie which will hold the die and game pieces!

Step 6: Folding, Trimming and Creasing

Ready your hot melt glue gun or bottle of fabric glue and start to fold the edges of the tie's triangular end ¼’’ and glue them down. You will have to cut small slits in the corners of your gameboard bisecting the folds to avoid curling up your gameboard. Do the same thing for the other end of the tie that will be receiving the knot. Trim the excess 1/4" of fabric bleed edge using a rotary cutter against a metal straight edge.

Next, using a metal rule to achieve crisp lines, fold and crease the fabric gameboard first along the lines that outline the tie shape using the edge of a bone folder. Next, create folded sections for each wing of the gameboard, small enough to be concealed by the shape of the tie.

*I recommend drawing an array of pencil lines first to help guide you.

Then, use a bone folder to crease the established fold lines. It's suggested to complete this step after the board has been painted to increase the effectiveness of the crease lines.

Step 7: Tying the Knot

In fact, there’s no tying involved in the creation of this knot. There are two ways of approaching the construction of the knot: either by using recyclables or by 3D printing it.

Recyclables Approach:

Start by drawing or tracing an approximately proportioned triangular neck tie knot shape on a piece of cardstock. Use this cardstock template to locate a piece of curved plastic on a plastic bottle that resembles the correct shape. Trace the shape onto the bottle with a marker and carefully cut it out with a craft or hobby knife; if you happen to have Kevlar or similar cut resistant gloves, wear one on your non-dominant hand holding the bottle.

Cut and add plastic strips to the sides of the triangular plastic piece with hot melt glue to make up the sides of the knot. Then cut and glue on a similarly shaped triangular piece to make up the back of the plastic knot container. Lastly, cut a piece that will adequately cover the top opening of the knot container and include a 1-inch tab towards the backwards facing side of the piece. DO NOT glue in this piece just yet.

Gift wrap your plastic knot container with the same fabric as the gameboard, leaving the top uncovered. Then, cut a strip of fabric that is wide enough to cover up the top opening and long enough to be both glued to the inside of the plastic knot container securely and long enough to overhang the back of the knot container by at least 1½”.

Glue one end of the fabric strip inside towards the front of the plastic knot container. Then, glue the piece of plastic large enough to cover the top opening of the container cut earlier to the fabric strip. The fabric should act like a living hinge that allows you to open the lid of the plastic knot container. Tidy up the other end of the overhanging fabric strip and attach either a small strip of Velcro or glue a small neodymium magnet to its end. Next, glue a mating piece of Velcro or a magnet to the back of the plastic knot container. To complete the knot, attach another strip of Velcro or small neodymium magnet to the back of the knot. This will enable it to be attached to the tie shaped gameboard in the next step. I should mention that constantly checking to see whether the die and game pieces fit inside of the plastic knot container is essential to ensure that you will always have everything necessary to play the game!

3D Printing Approach:

Using the free browser-based 3D modeling software Tinkercad, start modeling a neck tie knot shape to the approximate scale of a real neck tie knot. To tinker with my model, search "Board Game Tie Knot" in the Tinkercad Gallery. Ungroup the model to see how I used simple geometric shapes to make it! Please feel free to make your knot as interesting and feature packed as you want! I’ve also included the 3D files if you just want to print off the design!

Step 8: Folding Up the Gameboard

Using your crease lines, fold up your gameboard so that it resembles a tie. Determine a simple way to keep it in that shape by adding either buttons, Velcro strips, small neodymium magnets, snaps or other fasteners. I ended up making an elastic loop with Velcro ends to act as a sort of tie clip. Once the gameboard is folded up, place it under a stack of books or other flat, heavy objects to define the fold lines even further. Onto the “necks” step!

Step 9: Neck Band and Assembly

Measure the circumference of your neck with either a flexible tape measure roll made specifically for this purpose or with a piece of string that you can then take a measurement from. Once you have that measurement, cut the elastic waistband 2” longer than that size. Attach strips of Velcro to the ends of the elastic waistband with fabric or hot melt glue. If you don’t trust the bond, you can sew the strips of Velcro to the elastic waistband. Determine what will be the front of the Board Game Tie by placing the neck band around your neck and placing the Velcro strips holding the band together at the back of your neck. In front of a mirror, mark the front of the neck band with a marker that will be visible on the elastic band material.

Next, remove the neck band and retrieve the folded and flattened Board Game Tie. Then, add a bead of glue to where the elastic waistband was marked and attach it to the top (skinny end) of the folded up and flattened Board Game Tie. Once this has dried you can strengthen the connection with the method of your choice or leave it as is.

If you are using the 3D printed knot I designed, it includes two slots around the back through which the waistband can be threaded.

Step 10: Tie "Clip"

I decided to use a small loop of elastic waistband with Velcro ends to act as a sort of tie "clip" to keep the gameboard from unfurling. To make it even more convincing you could glue a real tie clip to the elastic waistband!

Step 11: Play!

Surprise your friends when you take off your tie and challenge them to a game! Here’s another copy of the Impaired Pairs game’s rulebook so that you don’t have to go back and rifle through the previous steps to find it!


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