Introduction: Checkers/Draughts for Less Than 10 USD

About: Just playing around with cheap DIY´s and restorations ;)

Sorry for my english as is not my first language.

So a friend of mine asked me for something that would be nice for his coffee table, not too big and that would fit with the living room, mostly in tones of grey and blue. So I gave the idea of a checkers game ( in portuguese "damas" ) and asked if he had some preference for the pieces colours. Yup, instead of black and white, red and green. I guess is a portuguese football ( soccer ) joke as he is a Benfica fan (red) and his wife a Sporting fan (green) a white and blue pitch (Oporto). And if possible something that looked like wood instead of (cheap) plastic and, of course, cheap.


1 photo frame
1 set of plastic draught pieces
White acrylic paint
1 blue spray paint
1 red spray paint
1 green spray paint
Plastic primer spray
Satin varnish spray

As most of the supllies were allready available from other projects, I can´t tell how much was the real cost but it was way less than 10 USD, all cheapest supplies bought in the local (chinese) warehouse.

Step 1: Choosing a Frame for the Board

Bought a cheap 30x30cm photo frame with a pvc ("glass") cover so I can use it as a board. Not only a good medium size but also the bevel allows to keep the pieces always on the board without risk of losing them when not in use.

Step 2: Drawing the Board

As the size is medium small I opted for the traditional draughts set that can be used also has a chess board, with a 8x8 grid, instead of the larger 10x10 international draughts.
Designed the board in a vector graphic program. Applied a (fake) wood background in blue and white. I enclose the file in PDF in case you want to use it in your own project.

Step 3: Printing the Board

Printed it in real size in a A3 glossy paper that could fit the frame. I opted to left a little blue margin in that will be shown in the bezel as a "separation"

Step 4: Painting the Frame

Spray painted the frame in blue and mixed acrylic white paint with water to make some original stains. In the end coated with high gloss wood varnish. After being completely dry, mounted the board on the frame and put the pvc "glass" as if a normal photo. That will gove a glossy reflective surface that not only looks nice but also protects the board beneath and makes easy to move the little pieces.

Step 5: Choosing the Pieces

Well, here I cheated but mostly because it was dead cheap and I didn´t have a saw table to cut wood pieces. For as little as 1.12 USD ( 1 Euro ) I bought a cheap set of 24 black and white plastic pieces with the right size. If you prefer wood pieces, don´t have the tools or skills and dont care to wait you can órder in ebay or aliexpress for about the same price.

Step 6: Spray Paint the Pieces

First a coat of primer will help the paint bound to the plastic pieces, even if most spray paints adhere to plastic.

Step 7: Coating the Pieces

After completely dry, coat the pieces with stain/glossy varnish, that will not only give a shiny finish but also prevent the ink for chipping off. Yes, the pieces may look a little bit rugged but that´s expected from such a budget item, all the faults in black and white are more present in other colours but that fits well with the rustic aspect of the frame.

Step 8: Enjoy Your Board

Here is end result. My friend loved it. Don´t be limited to the same old ( but always stylish ) natural wood colours but try other colours for a casual checkers play in a decorative coffe table board. So if you liked please upvote and comment :)

Step 9: