Introduction: Chess Set Made From the Sea

About: Hi my name is Alex and I love creating stuff. I dabble in a bit of html coding, writing, and programing and I'm alwase finding new things I love. Also I'm a 17 year old Jesus freak that has a crazy life (I mov…

You know all those shells you pick up on the beach because you think, "This looks cool!" or "I could use this for ..." but in the end they just end up in a random jar on your shelf? Well now you have a use for them. This instructable teaches you how to make an awesome chess set just using glue and what you find on the beach. Now unlike a lot of instructables this isn't a step by step guide to making the exact chess set I have shown and there are two of reasons for that. First, no two beaches have the exact same shells and the work of trying to find out which shells I have so you can order them is just crazy (besides who would do that). Not to mention that you guys probably have a lot more creative genius than me and will make way cooler pieces with the shells you find than I did with the shells I found. Second, I'm not the expert at this. I'm sure that you crafty people have a better way of sticking shells together than hot glue but I know hot glue works and it's what I had. Also with my ten seconds of searching I didn't find an intractable that made a chess set using sea glass and shells so I figured I would fill the gap. What I will teach you is what I learned making my chess set and leave the specifics up to you. Now that we've got that out of the way lets get on to the fun bit. If you want to know why I made this chess set it's short and simple I collected some shells and sea glass while I was at the beach and given my love for chess a chess set just popped into my mind. This chess set cost me nothing but only because I got some expensive glue for Christmas which cost my parents $40. I'm sure there is some cheeper glue that will do the job but I don't know of it (I didn't do any research). If you find a cheaper brand please say so in the comments. I've rambled long enough lets get to it!

What you need:


1. Sea glass colored clear and brown (could be different colors, I just found a lot of brown and clear) distributed 50/50. The amount depends on the size of your chess board but if your just collecting glass off the beach around 6 or 7 handfuls.

2. Sea shells colored white and black. The amount of each type of shell you need to collect depends on your models which we'll discuss later. Don't be hesitant to pick up shells that aren't black or white as you can mix them in but most of your shells do need to be black or white.

3. Aluminum foil. Just about two feet.


1. About 10 sticks of hot glue and a hot glue gun. There is likely another type of glue that will work so if you don't have hot glue it's not necessarily a deal breaker... try whatever glue you have out on a few shells and see if it works.

2. About 16 oz of thick glue that drys clear and sticks to glass. I used Aristocrat liquid glass high gloss coating and it worked great but I can't guarantee any glue that drys clear and sticks to glass will work so I recommend taking a small sample and trying it out.

Step 1: The Pieces

The first thing to do when making chess pieces is to make a model. This allows you to make sure to get the look you want before you start glueing and that you have enough shells to replicate your model however many times it needs to be replicated. The only pieces that don't need a model are the king and queen as there will only be one of each and each is unique. I think its best to get as close as you can to the standard look of chess pieces so your opponent won't be confused about which piece is which when he's playing you. Once you've grabbed a considerable number of random shells off the beach find your most common white and black shells. These two types of shells will act as your base for every piece you make sure to get a lot of them. Start with your pawns making sure the model you create can be replicated 8 times. I recommend something simple and short as those are the characteristics of a pawn and will make your piece more recognizable and easy to recreate. Make sure to do both sides, white and black, for every model. Next the rook. Most rooks are about as tall as the pawn and have a tower like look. The knight should be a bit taller then the rook and if possible have what resembles a horses bending its neck. This is what really gives them away as knights. The bishop should be taller then the knight and be a vertical stack of your base pieces with a head piece shell on the top. Once you have made your models gather all your shells and start glueing. Once you've finished mass producing all of your models all that's left to make is the king and queen. The king and queen should be the tallest of all your pieces and the main distinguishing factor between them is their crowns. The queen should have a more halo like crown or no crown at all while the kings crown should be pointy and similar to the rooks head piece. If you need some visual aid look above at my pieces and original models. There you go! You've finished your pieces, now its time to make the chess board.

Step 2: The Board

The first thing to do in order to make your chess board is to find a frame the size you want your board. Make sure your frame has right angles so your board looks square. I used a cereal box but my edges were not straight so it depends on how much of a perfectionist you are. Next, line the inside of your frame with aluminum foil. Make sure the aluminum foil is flat against your frame as any bumps will make your edges not straight. I put reference dots on my aluminum foil so I could tell how big each square need to be but I don't recommend this because they can still be seen in the finished product. Use a ruler to get you squares square. I made my chess board about 22 by 22 cm so each square was about 3 cm but I only used those measurements because it was the size of my box. 24 by 24 cm is probably the optimal board size. Next lay out your sea glass fitting it together to make 64 3x3 cm squares alternating between brown and white. If any of your pieces have a curve to them make sure the concave side is facing up so no bubbles can be trapped underneath the glass. Once your mosaic is complete take it outside (the glue I used had toxic fumes) and slowly pour the glue over the glass making sure to evenly distribute the liquid. Pop any bubbles that rise and let it sit for 24 hours (or follow the directions for the glue you use). When it's dry clip off the excess tinfoil and you're done! You've made your sea chess set.

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