Introduction: Ninja Chess

This is a fun veneration of the standard chess set where the traditional chess pieces are replaced by "fun and cute" Ninja characters.

You can learn to play chess though this Instructable. If you want to learn more about Ninjas then I recommend the Ask a Ninja video podcast.

Step 1: What You Will Need...

To make the Ninja chess set you will need...

  • A printer (colour or mono)
  • 2 self-adhesive label sheets (ideally A4, 210mm×297mm, 8.27in×11.7in)
  • A self aligning paper cutter (optional but recommended)
  • A laser cutter or the use of a cutting facility (optional)
  • A chess board

If you do not have access to a paper/vinyl cutter then scissors or a craft knife can be used.

If you have access to a laser cutter then download ninjas_cutout.dxf and cut it out twice in 3mm acrylic. Ideally one set should be in black acrylic and one in white, but any colour will suffice.

If you do not have access to a laser cutter then you can send the file off to be cut for you, or find something else to stick the stickers on. A set of low cost plastic shot glasses can work well.

Step 2: Printing Out the Ninjas

First we need to print the Ninja characters on to the self-adhesive label sheets. One sheet for the fronts and one for the backs. Load the sheets in the printer so the sticker side is printed on.

If you are using a Silhouette America cutter (I used the Silhouette Portrait for this) then download ninjas_front.studio3 and ninjas_back.studio3 and load them in to Silhouette Studio. We need to print the image with registration marks that the cutter can cut in the correct place automatically, so press CTRL+F3 and select a style compatible with your cutter from the right. Next simply press CTRL+P to print.

If you have a paper cutter that supports the Graphtec Studio File format then download ninjas_front.gsp and ninjas_back.gsp instead and follow the cutter's instructions.

If you do not have a paper cutter then you will need to do it by hand. For this download and print both ninjas_front.pdf and ninjas_back.pdf. Remember to select the option to print them full size if your PDF viewer gives you the option.

Step 3: Cutting Out the Ninjas

If you are using a Silhouette America cutter then load up the relevant file from the prior step if it is not still loaded and press CTRL+F2 to change the cutter settings. The cut setting will very depending on the sticker paper you use but I normally just select "White Sticker Paper" from the Material Type and run with the recommended settings. I recommend using the cutting mat and using a finder to push it in place.

If you have another type of paper cutter then again follow the instructions that came with it.

Once the paper cutter has completed I recommend removing the excess sticky paper round the stickers. This is not essential but makes removing the stickers in the next step much easer.

If you do not have a paper cutter then you will need to do it the old fashioned way using a craft knife or scissors. My personal preference is to roughly cut round each character then use scissors to trim off the excess. Try and cut in the middle of the outer black line. Don't worry about drifting off track as you will not notice small errors when you finish.

Step 4: Assembling the Ninjas (1) - Applying the Sickers

If you have sent off to have the acrylic parts laser cut or you have cut them yourself you will mostly likely have a protective film on the surfaces that will need removing. After doing this lay the faces out on the worktop to you can identify them and pick them up easily.

If you did not have the acrylic part cut on a laser cutter then you will have to use some other object to attach the stickers to. A popular option is to use plastic shot glasses.

Now working from the side of the printed and cut stickers, bend the backing paper at the edge of each sticker until it starts to pop off, then peel it off fully. Place the relevant acrylic part on the work surface in front of you and line up the smallest part of the sicker first. Once the sticker is anchored by the smallest bit at one side "roll" the rest of the sticker from that end. Do not let the sticker fall and attach as one as this will most likely result in a crease or bubble. Finally run your finders down the surface gently to insure the whole sticker is attached.

Next repeat another 63 times. It is likely at least one will go wrong or you will make a mistake. I made several mistakes. Don't worry. Just peel it off again and reprint it if it is tarnished.

Step 5: Assembling the Ninjas (2) - Attaching the Base

Now with the stickers attached we can glue on the bases. Again we will probably have to remove protective film on the surfaces of the base parts before we can do this.

Just put a spot of glue at the base of the figure between the two pegs. Only a small blob is needed. Then insert the top in to the base. Now place the figure upright on the workbench and leave the glue to set.

If the acrylic is wider than it should be, and this has happened to me, then don't force it as the base will crack. Instead use a needle file on the front or back of the pegs to shave off a small amount. Don't go overboard.

Step 6: All Done

After the glue has set your new Ninja Chess set is complete and ready for a game of chess. Well done.

If you want to customise the set further then go for it. Perhaps you want to glue on some material for the belts and bandanas, or perhaps paint the crowns gold. None of the Ninjas have and weapons yet so perhaps you could add some. You could also design a custom Ninja Chess chess board.

Do post any pictures of your creations here. I would love to see them.

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