Introduction: Pop-up Paper Chess Set

About: I am a paper engineer, writer, maker and chemist wannabe. In addition to pop-up cards I design and build furniture, lights, costumes or whatever I happen to need at the time. Lipstick, a mixing studio, all-pur…
This happens far too often --  in the middle of a heated chess game, something comes up to interrupt the flow. By the time you get back a few hours or days later half the pieces have been knocked over. Arrgh! Game over.

Since I design pop-up cards, I thought I could remedy this problem by designing a chess set and board which would fold flat, with all pieces in place. Need the dining room table for dinner? No problem! Fold your game up, put it on the sideboard, and open it again after the dishes are done...

Here's how you can make it:

Step 1: The Files

You will need the template files, which include instructions and all you need to print out a chess board and all 32 pieces (another advantage of this chess set: if you lose a piece you can just print it again). All you need to supply is a black and white printer, letter-sized paper, a pair of scissors and a bit of patience -- though I should clarify that I designed all the pieces to be easy and quick to make, so you won't need superhuman patience, just a little.

I designed the template, a 10 page PDF document, which I usually sell on my website for $3.95 -- but I've been on Instructables for a while, and I consider this is a site for sharing, not selling. So until July 31st 2013 or until 500 people download it I'm offering the files for free. When you "buy" it enter the code INSTRUCTABLES and you 'll pay me $0. If 500 people beat you to it, then use the code 2LATE and you'll still get 50% off.

Click here to get the PDF template

UPDATE: The 500 download limit has been reached, but the 50% discount code 2LATE will still work. 

Step 2: The Board

This is a simple 3D lattice rather than a flat board. I'm attempting to embed a video tutorial but if that effort fails, click on this link; the video explains the assembly better than words....

1. Cut the pieces in strips 2 squares wide
2. Fold them in half lengthwise
3. Cut notches into them where indicated (IMPORTANT: do not just snip the paper, you need to remove a slit of paper about 1mm wide, otherwise the chess set will look all wobbly and not open and close properly)
3. Assemble by slipping the notches into each other. 
4. (optional) put a few pieces of tape along the outside edge of the board, so your strips don't slip out

Step 3: The Pieces

All these pieces are symmetrical, which means you can fold the paper in half and cut the shape with a pair of scissors. 

Black lines indicate where you need to cut, dotted and dashed lines show where you need to fold. Start by making the white pieces to become familiar with the cut and fold lines; besides the knight template, the black pieces to not explicitly show them.

White and black pieces are reversed: the cut and fold lines should be on the back side of the white pieces, but the printed side of the black pieces should pop-up on the front.

Click on the links to view video tutorials for making the rooks and knights: once you've made those you can easily make all the rest.


Toy Contest

Finalist in the
Toy Contest

Epilog Challenge V

Runner Up in the
Epilog Challenge V

Father's Day Contest

Finalist in the
Father's Day Contest

Craft Contest

Participated in the
Craft Contest