Introduction: Quilled Chess Box With Light

About: I love creating. I love ART in all its forms. I am a daughter of the 50s, born in 1992. I had the pleasure to be a Featured Author on this fabulous site, and you can read my interview here: https://www.instr…

I wanted to make something unique with the quilling technique so I came up with the idea of making a chess box with quilled pieces reusing an old wooden box that used to be a box of colored pencils. Then I came up with the idea of making the whole chessboard in quilling as well.

I thought it was a good idea but apparently it wasn't challenging enough for me... I had to include lights too into my chess box and see all of those beautiful effects that I love so much when I make lamps.

The most challenging part to me was welding the strips together since I had never done it before and almost had no idea how to do it. But hey, when I turned them on they worked!!!

Step 1: Supplies

  • wooden box - I found an old box with a sliding lid that used to contain colored pencils and it was perfect for my purpose. It's 29 x 20 cm (11'' x 8'')
  • wood scraps
  • 2 plexiglass sheets at least as big as your box - I used the 2mm thick one (0,07'')
  • paper sheets or quilling sheets of two different colors
  • slotted quilling tool
  • white glue
  • clear varnish
  • hacksaw
  • LED strip with power supply
  • electric wire
  • on/off rocker switch
  • DC power jack connector
  • sandpaper
  • super glue
  • drill
  • paint and/or crystal snow paste
  • soldering iron with solder

I cut my own paper strips as usual so, if you don't already have (many) quilling strips, you can see the instructions in my "Cut your own paper quilling strips" tutorial to do the same.

Step 2: Create or Adjust Your Box

The first thing I did was disassembling my whole box because I needed it to be a little taller (it would have been too small to contain my chess pieces). In order to do so, I cut some pieces of wood as long as the sides of my box. I glued them together with white glue and clamped them for a while.

I eventually re-attached them to the bottom of my box and clamped it as well. Now the box has the perfect size!

Trace the outlines of the switch and connector on one side of the box and cut them out. You can use a drill for the connector hole and a drill combined with a coping saw for the switch hole.

The switch is not necessary if you don't have one... but it looks better with it!

Step 3: Paint the Box

Paint your box with any paint you like. I chose the white one because I applied a crystal snow paste on it afterwards. Use a spatula to apply it in case you want to do the same and leave the holes' border free so the switch and connector can still fit.

I painted the outside only, but you can paint the whole box, including the inside if you prefer.

Once dry, insert the switch in its hole.

Step 4: Add the LED Strips

Cut 2 pieces of LED strips as long as the shortest sides of your box.

In case you have a waterproof LED strip, carefully remove some of the silicone from 3 tips of the strips (both ends in the first one and one in the other).

Attach the first strip to the side where the switch and connector are and the second strip to the other side.

Now connect the connector's negative pole to the first strip's negative pole welding a short piece of electric wire. Then connect the connector's positive pole to the switch's input (0 - closed circuit).
Connect the switch's output (I - open circuit) to the strip's positive pole.
Finally, connect the first strip to the second one (+ with + and - with -) welding 2 pieces of electric wire. These pieces must be long enough to cross the long side of the box.

Step 5: Hide the Strips and Wires

The electric wires on the long side of the box were loose so I fixed them to the side with a few staples.

Other than this, I wanted to hide these wires and the strips completely so that they wouldn't be visible from the top of the box. For this reason, I decided to create a thin frame to attach to the inside borders of my box.

Cut 4 strips of thin wood (mine is 3mm thick and 5mm wide): 2 as long as the short sides of the box and 2 as long as the long sides of the box.

In order to make the frame you must cut both ends of each strip with a 45° angle.

Finally, glue the frame all around the inside of the box, right on the strips and wires.

The box is done.

Step 6: The Chess Pieces's Base

Glue the tips of 6 quilling strips together and start rolling them with your quilling tool to obtain a tight coil. Fix it with glue at the end. This coil will turn out very thick.

Now push the central part of the coil with your finger (or anything with a round shape) so you can create a shape similar to a cone. The cone has to be 17-19mm depending on the piece you are making. Finally apply plenty of glue on the inside of the cone to fix it.

This is the base for most of the chess pieces, except the knight.

Step 7: The Pawn

To make the pawn you need:

  • a 17mm tall base (0,6'');
  • a tight coil composed of 3 thin strips - cut the strips in half lengthwise to obtain thin strips;
  • a tight coil composed of 2 regular strips.

Glue the thin coil to the base and the other roll to the thin one as you can see in the picture (perpendicularly).

Step 8: The Rook

To make the rook you need:

  • a 17mm tall base (0,6'');
  • a tight coil composed of 3 and a half thin strips - cut the strips in half lengthwise to obtain thin strips;
  • a tight coil composed of 2 regular strips;
  • 6 tiny tight coils composed of short pieces of thin strip - I cut them in half widthwise 3 times.

Glue the thin coil to the base, the regular one on it and the tiny ones right on top of the circumference to obtain the battlements.

Step 9: The Knight - Part 1

To create the base for the knight you need to make a thick tight coil composed of 6 regular strips with a 5mm hole in the middle. To make the hole you can roll the first strip around a stick or anything similar.

Now make 2 loose coils using just one strip. Their diameter has to be about 10mm wide (0,4''). Pinch them to give them the shape of teardrops.

Glue the teardrops next to each other then make a slightly bigger loose coil (12mm wide), pinch it as well and shape it a little bit to make it resemble a horse head.

Glue the head on top of the 2 teardrops.

Step 10: The Knight - Part 2

Cut a regular strip in half twice. You need 2 short strips like this.

Insert the tip of the strip in the slotted tool and roll it until you reach the middle. Remove the strip from the tool then turn it and insert the other end to roll the second half. You'll obtain an "S" shape this way. Make another one just like this one.

Glue the 2 pieces next to each other along the head and back of the horse to create the mane.

Finally glue the horse to the base.

Step 11: The Bishop

To make the bishop you need:

  • a 19mm tall base (0,75'');
  • a tight coil composed of 2 regular strips;
  • a tight coil composed of 1 thin strip;
  • a loose coil (7mm wide) composed of a thin strip cut in half: pinch it to obtain a small teardrop.

Glue the regular coil to the base, the thin coil to the previous one and the teardrop on top, with the tip side up.

Step 12: The Queen

To make the queen you need:

  • a 18mm tall base (0,7'');
  • a tight coil composed of a regular strip;
  • a tight coil composed of 2 thin strips;
  • a tight coil composed of 3 and a half thin strips;
  • a tight coil composed of 1 thin strip;
  • a tight coil composed of 2 regular strips;
  • 4 tiny tight coils composed of short thin strips - cut a thin strip in half widthwise twice. These coils need to have a 3mm wide hole inside so roll them around a skewer or something similar. Pinch all of them to obtain 4 tiny teardrops.

Glue the 4 tiny teardrops on top of the biggest regular coil to create the crown on top of the queen's head. Look at the picture to see how I placed them.

Glue the small regular coil to the base, the thin 2 strip coil on it, then the biggest thin coil above. Glue the neck (small thin coil) on the body and finally the head with the crown on top.

Step 13: The King

To make the king you need:

  • a 18mm tall base (0,7'');
  • 2 tight coils composed of 2 regular strips each (one is for the head);
  • a tight coil composed of 3 and a half regular strips;
  • a tight coil composed of 5 and a half thin strips;
  • a tight coil composed of a thin strip.

Glue one of the 2 strips regular coils to the base and the large regular coil on it. Add the big thin coil above, then the small thin coil and finally the head on top.

To create the crown you need to make 4 tiny teardrops just like you did for the queen's crown. Glue them on top of the head as you can see in the picture.

To create the cross, make a tiny tight coil using a regular strip cut in half 3 times. Then make other 3 tiny tight coils using a thin strip cut in half 3 times.
Glue one of the thin coils to the regular one to make it longer, then add the other 2 perpendicularly to obtain a cross.

Glue the cross in the middle of the crown and the king is done.

Step 14: Complete the Set

Make a total of 8 pawns, 2 rooks, 2 bishops, 2 knights, a queen and a king of each color.

When you are done, paint all of them with clear varnish to finish them and make them stronger and more durable.

Step 15: The Chessboard Pieces

To create a square for the chessboard you need to make 4 loose coils with a strip of one color. Pinch them once to create a teardrop then gently press the round side in the middle to give it the shape of a heart.

Cut 2 of the other color strips in half to obtain 4 shorter strips. Roll each of them to create 4 small tight coils.

Step 16: Complete the Chessboard

Glue the 4 tight coils together to create a small square.
Glue the top of the other color hearts to the sides of the small square.

This is the way the regular square for your chessboard have to be made. I tried to make it 22 x 22 mm so that all of my squares could fit on the lid of my box.
Now do the same exchanging colors.

You need to make a total of 64 squares: 32 with one combination of colors, 32 with the other.

When you are done making all of them, glue them next to each other making sure to alternate them all the time. Two squares with the same combination of colors can never be placed next to each other!

The chessboard has 8 squares on each side.

Step 17: Make the Lid

Now that your chessboard is done, it's time to make the transparent lid.

Cut a plexiglass rectangle as big as the inside of your box plus the side needed to open it (the frame's width). Then cut a slightly bigger plexiglass rectangle to fit into the 3 slots inside of your box. If you are already using a box with a sliding lid like mine, you can simply replicate the lid on the plexiglass and cut it.

My wooden lid also had one side of the frame attached to it so I removed it, painted it just like my box and replaced it on one side of my big plexiglass rectangle with super glue. This piece is very useful as grip to make the lid slide easily and open the box.

Step 18: Glue the Chessboard

Now glue your chessboard in the middle of the big plexiglass rectangle (the bottom of the lid), making sure to have one side of the chessboard touch the frame you attached previously.

Cut 2 thin strips of wood (or cardboard) as long as the side of the chessboard and as wide as its thickness.
Paint and glue them to the sides of your chessboard (left and right).

Step 19: Fill the Sides

The lid is rectangular and the chessboard is a square so the 2 sides need to be filled with something, right?

So make some "S" shapes with one strip of paper each and glue them to the sides. I made a row of one color and a row of the other. You can even make different shapes and patterns if you like!

When you are done filling both sides, cut 2 more strips of wood (or cardboard) as long as the sides, paint them and glue them where the decoration ends.

Important: remember to always leave a small border free on the 3 sides that don't have the frame so that you can still insert the lid into the slots.

Step 20: Complete the Lid and Finish the Box

The lid is almost done... Glue the plexiglass rectangle left on top of the chessboard applying glue to the 2 sides. Make sure to center it, leaving the 3 borders free for the slots, and have the bottom touch the bottom frame.

Do you have some plexiglass left? If so, cut a strip about as wide as the height of your box and as long as the short side (on the inside). Gently sand it with fine sandpaper to make it kind of matt (it will reflect the light in a better way) and glue it in the middle of the inside of your box.

You can keep your chess pieces separate this way.

Insert the lid and your chess box is done! My cat was the first one who tried it out...

Step 21: Let's Start Playing!

You can keep your quilled chess pieces inside the box, make the lid slide to take them out and start playing!

It's a huge work, it takes a lot of time and patience but the result looks good, doesn't it?

Step 22: Even at Night...

Remember the LEDs inside?

Connect them to the power and turn it on. You can play whenever you want, even in the dark. It makes some beautiful light effects too!

I entered this instructable in a few contests so please, if you like it, vote for it, thanks!

Quilling Contest 2016

Grand Prize in the
Quilling Contest 2016

Trash to Treasure Challenge

Runner Up in the
Trash to Treasure Challenge

Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest

Participated in the
Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest