A Harry Potter chess set? The nerd level in this post just went through the roof. Seriously though, I wanted to give my brother something for Christmas this year that he and his family would love. I remembered the chess scene in one of the Harry Potter movies and thought it would be, well, spellbinding to create my own.
This instructable is broken into three parts; the chess pieces, chess board, and a handy carrying case to put them in. I hope you enjoy it as much as they did!
Step 1: Chess Pieces
To start, purchase varying sizes of wooden "peg dolls" for the 32 total chess pieces. Let me break down what you'll need- in peg doll terms:
- 2 Tall Men (kings)
- 2 Tall Men (queens)
- 4 Little Women (rooks)
- 4 Large Boys (bishops)
- 4 Small Angles (knights)
- 16 Small Boys (pawns)
= 32 Total
You can purchase all the peg dolls aforementioned at the Etsy shop, "ClicketyClack." Also, here are the other slightly obvious supplies that you will need for the pieces (I found these in my house):
- crafty paint
- paint brushes
- brown craft paper or newspaper to cover your table
Step 2: Chess Pieces: Pick Your Characters
Decide which characters to use for your 32 pieces so you can paint them next. Since the two bishops, rooks, knights and eight pawns are the same characters, you'll have only 6 different characters to paint per side.
I divided the white and black sides so it's good versus evil. The "white" pieces are devoted to Gryffindor:
King: Harry Potter
Rooks: Ron Weasley
Pawns: Gryffindor Quidditch Players
And the "black" pieces to Slytherin:
Queen: Delores Umbridge
Bishops: Lucius Malfoy
Knights: Vernon Dursley
Rooks: Draco Malfoy
Pawns: Slytherin Quidditch Players
Step 3: Chess Pieces: Paint!
Using these peg pieces or google images as a reference, pull up pictures of your characters and begin to paint. Here's some tips to help it go along smoother:
- Paint the lightest color of paint first, typically the face.
- When using a color, paint as many pieces while you have that color on your brush (i.e. paint 8 faces at one time).
- Use a black sharpie for the eyes instead of black paint.
When your characters are painted, brush the bottom of your pieces with white paint. Pencil the name of each character on the bottom afterwards.
Step 4: Chess Pieces: Mod Podge Coat
You'll want to protect your pieces from getting chipped, dunked, slobbered and ruined, by protecting it with some kind of finish. For these, I covered with Mod Podge. It looks pretty white and funny at first, but don't worry, it will dry.
To apply, cover the bottom half of your peg doll. Let dry, then cover the head. Do this to all your pieces.
Step 5: Chess Board
Creating the Squares
The chess board is a 12" x 12" piece of "craft plywood," 3mm thick. I didn't have any wood carving tools, so I did my own ghetto version to give it dimension:
- Mark 8 spaces on all four sides, 1.5" wide each. If you want a border, do the markings just a bit smaller than 1.5".
- Using a ruler and the sharp side of a compass, score a line from the top mark of the board that you just made to the matching bottom mark.
- Turn the board around and do the other side.
Step 6: Chess Board: Painting Your Board
If you want to add an awesome image, do that before painting the squares. I googled "harry potter snake" and found an image I could free hand. Pencil and then paint your snake in first before doing the squares. This way you don't have to paint the color of your image over your black paint.
Paint the white squares first, and then the black by alternating as shown.
Once the paint is dry, cover your board with mod podge to protect it from wear and tear. Do a couple of coats.
Step 7: Carrying Case
Creating a case can help protect your set.
- 1 yrd black quilted fabric and matching thread
- sewable velcro
- harry potter face- off white and brown material
- iron-on interfacing
Harry Potter Face Applique
- Iron the off white, brown and a piece of black fabric to some iron-on interfacing. This will be your Harry Potter face. If you're unfamiliar with iron on interfacing, there are tips about how to use it here.
- Using a pattern or eye balling it, cut out your harry potter face, hair, scar and glasses. Peel off the interfacing paper and iron it on to the face.
Step 8: Carrying Case: Constructing the Case
The main piece of the case measures 14"W x 28"L. Here's how to make it:
- Measure and cut two 15" x 29" pieces of fabric. The extra inch is allowing for seam allowance.
- With right or the black colored sides of the material facing each other, sew around the top and sides, much like you would in construction a receiving blanket. Turn.
- Zig Zag your Harry Potter applique to the spot you'd like him to be.
- Top stitch around your main piece. When you get to the open end, tuck the ends in and finish off by top stitching.
Step 9: Carrying Case: Pockets and Handle
Create a small pocket for your peg chess pieces case by measuring a rectangle the size you'd like your pocket to be. My pocket is 12" x 8". You'll also create a pocket for your main chess board by folding the main piece up and sewing it (see #2).
- Cut the pocket size then hem the sides. Add gussets to each corner to account for the volume the peg pieces will add.
- Laying the main piece down, flip the bottom of the main piece up and over the chess board. Sew the velcro on the end. Pint the pocket on and sew the pocket on to the main piece.
With your pocket sewn on, pin the sides of the main piece that's folded over the chess board to measure 10". This will be the pocket for your chess board. Sew down the main pocket on each side.
Cut a strip of fabric 4" by 12" for your handle. Fold the short ends towards the wrong side of the fabric and hem. Fold the strip of fabric in twice lengthwise, and iron. Pin in place and sew against the long side. With the chess board in the case, mark and sew where you'd like your handles to be.
Step 10: Finishing Up!
Add a piece of velcro to the top of your flap, and if needed, inside the small pocket where your peg chess pieces are. To gift, I wrapped each peg in a small piece of gift tissue paper. Makes it fun to open each piece.
Now enjoy for a few minutes and give it away. Hope you enjoyed.