DIY Backyard Games - Checker Board

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

I love to entertain and I love to entertain in my backyard. Summertime seems to the best time to have all of your friends over for a little food, a little beverage, and a little backyard competition. Okay, maybe not competition, but it is fun to have a few backyard games handy to help everyone mingle, especially if not everyone knows one another. 

But there are times when it's just you and your family and you want to hang out and have some family fun. That's where this DIY backyard game inspiration came from. Who remembers playing checkers as a child? Who hasn't played checkers since they were a child? I can answer me to both of those questions. And because I haven't played in years, and because we don't have a checkerboard, I decided we needed one. And I decided that I could make it! I had my next segment lined up for Better Kansas City and for our next backyard family game night.

I enlisted the help of my dad, because he's who I always call when I need help in making something! And because I was going to be using power tools, I needed a spotter. Not because I thought I would cut off my hand or anything, but because I might cut off a finger instead. Plus, I knew there would be some math involved and I needed someone to check my measurements. You know what they say, measure twice, cut once. And, I like hanging out with my dad!

I headed to Home Depot, looked at all the items I thought I might need, and took screen shots. Loaded with my information, I showed my dad just what I was thinking so when it came time to make the purchase, I was ready. Turns out, he had some amazing additional idea, which involved some pretty tricky accessories to the already power tool use, but I was game to try! (That little accessory proved to be tricky and I let him do the whole thing!)

So, what do you need in order to make your own backyard checkerboard? Check it out below! 

We used a 2X4 piece of sanded outdoor plywood for the checkerboard. You could use a 2X2, or have someone at Home Depot cut it for you, but we used the extra wood to make the discs for our checkers. You can too, just stay tuned. We divided the board in half and made the cut, or should I say, I made the cut! EEKK! I used the Ryobi handheld circular saw and let me tell you, this saw was so easy to use! And it made a smooth even cut, even on plywood. Not a single nick of any kind!

This is a hole saw that attaches to your drill like any drill bit. It's the tricky tool I was telling you about. It cuts out circular shapes from wood and that's what we used for our checker pieces. The hole in the center will allow for hand storage! Want a more solid circle? You can easily purchase wooden disks online!


All prepped and ready for paint! Make sure you use sandpaper around the edges to smooth it down. Then paint them. 

Next up, the painting process and a process it is! First, paint the entire board a solid a color. I went with cream and green, the colors of our house. I painted the base cream, applying two coats, and allowing it to dry thoroughly before adding the blue tape.

Now for the checker grid..... It looks terribly intimidating, but it's not when your dad does it! Remember that math stuff I was telling you about? Honestly, I'm terrible at math and could never have done this! Basically, you measure off 16 squares, paint them, measure off the remaining 16 squares, and paint those! Again, I applied two coats of the green, waiting for it to thoroughly dry before applying the second blue tape grid. And here's a little tip, we all know blue tape claims it doesn't bleed, but you can never be too sure. Use an eraser to press down the blue tape to secure it all around the board. When I peeled off the tape, no bleeding!

And here is the finished product! Joel and I had a little one on one time and took advantage of  our "photo shoot" for the segment by playing a little game. It all came back to us and can't wait to get McKinley involved!

So serious about his next move!

On the flip side of the board, I painted it with chalkboard paint. Now, instead of playing competitive checkers, we can play competitive Hangman, our own version of Pictionary, or McKinley can just draw while Joel and I work in the yard. I love the versatility of this DIY backyard game board!

What do you think? Is this something you would tackle or would you just go out and buy your own game? I love that I was able to work on this with my dad and I love that when I pull this out for play, I know I made it! Next up, game night party in the backyard!


*This Better Kansas City segment was sponsored by Home Depot. All products were supplied by Home Depot.

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