How to Make a Homemade Chess Set

List: Posted: 08/04/11

Chess is a very enjoyable and intellectually stimulating hobby, but buying a full sized board at the toy store or game section of your local department store can be pricey.  You can save money and have some family fun by making your own chess set at home.  To get started, you will need to assemble some tools and supplies.

You will need:


Wood scraps (several different types)


Wood glue

A ruler

A pencil



For the Board:


You'll need a wooden base board for your chess set, but you will also need different colored wood tiles.  Ebony and walnut make great options, as do rosewood, red sandalwood, curly maple and boxwood.  You might also choose to use a wood burner to create your own chess set.



The board needs to conform to a standard chess set size – 12.5 by 12.5 inches.  There should be eight rows on the board, and each row needs to have eight squares, each 1.5 inches square.  Use your ruler to create a pattern on your base board.  Cut out correctly sized tiles and arrange them on your board, alternating colors as required.  Secure in place with strong wood glue.


Once you have created your board, you will need to varnish it to seal it and give it a smooth texture.  You will need to use several coats of varnish, but make sure that the previous coat has dried completely before you move on to the next.

Chess Pieces


You now need to either buy the pieces for your chess set or make them yourself.  Making your own can be a lot of fun, and you can use everything from nuts, bolts and washers to wood pieces you carve on your own.  Regardless, your chess set will require 16 pawns, four rooks, four bishops, four knights, two kings and two queens.

Color Scheme


Finally, you need to make sure that the opposing sides of your chess set are distinguishable from each other.  Paint, designs and other decorations can be used here.

Game & Hobby Stores

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  • (703) 327-1900
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  • Ashburn, VA 20147
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