How to Make a Checkerboard

For a Game Board or Just Rustic Decor

The checkerboard pattern has long been associated with Americana.  The oldest boards would have been scratched on bark, or in the dirt, so they no longer survive. 

You can make a rustic checkerboard to hang on the wall, or as a tea tray or table top.

a checkerboard with handmade pottery on it

The simple pattern of alternating squares is an ancient one.

Chess and checkers (sometimes spelled 'chequers') have been around for centuries. 

Imagine the first hunters gathering in the dark beside their fire, waiting for dawn to arrive so they could once again hunt; what would they do to occupy their fertile minds?

Both of these games are moveable, and can be made out of pebbles or other local materials.

In one of my gathering phases I ended up with a whole lot of kitchen cabinet doors cast off from renovations or as seconds (those damaged or not good enough to sell). 

There were a mishmash of styles, one of which are flat plywood edged in a darker type of solid wood.  They are birch veneer which is top end material for making kitchen cabinet doors.

At first I didn't know what they would be good for, but on closer inspection they made the perfect start to a new line of tea trays and table tops.

Checkerboard Tea Tray with Pottery

So here's what happened; first, I did some research to find out the correct number of squares for a checkerboard - it turns out it's the same for a chessboard - eight across and eight down, in alternating colours.

Alternating squares in an eight across, eight down pattern is the typical checkerboard

For this particular checkerboard I used the vinegar and steel wool method of staining the wood.

Two coats of the vinegar and steel wool stain

Once the two coats were dry, I used a coat of Varathane Diamond Coat to seal it all.

Painted in a crosshatch design to completely cover it

The checkerboard, with one coat of the sealant, will stand up to use as a game board, hung on the wall as a decorative item or as a tea tray.  Two coats will make it weatherproof.

Rustic handles made of rusty bolts

A sleek tray like this should have at least one rustic touch - using rusty bolts wired on with tie wire for the handles adds that in spades.

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