Once my hands stopped hurting from all the gripping and hand-sewing of the cushions, I moved on to a simpler project that I could do while watching cheesy Rom-Coms.
Like most popups, ours came with a big, heavy table that is used as support for an additional bed and when popped up takes up almost all the movable space in the camper.
Our friends told us that during the day they always used the table outside of the camper as a prep table or as a store-all-of-the-stuff-we-want-less-covered-in-dirt-then-everything-else surface. This gave me an idea to employ Alton Brown’s multi-use principle to make it a game table.
Why not make it a chess/checkers board? That should be easy… well easier then cushions I guess.
So first I laid out a 8x8 square board. After measuring my table, I figured I could go with 3”x3” squares then 2”x2” pieces.
Then after getting stuck in a popup camper Pinterest hole for hours, I decided to hand paint the squares myself. I used acrylic paint, which is not the best idea because it is textured and can peel. Also, I didn’t sand the original table at all before I painted, so learn from me… prep your board so the paint lasts.
I decided to only paint half of the squares instead of all of them. I marked each square to paint that way I didn’t get distracted and paint the wrong part (when wine is involved, I need backup keep-on-task plans). I also used a sharpie to draw the outline for all the edges. While I won’t win any artistic awards for my piece (Semblance of a Game. 2017, Acrylic on coated MDF.), I think the board turned out well.
My daughter wanted to help personalize the table too, so I tried to look away while she added her super cute players to only one side. Inside I was screaming, “OMG, fill the whole side, even it out, use different colors!” But, she was very proud of her contribution and now I love it. I must remember to let go of the control-freak reins every once in a while.
Now, the pieces. I thought if I made 16 pieces for each side, one side could be blank for checkers, and the other side could be designed for chess. I found two spare pieces of wood in the hubby’s project pile and lined out thirty-six 2”x2” squares for him to cut, I know better than to use power tools. 32 for the pieces, 4 extra for when I mess up.
The little one was buzzing around me asking if she could help paint again, so off to Ace we went to look for spray paint for the pieces. I ended up picking a paint + primer, indoor/outdoor, gloss paint for wood specifically and let the little one pick the paint colors – Seaside and Key Lime.
I made a little painter station with two old amazon boxes and a ton of duct tape to spray all the pieces at once and to control the overspray since it was a little windy outside. Non-pro-learn-from-my-mistake tip: spray painting in the wind is never a good idea, just be patient and wait for the wind to stop. My set-up looked like this.
And there you have it. Colored pieces ready for designing. I googled hand-drawn chess piece examples and settled on a combination of about three different styles.
I looked at my sewing machine and knew I had to make some sort of bag to hold these pieces. I used some extra of the cushion fabric and sewed a drawstring bag with 550 cord. I just took a wild guess at how big the bag should be in relation to how much leftover fabric I had.
First, I folded the piece in half (inside out), pinned about a half inch on the sides, and sewed the sides of the bag. Then, still from the inside of the bag, I pinned a piece of 550 cord into a 1” fold of the top, un-sewn part of the bag and sewed the 550 cord inside. I made sure to pin the 550 cord in place because if that pulled out, I am too hopeless to thread it back through and would have had to start all over. I knotted the ends of the 550 cord and right at the edges of the bag where the cord comes out, I hand sewed the opening almost all the way closed so the knot would not be able to pull past that part.
And there, a hand-made bag to hold all my game pieces.