Anniversary Chess Set

I’ve been brainstorming for months about what to make my guy for our one year anniversary. Here are the two important questions I had to ask myself, to zero in on my gift idea:

1. What do we both like?    

  • Exploring
  • Photography
  • 80's [almost] anything
  • Caves
  • Chess
  • The beach
  • Whiskey

2. Should I use buttons?     


Okay, clearly the only answer is a chess set made of buttons. Done.


This isn’t a typical tutorial – the process description won't be as in-depth because, this being a gift, I wanted to focus more on the construction and less on recording it. Either way, I thought it would be fun to share :).


I started by gluing little stacks of buttons for the pieces. I found a button "cap" for each piece, so it was clear which piece it was.


After the pieces were all made, I went on a hunt for board materials. Jo-Ann Fabric for the cork board and all-surface paint, and Home Depot for the tiles and polyurethane. Chess boards are approximately 16”x16”, so 64 2” white tiles (priming and painting 32 of them black) worked out great!


Word to the wise: If you choose to make your own chess board, learn from my mistake and don’t mount your tiles on a cork board - the surface isn’t quite sturdy enough. If I had it to do over, I’d use wood instead. Just so ya know :).

The cork board was 17”x17” so I measured an inch in, painted my tiles, and built my grid.


I placed the tiles on first, and then glued them in place.


Once they were all in place, I brushed on a coat of polyurethane to protect the paint. 


After that I just had a few details to add! I glued some ribbon on at the edge of the tiles and base of the cork board...


And buttons at the corners. Just to cute them up.


And done!

It’s ready to give to my honey to say “Yay for one wonderful year of us!”