In this tutorial, I will show you how to make a chequered style fused glass game board.
I have had several people enquire of my process to make my own game boards. So, I have decided to write a tutorial on how I create my own game boards so you can create your own and adapt it to suit your requirements.
The information in this tutorial is based on that you already know and work with fusing glass and that you have your own (or access to a kiln).
- Fusable Glass – 3mm Clear for the bottom layer and border
- Fusable Glass – 3mm Coloured squares for the top layer (black and white)
- A Glass cutting tool (see pic)
- Running Pliers (see pic)
- Metal Pointy Tool to help align the squares (see pic)
- A cutting surface grid (optional but highly recommended to create uniformed squares of the same size)
- Kiln Paper
- Glass Cleaner
- Rubber or felt feet for the underside when finished
- Your own chess pieces
Firstly, what size squares do you need? In this example of a chess board, I already had some chess pieces which the base of each piece was around 20mm, so I decided on squares of 40mm. A chess board comprises squares of 8×8 which would be 64 squares in total. The side size would be 40mm x 8 = 320mm and with the addition of a 1.5cm clear border around the outside makes the total size to be 350mm.
Now you know what size squares you need, it’s time to cut them all up – 32 Black and 32 White. I use a Morton Cutting Grid which I found is brilliant for cutting lots of squares that are the same size. Getting squares… well square as possible and the same size really helps when putting everything together later on.
I then get a sheet of 3mm clear fusable glass and cut that to 350mm x 350mm, clean it with glass cleaner and then place it in the kiln on a shelf that has been lined with kiln paper (I have tried using kiln wash before on shelves but I find the glass edges can leave needling – kiln paper works perfectly).
Cleaning and alignment
Next, I clean all the squares with glass cleaner (especially the black ones as they can really show fingerprint marks) being careful as the edges of these cut squares can be very sharp. I place the first square in the top left corner (white) but leave approximately 15mm around the edge. I then continue to place alternative coloured squares to the right (I am right handed and this way works best for me). Ideally trying to keep the squares tight to the previous one and in a straight line as possible. I use a metal angled pointy tool to help slightly nudge the squares into alignment as using my fingers seems to put to much pressure on them and I end up moving several by accident.
When all 64 squares have been placed down, there should still be roughly a 15mm gap all around the outside edges. Using a ruler, double check this border edge gap as it maybe a few mm larger or smaller. I then score and cut 4 strips of the same clear glass 15mm wide (or whatever your actual measurement was above) and make the strips slightly longer than 350mm.
I place one of the strips on the chessboard on one of the edges and mark a 45 degree from the outside corner to the corner coloured square with a sharpie. Score along this marked line and use the running pliers to break. Place it back on the chessboard and use the sharpie to mark another 45 degree angle at the other end, again, score and break. Do this for the other 3 strips. I add this border to give a gap between the edge of the board and the coloured squares. If I did not create a border, then the edge of the chessboard would be slightly rounded and a would make it 1-2mm shorter. Adding the border keeps the squares nicely aligned and the square edges as crisp as possible (also stops your chess pieces from falling off).
Ready for kiln firing
Clean and place all 4 edge strips on the chess board edges and use the metal pointy tool nudge anything than needs aligning as best as you can. Once you are happy that everything looks good, you can then kiln fire the piece to a normal full fuse (which will depend on what type of glass you are using).
Once the kiln has cooled down, check for any sharp edges and file if necessary (if using kiln paper there should be none at all). Clean and dry the chessboard and attach 4 rubber bumpons or felt pads on the underside to act as feet. Now to just add your favourite chess pieces and you have a gorgeous chess board that will last a very very long time! (and don’t forget to find another player!)
Any questions, feel free to use the contact page and drop me a message and I will reply as soon as I can.
The Completed Chess/Draughts/Checker Board
Next Tutorial coming soon…
How to add painted grid lines to a game board