True story: this is the most fun I’ve had making a DIY project in a long time! There’s something about this magical little DIY checkers game that is just so fun and charming to work on. When I asked on Instagram what kind of projects you’d like to see this holiday season, lots of people responded that they’d love winter projects that are non-holiday specific. So I came up with this and I want to teach ya how to make a DIY winter checkers game!
I adore this project. It’s whimsical and fun but totally functional (we’ve been playing checkers by the fire!), and it looks great set out on a table as winter decor as well. The whole “deer vs. trees” thing is kind of adorable, I have to say. It’s like playing checkers in a little forest.
The tiny pieces are so dang cute, and I’m finding that kids and grownups alike are totally drawn to it when they visit. We’ve made lots of DIY games here, but never a winter-themed one. I’m so excited!
How to Make a DIY Winter Checkers Game
- basswood round wood slice
- green felt with adhesive backing (This is a set of a rainbow of colors but you can probably find a single sheet in your local craft store.)
- 12 mini plastic deer
- 14 mini sisal trees
- mini wood snowflakes
- optional: mini spun cotton mushroom
- True Snow
- fine iridescent glitter
- felt scraps in white and red
- small paint brush
- scissors or paper trimmer
- glue gun
Make Time: 1 Hour
Step 1: Start by cutting your green felt into one inch squares (this is super fast and easy if you have a paper trimmer!).
Step 2: Arrange the felt squares on the wood slice in a checkerboard pattern. You’ll need four squares per row, also leaving four empty spaces per row so that each row should be eight inches long. I recommend laying out the squares first without sticking them to the wood so that you can rearrange if needed. Then, once you’re happy with the placement, peel and stick the squares one by one.
Step 3: Next you’ll need to affix your trees and deer to the snowflakes. The snowflakes provide a nice base for the pieces so that they stand up easily. Use hot glue to affix the deer and trees. I find that for the deer, it’s easiest to put a small dot of glue on all four feet and then place the deer onto the snowflake, rather than the other way around.
Step 4: Once you have 12 deer and 12 trees glued to snowflakes, add some fake snow. Use a small paintbrush to apply True Snow to the tips of your trees and to the deer on their antlers, backs, and around their feet. While the True Snow is still wet, sprinkle the pieces with fine glitter to make it look like sparkly snow.
Step 5: If you want to embellish your board a bit, glue on a couple of extra trees and a little mushroom to make a forest scene. Add some snow around the base of the trees and little patches here and there on the trees and mushroom. Sprinkle this with glitter as well.
Step 6: You need a way to “king” your pieces if you get across the checkerboard. Instead of stacking checkers to signify a “king” piece, make scarves for your deer and stars for your trees. To make a scarf, cut out a piece of red felt that’s 3 inches long and 1/4 inch wide. Cut a lengthwise slit in the scarf about a third of the way from one end. You can wrap this around your deer to king him. For the trees, cut out small stars. the stars will stick to the sisal trees until you pull them off.
Now you get to play! This is now one of my favorite winter DIYs ever, for so many reasons. I loved making it, it’s perfect as decor, and it’s actually functional and fun to play. If you try this one, please let me know! I’d love to see how yours turns out. Have fun! xoxo