Checkerboard DIY in 6 Hours or Less (or more)


Are you a crazy, DIY/Pinterest project sort of person? As much as I like browsing on Pinterest, I do NOT find a lot of allotted time in my days to do creative, Pinteresty projects.

Now and then something will cross my mind, and usually it’s when I’m looking at something ugly in my house that I want to change, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on. I found a gross table in my house this week, and I had paint already on hand, so I decided to give it a whirl and upgrade the table.

Here’s a simple checkerboard DIY, that even *I* could complete.


I had some white paint on hand, and I also had Plaster of Paris on hand due to homeschooling science projects, so time for chalk painting!

Here’s a quick, easy, chalk paint recipe:

1 cup paint (any color)
1 Tablespoon Plaster of Paris (found at craft stores)
1/4 cup hot water.
Mix the paint and paris until smooth, add the hot water and mix well; you’re ready to paint! (As long as you have a paintbrush)

That down there is what plaster of paris looks like, and see how I have a cup of paint in that plastic tub?


I had lame paint brushes on hand, but if you want to spend a few dollars on good brushes it may be worthwhile. Or not.

Start painting! 


This picture is to remind you I have kids around me. And I did allow them to be glued to the Wii. Margot doesn’t care for the Wii, she wanted to eat the sheet that I had the table set on.

I did this in the house for 2 reasons:

1. I live in Florida, so it’s hot and humid. I figured the paint would dry quicker in A/C,  and it did.

2. I wanted to be able to keep an eye on the kids, and since they were glued to playing the Wii and with house toys, doing it indoors was the best option.

One layer is on. That took like a whole 15 minutes. The cool thing about chalk paint is that it dries FAST!


After letting it dry for about 25 minutes, I applied a second layer, pronto!


All finished with the second layer. So easy and smooth. You may be wondering why I took 6 hrs. for this DIY since the table is already painted and it’s been less than an hour…here’s the thing, painting the black, checkers squares is the tedious,  fun, and annoying part, which made me feel like it wasn’t fun anymore.


For the checkerboard: My table is 32inx32in, I wanted  there to be 6 inches leftover on each side of the checkerboard, so a 20in. square was just right. I measured that out and penciled the square onto the center of the newly painted, but dry table.

A checkerboard has 8 rows of 8 squares, so divide the length of the row (20 in.) by 8 and that’s the size each individual square should be. For mine that means they were 2 1/2in. squares. Since 20 divided by 8  is  2 1/2…..
To make life easier you could buy a pre-made stencil, but of course it may not be the size you want. I didn’t have a stencil so I made a really tacky and poor man’s “stencil” out of cardboard.

Look how tacky and poor man it is


Now pencil/stencil in your rows of squares, I did mine one row at a time.

I had a quart of flat, black paint from something I had painted 5 years ago, so I used flat, black paint. You really could go with any color. Blue, red, gold, yellow….you get the point.

I used  a really tiny brush to paint the edges of the square, and then I used a slightly larger (but still small) brush to fill in the rest of the square. I don’t have to remind you to offset the color and the white squares, do I? I bet you know that about a checkerboard.

See that checkered row coming to fruition?


Every now and then straighten your back and check your work.  My back was killing me. Actually it wasn’t killing me seeing as I’m still alive, but I sort of felt like maybe I was never going to be able to stand straight again. It took me a looooong time to do this as I’m not a natural artist and had crappy paint brushes.


At this point I wanted to stop and never start a project again. These 4 rows took me 2 hours, no joke, and I was only halfway done.  I’m kicking myself for not having a perfect straight edge tool and better brushes…..*please don’t use cardboard that was outside and brought in for this project to make your stencil.


After 6 hours of focusing on this project, I was able to finish!


Somehow the kids did awesome. My boys got dinner started, and though the house was a wreck when I finished, I was happy, oh so happy that my task was complete. I could now go and clean the kitchen…..while being bent over like a scary creature.

Now I should go and recover the cushions on those chairs^………or not.

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