Sewing TUTORIAL: TakeAlong Games

by Dana on December 11, 2012

My family was big on road trips and games growing up. But unless we were sitting at the table or on the floor, pieces were falling everywhere.  So why not make the games out of felt?!  Then you can take ‘em along wherever you go!

Play on a pillow in the car, on mom’s bed where it’s comfy, or at the doctor’s office.

Throw them in a little drawstring hobo sack and you’ve got a complete game bag (and simple handmade gift)


Today we’ll make a game of Checkers but there are many games you can try:
• Go Fish
• Tic Tac Toe
• Chess
• Dominoes
• Memory

Let’s get started.
Grab bright felt colors (found at most fabric shops, on the bolt for about $4-5/yard)

Start by cutting your checkerboard pieces.  You want the board to be two layers of felt so it’s sturdy.  If you plan to place a different game on the opposite side (like Tic Tac Toe)…then the other game can be serves as your second layer.  But if you use a light color of felt–like I did with white–you may need two layers of white and then your other game on the back because the white is a bit see-thru.

Okay, CUT:
•  (2) checker boards 17 x 17 inches – White
•  (32) checker squares 2 x 2 inches – Blue
•  (4) binding pieces 17.5 x 1.25 inches – Yellow

• Place one white checker board square aside for later.
• Start arranging squares on the other checker board piece.  Start on the diagonal and leave a 1/2 inch border on the four sides.
• Pin the squares in place.  Be as liberal or simple as you want with the pinning.  The squares stay in place fairly well because they’re felt.
• Starting with the top right corner square, sew them all in place, around each side of each square.  I know that sounds tedious but it goes quickly if you work in lines. First sew the right sides of one row of squares, then sew the left sides of the same row, then move to the next row, then turn it and sew the other sides of the rows, etc.  Try your best to keep the squares touching but don’t fret if they don’t! Handmade gifts are cool for many reasons…and one is that they don’t look perfect.  Gives them some charm.

• When the top checkerboard is done, lay it over the other large white square piece.  Pin them together and baste sew them about 1/4 inch from the edge all the way around.  Use a rotary cutter to trim any uneven edges.

At this point, you may choose to add a different game to the back.  I created a Tic Tac Toe game fairly easily.  Then just sew the entire board game to the back of the checker board, as we did above, and we’ll bind it all together.

Each side will be bound separately. So…
• Grab one strip of binding and fold/sandwich it around one side of the board and pin it in place. Do the same for the opposite side.

• Sew the two bindings in place.  Just do a topstitch, about 1/8 inch from the binding edge.
• Trim any excess felt so the binding is flush with the board.
• Sandwich the other bindings around the other sides and sew them in place as well.
• When you get to the corners, sew a small line at the corner edge so there aren’t any open spaces.

• Trim any excess felt from the ends.
And your board is done!
Now let’s make some checkers.

• Find something round to trace your circles, like a thread spool that fits the size of the squares.
• You need 12 checkers for each player and each checker is double layered….so trace and cut 24 circles from two different felt colors (48 circles total).


Now let’s add little charms to one side of each checker…so that when players reach the other side of the board, they can say “King me!” or “Queen me!”  I chose hearts and stars.  You can do whatever you like or even draw with a sharpie marker to make it fast/easy.

• Draw and cut small hearts and stars from felt.

• Sew each charm to one side of the checker pieces.  Then place another plain checker on the back and sew around the two circles.

Colorful Checkers!

Finish up the project by making a large drawstring bag to hold the game board and a smaller bag for the checker pieces, using the Hobo Sack Tutorial.

Now you’re ready to play anywhere, anytime!


Happy Checkering!
Check out other Simple Handmade Gifts HERE.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Claudia December 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm

thanks for this tutorial!! I love, I can not wait to do it for my kids! ;-)

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2 Jessamy December 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Love this! Do you think the board would be sturdy enough if you just wove long strips of felt together to make the checker board? I have a feeling my squares would never turn out as neat and tidy as yours!

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3 Sara December 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Those are adorable! They would make great gifts.

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4 Kimberly December 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm

This is genius!! I want to make them for all my nieces and nephews! (my kids are a bit young still. . . maybe I could think of a game that would be more simple for my daughter)

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5 Ruby December 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I was just thinking that it’s time to get my kids some Checkers, perfect timing! Need to go out and stock up on felt. Thanks for another great tutorial!

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6 Danielle December 11, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I’ve also made a tab grams game for my daughter out of felt. That was easy- just cut the triangles, square and rectangle and provide a “board” of felt to arrange them on. I made cards with images she could arrange the shapes to make. You can also make an art pad of felt with felt shapes cut out of different colors and kids can “paint” a masterpiece with it or use it as a story board for helping them listen through a book on tape.

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7 Kristina December 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Great idea!!! :)

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8 Scary December 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm

So cute! This reminds me of a present I made for my brother when I was little, I did a small block quilt and spray painted canning lids for the checkers.

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9 Jen December 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Cute! 1 more Christmas idea!

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10 Sophie December 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm

What a great idea! My daughter is at the age now where she’ll really enjoy this! Thank you for the tutorial :)

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11 Lianne December 11, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Very nice!
You could also sew some velcro on the back of the circles, so they stuck on the felt.

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12 Cyndie December 12, 2012 at 11:26 am

These look so great – I love the colors. And Lianne, I could be wrong, but I believe that felt sticks to felt fairly well even without velcro!

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13 Aliya December 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I just started “playing” with felt this year and I’m loving it. This game board is fun and I’m pretty sure I need to make it. :) What astounds me, though, is your ability to sew the circles and hearts so nicely. Turning that tight of curves never works out very well for me. Is it just practice or is there a trick to it? I’ve noticed it’s easier for me to sew before cutting. So, for the hearts and stars I would sew them on before cutting out all the circles. And I’d probably sew them onto the other circles before cutting them out, also.

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14 Max December 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm

these are SO cute! i love them!

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15 Emra December 11, 2012 at 8:27 pm

These look great. I love the colors. BTW, chocolate ribbon pumpkin bread IS so yummy & easy. The dense texture is a plus. I will definitely make it again! Thanks so much.

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16 Ann December 11, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Thanks they look great. Hopefully I will get enough energy to make them before our x’mas break. Do you have a tutorial for the bags?

Thanks,

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17 Mimi December 11, 2012 at 11:22 pm

I love this! Sadly, I will never find the time to invest the probably 30 hours it would take me to make this! You probably whipped it up like it was nothing, but all those circles would end up looking like triangles, I am sure! You are so talented and your kids are awfully lucky!

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18 Carla December 11, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Brilliant! I’ve been wanting to make a backgammon board like this! I love the hearts and stars, too cute!

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19 Rachel December 11, 2012 at 11:54 pm

These are genius!! Seriously – genius!

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20 Resmi December 12, 2012 at 1:54 am

That is an awesome project. And colorful too… Loved it!

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21 ira lee December 12, 2012 at 9:30 am

i love this!!! i want to leave work (can i say im sick?) and sew these for every one of my neices and nephews!! along with my own kids- thats a lot of work!!! lol too bad i have way too many things to finish up before xmas!!

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22 Melissa Shultz December 12, 2012 at 1:05 pm

That is so cool. I love the bright colors. This would make a great gift. This is going on one of my boards on Pinterest for future reference.

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23 Felicity @ Our Little Beehive December 12, 2012 at 1:10 pm

This is seriously cute!

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24 Anneliese December 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm

So cute! You are so good about making FUN things for your kids… things they seem to actually play with. Way to go! And at this busy time of year too…

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25 liZ evans December 20, 2012 at 10:39 am

A felt checkerboard was on my to do list for my little boy for Christmas this year…I had crossed it off the list because of time but yours is so cute I might have to put it back on….
liZ

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26 Miss Ellie December 21, 2012 at 11:57 pm

I would make this craft from polar fleece instead of felt so it is washable. (Especially if it was taken to the doctor’s office!) Strip piecing is another option.

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27 Tabitha January 2, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful talent with everyone. Do you have instructions on the other games as well? I am going to make this up so I can take it with me on the next trip we take.

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28 Checkers April 24, 2013 at 8:18 pm

I’ve never sewn, at least not since 7th grade home economics, but I love board games and I love home-made board games even better. I’ve been making games out of wood recently because I love the look and feel of carved wood pieces. But I must say these gameboards and pieces look fantastic too. I’m really tempted to buy some materials are play around and see what I can make. I’ll try to make a checkers board maybe.

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29 Lianne Alvarez June 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Thank you for posting this, I love it! I was wondering if it might be somewhat easier to stich the checkers in layers before cutting them out. I find it a bit more challenging to stich smaller pieces.

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30 Time Traveller September 10, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Adorable!
Thanks for the tutorial :)
I’ going to make it for my godson :))))))

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31 her explanation January 3, 2014 at 10:47 am

Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited this website
before but after browsing through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
Anyhow, I’m certainly happy I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!

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32 Keely June 16, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Thank you for the adorable idea! I am a nanny two young girls and this will be the perfect pass time for our outdoor fort this summer.

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