January 20, 2015

DIY Travel Checkers Game with Drawstring Bag

I made this Travel Checkers Game a year or so ago and it got tucked away in the wrong place so it never got packed in an Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift. When my daughter found it I decided I'd share the instructions of how I made it in case anyone wanted to make one. I used felt for mine and I like how the felt pieces cling to the felt board; but you could just as easily make this a scrap buster project and sew strips to weave and little circles for the checker tokens.  This is a really quick project.


When researching checkers my daughter found that it is a game played around the world.  Because of this I do not think I will be including instructions with it.

Because this project was finished before I wrote this post I do not have as many step by step photos to share, but I hope it is enough for you to be able to follow and
make your own.

Supplies Needed:

  • Felt
    • 2 - colors: 1 piece each 8" x 8" [for board]
    • 2 - colors:  1 piece each 4" x 5" [for tokens]
    • 1 - color: 1 piece 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" [for back of board]
    • 1 - color: 2 pieces 9" x 11" [for bag]
  • Fabric -  1 piece 10" x 23" (I used a cotton piece so the felt board slips easily in and out of the bag -- if the whole bag was felt the board would stick as you slip it in)
  • Thread
  • Hot Glue Gun & Glue (optional)
  • Buttons  - 12 each of two different colors
  • Drawstring - 2 pieces 1 yard each [crocheted chains, 3/8" ribbon, sewn, shoe laces, rope, sewn from fabric]
  • 2 Pony beads optional.
Checker Board Instructions


  1. Cut 8 strips of each color 1" wide x 8" long
  2. Cut background piece of felt to 8 1/2" x 8 1/2"
  3. On a flat surface lay background piece flat and weave the strips together to form board on top of the background.
    1. Center on background piece (1/4" should show around all sides).  
  4. Press flat with hands to make sure it is flat and even.
  5. Stitch with a wide zig zag stitch around edges.
    1. Test each strip to be sure they do not pull up -- especially the ones hidden under the end edge strips.  As you see in the images I stitched my edges twice because I did miss a couple the first time.

Checker Tokens Instructions
Tuck the tokens inside, fold over the board and slide into the bag.
They cling to each other and the board.

  1. Using a quarter or another 1" circle trace 12 circles on each of the two 4" x 5" felt pieces.
  2. Cut circles just inside the drawn lines.
  3. Attach the buttons to the circles.
    1. Sew with thread or use hot glue.

The felt tokens cling to the board and when they need kinged flip them over and put the two felt sides together and they hold together well.

Felt sides together when a piece is made king.

Drawstring Bag Instructions

I used felt for the outside of my bag.  This is thicker than cotton and will take more room in the box.  If you would rather make an all cotton bag you can use the instructions in this post:  Simple Drawstring Bag.  Just use two pieces of fabric cut the size listed above.



  1. Put two pieces of 9" x 11" felt together. [The 9" is the width of the bag.]
  2. Beginning 1" from top edge stitch down one side, across the bottom and up the other side stopping 1" from top edge.
    1. Be sure to back stitch at beginning and end.
    2. Use a narrow zig zag stitch.
  3. Fold lining piece in half right sides together.
  4. Stitch with 1/2" seams from bottom fold to within 1 1/2" of top edge.
  5. Press seams open pressing back the seam allowance on the 1 1/2" left open.
  6. Stitch down the pressed back, unsewn seam allowance so it will stay down.
  7. Fold down 1/2" along top edge towards wrong side of fabric and press.  
  8. Slide lining into felt bag with right sides of fabric showing on the inside (wrong side is against the felt bag).
  9. Match up top edges.
  10. Stitch 1/4" from top edge.  Be sure to backstitch.
  11. Stitch again 5/8" below that to form casing.  Be sure to backstitch.
  12. Thread drawstrings thru casing -- begin with one at one end, go thru casing, come out the second opening and go back in thru the other side.  Both ends of one drawstring will be coming out the same side.
  13. Begin the other drawstring at the other opening and repeat.
  14. Tie the ends of each drawstring to itself. 
    1. I added pony beads to mine.  If you want to, after threading drawstrings, hold ends together and slip bead over both, then tie ends together. Push bead close to knot. 
    2. If using ribbon be sure to finish the edge with Fray Check or burn them with a lighter (you can see details of burning the edges in this post:  No-sew Fleece Bunny).



We include games in all of our 10 to 14 year old Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift boxes so the boys and girls who receive them can play with their friends.

Fabric and buttons provided by The Fabric & Yarn Lady on Etsy.

Happy Packing!

4 comments:

Denise Marie said...

looks great! I am doing tic tac toe boards w/felt & buttons.

Pam @Threading My Way said...

Very clever to weave the felt board, Cheryl. A fabulous idea!!!

Kelly @ Mum-bo-Jumbo said...

This is absolutely adorable and to have it's very own matching drawstring bag? I just love it! Super cute. Thanks for linking up at Mum-bo Monday

Linda K said...

A super easy tute and great looking game! Love the idea to flip game pieces back-to-back when 'kinged'. I do think a fabric bag would work best. In addition to taking up less space, as you mentioned in the tute, it's washable and feels cool to the touch in hot climes. We're in FL and our boxes often end up in Haiti and other warm countries.


             
Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.
______________________________________________________________________