I never used to be a chess fan. I always thought of it as a boring and unappealing game played mainly by the elderly. That is, until a few months ago, when I started The Queen’s Gambit, the most-watched, scripted, limited series to date on Netflix.
As you probably already guessed, I started becoming more and more fascinated about this most exciting mind game. After reading some books, watching videos, and playing a few games with some friends, I decided to create my own epoxy resin chess set.
In this way, I used my creative side and love for crafting to make my own chessboard and pieces so I can feed my new hobby every day.
You may not be a chess fan, but you definitely like working with epoxy resin. That’s why I wanted to share with you a step-by-step guide on making a chess set from scratch, which can also be offered as a gift or displayed as a decorative object. For a more visual approach, you can also check out this short YouTube video.
Tools you need
The basic tools you need to get started with your first resin chess board and pieces are:
- Roxy Epoxy 2 QT Kit (contains 1-quart resin, 1-quart hardener, gloves, wooden sticks, and measuring cups)
- Blow dryer
- Silicone chess model set
- Wax paper
Boxes or domes (to cover your project while it’s curing)
Safety precautions you need to take when working with epoxy resin
For me, safety comes first. Roxy Epoxy contains pure pigments and the product is safe to use, however, it’s still a chemical product and, whenever I’m working on a project, I always take the necessary precautions. Here’s what you should also do to fully enjoy the experience of doing DIY projects:
- Follow all the instructions and safety precautions.
- Work in a clean and well-ventilated area.
- Wear a filter mask, protective goggles, and rubber gloves.
- After you finish the project, dispose of all waste materials following local regulations.
How to prepare the epoxy resinBefore pouring the epoxy resin into the molds, first you have to prepare
it accordingly. Check out these 3 simple steps for how to get the perfect mix of hardener and resin:
Heat the resin before using it. To obtain the ideal resin, you have to put both bottles (hardener and resin) in hot water for 30-35 minutes at a temperature of 122°F (50°C). This is a great way to avoid air bubbles in the resin and will help you mix the two parts better. Wait for the contents of the two bottles to heat up thoroughly, and then let them cool down until they reach room temperature.
Warning: Handle hot water with caution. Don’t bring water to a boil (212°F/100°C).
Measure equal parts of resin and hardener in the graduated mixing cups. Mix the product by hand with a clean stir stick until it becomes transparent. Usually, it can take between 3 and 7 minutes of continuous mixing without whipping, depending on the quantity you have poured into the cups.
Add your favorite-colored mica powder to the composition and continue mixing. Don’t limit yourself to using a single color. The most beautiful part of working with epoxy resin is that you can use your creativity and imagination. Mix as many colors as you want and make your chessboard and pieces unique!
Pour the composition into the molds. Place the created pieces in a dust-free environment and make sure you let them dry for 24 to 72 hours.
- One important thing I’d like to mention is to cover your work area with wax paper so resin doesn’t stick to it. Make sure you also wear protective goggles and rubber gloves while working with epoxy resin.
- Begin pouring the resin into the molds and cover them with a box to protect them from dust.
- Set the molds aside and let them cure for about 24 hours (it can take up to 2-3 days for sufficient hardness).
Peel the silicone away from your cured resin chess piece and enjoy the crystal-clear finish. Start playing!
Are you ready to take your creativity to the next level? See the tips below to get the most out of your epoxy work experience.
How to make a chess set with pearlescent mica powder
Do you want to add a special touch to your brand-new chess set? Consider
using Roxy Epoxy Pearlescent Mica Powder. The steps you have to follow are
the same. The only difference is how vibrant and colorful you want your pieces
to be. In this case, you can mix various amounts of one-color powder or multiple ones.
How to make a chess set with luminescent pigments
Turn off the lights and play the game of mind in complete darkness with only the chess pieces enlightening the room and your mind! Here’s how you can create a glowing chess set:
- Expose the mica powder pigments to sunlight or UV light for 10-20 minutes prior to use.
- Mix a 1:1 ratio of resin and hardener to get the appropriate consistency.
- Add one teaspoonful of powder to start.
- Continue adding to achieve the desired color.
- Pour the mixture into the molds. A dust cover is required here as well.
- Wait up to 72 hours for them to harden perfectly. Demold and play!
Can something go wrong?Whether you’re a beginner or pro, there are a few things you have to pay
- The room temperature where you’re doing crafts should be about 70-75°F (21-24°C). It’s best to work in a warm and dry environment throughout the entire curing process.
- If the resin is still flexible, don’t try to unmold it, otherwise, you’ll end up having bumpy pieces. Wait until they’ve fully hardened.
- Notice any bubbles? Well, if there’s anything air bubbles can’t stand, it’s heat. You can use a hairdryer, propane, or butane torch for popping the bubbles.
So, what do you need to create that one-of-a-kind chess set? High quality products, creativity, and a love for the game of chess. I hope that this step-by-step article on how to make a chess set will give you the inspiration you need.