Design & DIY

How to build a portable game board

Two men playing backgammon on a folding table. Photo by hanohiki/Shutterstock

Resurrect an old folding table or TV tray as a portable game board with built-in game-piece storage—a simple project that requires few skills or tools. And if backgammon’s not your thing, consider a checkerboard motif.

Step 1: Place one of the pencil trays (look for ones with a lip around the top edge) on the tabletop, centred about 1″ in from the edge, and trace around the narrow bottom side. Repeat for the second tray. To cut out the two tray holes, start by drilling a #/8″-dia. hole in one corner, thread your jig saw through, and follow your cutting line.

Step 2: Sand table lightly to remove any loose paint flakes, and then prime. Paint the table-and-leg assembly one colour, as we did with Benjamin Moore’s Rusty Nail (cc-390), or 
in contrasting shades of your choice. Allow to dry.

Step 3: Mark off the playing board using masking tape to block the alternating sets of backgammon “points.” Paint one colour, let it dry, and then remove the tape and mark off the other colour. Or, cut a three-triangle template from cardboard, trace it twice for each of the four groups of six points, and paint freehand.

Step 4: Set the game-piece trays into their holes. If they don’t fit snugly, you can secure them with a bead of all-purpose glue.

What you’ll need:

Folding table or TV tray, about 2′ by 2′
  • Two pencil trays (about 3″ by 12″)
  • Primer
  • Masking tape or cardboard