checkerboard game table

DIY Game Table | Minwax

Potential is often easy to overlook.

After all, our eyes are meant to see what is actually there, not what could be.

So when I spotted this table at a thrift store, I tried to imagine how it could be more than just a surface to

set stuff on.

I thought about another function for it. I needed it to be multifunctional.

end table makeover before

I began by removing the finish on the top surface and legs with an orbital sander. I used

120 grit sandpaper discs to start off, then smoothed it with 180 grit.

refinish end table sander

I left the finish on the edge that goes around the table, because I wanted to add a layer of stain and keep it dark. I didn’t use any

chemical strippers, as that would complicate my plan.  (Chemical strippers always seem to complicate my plans.)

Around the edge, I layered over the old stain with Minwax PolyShades (Bombay


layering stains

See?  It works!

stain layering

To prepare the surface on the legs and table top to take the stain evenly, I used Minwax Pre-Stain Wood


I wiped it on with a rag, waited about 10 minutes for it to penetrate, then wiped off any


apply prestain

Immediately following the Pre-Stain application, I applied one coat of Minwax PolyShades in

“Pecan” to the top and legs.

apply minwax polyshades base layer

*This base coat of PolyShades on the surface is an important factor when creating a

layered pattern. It forms a protective layer over the bare wood and prevents bleeding at

the edge of any future tape lines.  (It keeps the darker checkerboard pattern lines clean.)

minwax polyshades

After about 6 hours, the surface was dry and I could measure out my checkerboard


measuring tape lines

(A lot of measuring and taping going on…)

tape lines

I used a utility knife to cut along my measured lines…

cutting tape lines for checkerboard pattern

and tweezers worked great for pulling up alternating squares.

tweezers tape removal

This is what it looked like after I added a strip of tape around the checkerboard. (The

strip that surrounds the checkerboard in this pic is to keep the outer squares… uh, square.)

checkerboard pattern on a table

To make sure all tape edges were pressed down tight, I used a smooth edge of a hard

plastic object.

tape application smooth edges

Next, it was time for PolyShadesBombay Mahogany” on the squares. I used a small

paint brush for this part, because I wanted to avoid any over-saturation.

applying checkerboard pattern with stain

Immediately following application on the last square, I pulled up the tape carefully, with


removing tape

The following day, my pattern was completely dry. The next step was preparing to apply

the checkerboard border.

applying a checkerboard pattern to wood with stain

After the border was complete, I had a finished checkerboard pattern.

checkerboard pattern

There was no need for a clear coat over the top, and that is the beauty of Minwax PolyShades.

DIY Game Table Complete!

Visit the flipbook of the tutorial on Country Living’s website.

Country Living Magazine

Watch this short Minwax Video

*This post is sponsored by Country Living promotions, all of the opinions are my own.

Country Living Minwax Promotional


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