Just kidding! I had given up. But then I had a stroke of genius. Annie and Jimmy love games. But they have every game in existence. BUT they don't have any personalized, pretty games. And Annie definitely likes personalized, pretty things.
I knew what I wanted: A cute checkerboard game. I had everything figured out ...except the actual board. Then my awesome sister Amber suggested using particle board. It cost like $3, and they cut it into 4 12x12 squares. So if you are thinking about this as a gift, do it. Totally affordable, and you can make 4 of them.
I really suck, and so I didn't get any step-by-step pictures. But I'll try to explain how to do it.
I Mod Podged the front side of the polka dot and the brown paper (I like to do this first, to make the paper stronger). While was drying, Kurt sanded the edges of the wood. Then I layed down a layer of Mod Podge onto the board, and smoothed on the polka dot paper. And I really do mean smoothed- I took an old book and used it to press out any air bubbles and wrinkles. But you can use anything with a firm edge.
I bought these little wooden circles at Michaels for around $1.50. Amber traced 13 circles on the blue paper, and 13 circles on the orange paper (That's how many circles came in the bag. Which is perfect- 1 extra of each). She cut them out, and Mod Podged them on the wooden circles, making adorable little checker pieces.
While we were doing this, Kurt was using a ruler and cutting out one-and-a-half-inch squares of the brown paper. Once I was sure there were no more air bubbles in the polka dot paper, I grabbed the brown squares. To make sure they were even, I layed down a solid row of squares, and then carefully took off every other one. I recommend doing this for your first row. Then I put some Mod Podge on the back of each square, and permanently placed it on the board.
Once that dried I painted on a few more layers of Mod Podge. Because you can never have enough Mod Podge.
While that was drying, I grabbed some pretty burlap, and made a bag for the checker pieces. I just used a hot glue gun to keep the sides together, and then poked some ribbon through at the top.
I gave it to her on New Years Eve (about an hour after it dried), but waited until the Christmas Presents were finished. Once people were sitting around playing some games, I brought it upstairs and handed it to her. Amber suggested not wrapping it, because it was so cute as it was. I agreed, and I'm glad I did. This is what it looked like when she first saw it.
"Yes! I can totally win this game!" -Annie
She really liked it, and so did everyone else, and for a second I thought I had a riot on my hands. I was about to grab the checker board and run (not to keep it. I would have given it back...probably), but then I realized they were just trying to get a closer look.
It was really easy to make, and I'm going to do some of these to sell at a craft show. My favorite thing about it is that it's made of a lightweight wood, and so it's gonna last a lot longer than cardboard would. My second favorite thing is that it cost less than $5 to make. My 3rd favorite thing? Probably the look on her face when she first saw it.
Happy Birthday Annie!