Chess is the ultimate test of a strategic mind, and a great way to prove to someone that you're smarter than they are. That's why I've never learned how to play it...for fear of getting too competitive. But if I had this awesome DIY chess set, I might be willing to take the risk and learn!
First step is finding all your molds.
Ball pit balls work great for pawns, and you can find a king and queen at any grocery store.
For the bishops and knights, you'll need to cut out 3D molds.
For the rooks, use any kind of tubing you can find. Toilet paper rolls or a fluorescent lighting tube work well.
Make sure to tape a bottom on nice and tight, or else your pieces won't be as smooth.
Cut all the other molds accordingly...
Saw the top off of the POM bottle and your king's mold. Cut holes in the ball pit balls.
Now the fun part: mixing the concrete! You'll need two different shades, but do one at a time, starting with the white concrete.
Follow the instructions on your particular bag.
Once that's all done, get to filling your pieces.
The only one that needs any special treatment is the queen, who gets a marble as her crown.
Next: curing the pieces.
Let them set for at least 24 hours. If you can wait up to a week, that's ideal.
If you can't wait the week, make sure you put each of your pieces into a plastic bag with a moist paper towel.
But don't let the paper towel touch the piece!
Tie them off and let them sit for as long as you can stand.
Concrete needs moisture to cure properly, so make sure you tie off the bag nice and tight.
Give the queen at least 48 hours before trying to take her out of the mold.
The bottle is much thicker than the others and much more difficult to take off. You don't want to damage her in the process!
Now for the dark grey set.
You could either buy a pigment made specifically to dye concrete, or you can give the pieces a rustic look, like in the bottom left.
If you're dying the concrete, make sure you mix the pigment into the water so it's evenly distributed.
Then follow all usual directions on your concrete.
For the weathered look, run your pieces under water after they are set, but before they are completely cured.
In other words, after 24 hours, remove them from their molds and run them under the tap. This will expose the larger grains, giving them a nice texture that differentiates the two teams.
Lastly, decide if you want your pieces to shine, or if you're happy with a matte finish.
Cement sealer will make 'em glisten!
Now all you need is a chess board big enough!
...Or not! They're great to just look at, too.
These are super modern, but also give off an ancient vibe. Playing chess with such hefty stone pieces will be an entirely different experience than what you get with that cheap plastic set!