We had a backgammon set growing up in the 80s. It was brown pleather with tan and white triangular spaces. I loved everything about that set…I loved the snap of the clasps, the smell of the felt interior, and the smooth perfection of the playing pieces. Mind you I never played the game (I didn’t know how), but I loved to carry the set around like a briefcase holding important papers.
I finally learned to play the game during my senior year in college and gradually all of my roommates and close friends learned to play as well. We took our board everywhere…to the quad, to bars, on spring break, and to this day we still play when we’re together.
But now I’ve passed the love of the game onto my daughter Sommer. At only 7, she doesn’t have the most strategic moves and whenever I roll doubles, she declares that she’s going to lose. Whenever she sees a board at a friend’s house or restaurant, she insists on playing. And I’m always down.
I’ve seen lots of gorgeous backgammon boards, and I’ve always thought it would be the easiest of the classic games to make. Since the board itself is a lightweight bag, this DIY version is a perfect travel set. Your pieces can be virtually anything, but as I was crafting I wondered why I had never seen pieces that weren’t solid-colored circles. I thought about making ombre pieces, or patterned pieces, but then I settled on these charming, smirkish faces. And why Shrinky Dinks®? Basically because I am obsessed with them!
This is a great project to make as a gift or for yourself before a trip of any sort. Once the playing pieces are shrunk, they have a slightly rough texture which grips nicely to the felt board so no sliding.