The Garden Gate
Making A Cheap DIY Pai Sho Board - Printable Version

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Making A Cheap DIY Pai Sho Board - Skud - 09-15-2020

Making a cheap Pai Sho board

Homemade Pai Sho boards are fun and unique. Making your own will give you a special board to play on that you’ll always be proud of and it will be a great conversation piece.

Here’s my suggestions on how to make a Pai Sho board cheaply without the need for any tools.


Here’s what I bought to use. I will list recommendations for cheaper options later.

Sample size paint - red $3.48
Sample size paint - white $3.48
Paint pen - black $3.98
24” Pine round $11.25
Yardstick $1
Paint brush $5

Tip: Look for a set of kids paints. Since you don't need much paint, you might find something that has enough paint and also a brush or two to use already. But by getting the sample size paints I was able to choose my colors more.

For finishing:
Spray Shellac: $7.98
Super fine sanding sponge: $7.38

Any kind of lacquer or fine sandpaper will work, but I had these items already.

Things I assume you have:
- Pencils
- Scrap cardboard
- Scissors or a knife

You could also use an 18” pine round, which will cost about $4 less.

When using a Pine Round for making a board, I recommend going into the store so you can choose one that looks good and lays flat. Some warp more than others or have slight cracks or nicks in the surface or edges, or simply aren’t as good looking due to knots in the wood.


# Step 1 - Find the center of the board

I was surprised when I sat down to mark the center of the board that I had no idea how to find it! Here is one way - https://www.manmadediy.com/m/how-to-find-center-circle - and I will describe another way, which is what I did.

Using paper to find the center:
I figured my pine round was not going to be a perfect circle. Here’s how I used paper to find the center of my board:

- Tape some regular paper together to have a big sheet of paper that can cover the board. You could use newspaper, scrap paper, etc. Put it over the board and mark the edges so you could line it up on there again after taking it off.
- Take off paper and fold it in half, matching up the marks of opposite sides of the board. Unfold, fold in half matching up the other corners.
- Poke a hole in the paper at the intersection of the creases from your folds. This is the center of the board.
- Put the paper back onto the board, and make a mark on the board through the hole in the center.


# Step 2 - Measure and mark the important points of the board

You’ll want to either lightly draw the grid lines now in pencil, or simply mark the important points on the board. Start with the important points.

Remember that a Pai Sho board is an 18x18 square grid that’s cut into a circle. The edge of the base grid marks the outermost edge of the board, so most of that outer edge of the grid is cut off. After being cut to a circle, all the intersections visible inside the circle are playable. See SkudPaiSho.com to take a look at the playable points that are close to the edges to see which are playable. Note that on a coordinate plane with the center of the board being (0,0), the Gates are at (0,8), (8,0), etc. being 8 points away from the center. The diagonal Garden Lines of the board go through the points just before the Gate points, (0,7), (7,0), etc. Note there is a point that is 4 points to either side of a Gate point that is just barely inside the circle, and it is a playable point. You can draw the circle of your board slightly bigger to make those points more visible.

The numbers here will be for a large size board, with 1.25” squares. For a small size board, the math is easier since the squares are 1”.

- Use a straight edge to mark the leftmost and rightmost points of the board. Mark the points that are 8.75” (7 points away) and 10” (8 points away, the Gate points) away from the center. Lightly draw a line through all of these points, through the center of the board.
- Use something that’s a right angle to draw a perpendicular line across the board from top to bottom.
- Mark the points the same distances away from the center on the new line so you have marked all four corners of the board.
- Mark the 1.25” intervals along the center lines you’ve drawn.
- Draw the diagonal Garden Lines by drawing lines through the the points 7 away from the center.
- Lightly draw the main grid lines, note that they should intersect each other and the diagonal Garden Lines at the same time, so you can use that to make your lines even.

I also marked 9 spaces from the center after marking the Gate points, which is the edge of the board. I poked a hole in a scrap piece of cardboard and measured and poked another hole 9 spaces length away (11.25"). I held one of the holes on the center of the board in order to draw a circle around the edge of the playing field.

# Step 3 - Paint!

Now tape off the areas for painting - red in the Red Gardens and Gates and then white for the White Gardens. Just wait for things to dry between painting sections or colors, depending on how you tape things off.

After painting the Gardens, I could see the faint grid lines, at least in the unpainted Neutral Garden areas. Now you need to paint over those grid lines. I used a paint pen and a scrap piece of cardboard as a straight edge, but you could paint the lines with black paint and a thin paintbrush as well.

# Step DONE!

Afterwards, I used some shellac to put a nice finish on my board, but you can be done right there and you've got yourself a board Smile