Firstly, a disclaimer. This piece was for personal use only and was not for sale.
Let's throw it back to the time I created a laser cut and engraved Harry Potter Monopoly. It was almost a year ago now, but just have not found the time to write about it yet. I didn't want to just let it go unwritten about or unseen, because it was such a huge project and something that I am hugely proud of.
Anyway, bit of a back story. Like most, we are big Harry Potter fans. I am now, but never used to be, my husband got me into Harry Potter back when we were 17 years old. Anyway it was his birthday coming up, really wanted to get him something HP themed, and discovered there is no Harry Potter Monopoly? What sorcery was this?! Brainwave: why not design and make your own? You have a LASER. What could be more perfect as a gift than something no one else in the world has? Unfortunately, being a perfectionist meant that I couldn't just design and make a board. No, I had to make every single element that you would expect from a Monopoly game, whilst staying faithful/accurate to both Harry Potter and Monopoly. Oh, and it also had to be mostly engraved and laser cut from wood.
Loving the challenge, I started designing. Our youngest was pretty small at this point, so any work on it had to be done after the kids' bedtime. It took a LOT of planning and sketchbook work and a lot of closing the window on the computer if he ever walked past!
Making the board
I had to work out how best to make the board. My laser bed wasn't large enough to cut it in one piece. After spending a VERY long time wondering whether it should be hinged/foldable, or like a jigsaw and slot together, I decided it needed to be cut in pieces. I would have 4 frame like strips for the outside, with the properties slotting in like they were inlaid. Everything would be stuck to a large MDF board. The properties would be engraved and cut from 3mm birch and the framing from 4mm cherry, which meant the framing stuck out further. It gave a really nice effect because the board wasn't flat. This then allowed me to cut the square in the middle as one piece, which is what I wanted from the beginning (splitting the middle up wasn't an option as any way that it was split would ruin the design!)
Before I could cut on the laser cutting machine, the entire game had to be designed on the computer. Dimensions and colours had to be thought about at this point. After designing, the file had to be adapted for a file suitable for laser cutting. This means changing the file in a way so the laser knows which parts to engrave and which parts to cut. Below shows the laser cutting machine engraving some of the properties on the boards. These were all cut separately and would slot into the correct places. I usually engrave first, mask and then cut.
First of all, I had to search for a large piece of MDF for everything to be stuck to. I went out into the shed and bizarrely found one the exact same size that I needed (what are the chances?!). It just needed rounded corners. My husband being the brilliant husband he is, went outside and rounded the corners off of the MDF without knowing what it was for, just because I asked him to. Below is after I cut all the properties and had started assembling the board with a wood glue. I then cut all the wooden rectangles, painted them and slotted them in. . For all the painted elements on the board, I used acrylic paint. The board was then finished with a hard wood oil, which emphasised the beauty of the wood and gave it a durable finish.
First challenge was, what would the properties be? Which properties would belong with which colour? This was the fun part. There was a lot of researching. Once this was decided, it was time to design the icons that would be on the board. Below are some close ups of the properties on the board.
Next up, what would the property cards be like? I thought about just printing the cards but soon gave up on this idea, decided I wanted everything that could be engraved and laser cut to be just that. So of course, they were made out of wood and engraved on both sides. Again, it had to be accurate to Monopoly. So lots of research later, the amounts and costs on the cards match those of their corresponding cards in Monopoly.
The playing pieces/tokens had to be characters from the movies, so I just chose our favourite characters. I think Snape and Voldemort are probably my favourites! The bodies of the characters had a tab at the bottom and slotted snugly into the circular base, no glue needed.
I ummed and ahhed over this one. Wouldn't it be easier to print money? Yes but would they use notes in the film and books? No, they use coins. So to be authentic, I decided I would make my own Galleon coins (210 of them to be exact). The perfectionist in me had to match the colours of each coin to those used for the notes in the original Monopoly game. The number of coins had to match the number of notes in a standard game of Monopoly. This was probably the most time consuming part of the whole thing!
Chocolate Frog Cards
The only part that wasn't laser cut! But I could find no logical explanation for these to be laser cut. These were printed. I think the most fun part was thinking up what should be on the cards. My favourite (and my daughter's) is the one where you eat Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, end up being sick on Snape's desk and having to pay to clean it. I'm no writer, but they made the kids laugh, so job done!
So there we go, not just a Harry Potter Monopoly but a laser cut and engraved Harry Potter Monopoly. And you are able to play it properly! When I gifted it to my husband, he thought that I had just made him a cool board until he realised I had designed and made every element. Then I think he thought I was a little bit mad. And not just that, but every element was faithful to both Harry Potter and Monopoly. He is also a perfectionist so I think he appreciated that! We play it often and it's really fun to play, apart from when the kids eventually lose, then it's no fun! Anyway, hope you enjoyed having a peep at our one of a kind Harry Potter Monopoly board!