Use two contrasted colors for the squares. You can mix few colors to achieve a faux stone effect, or a wood pattern, etc... Try to stay within monochromatic or analogous color schemes.
Decorate the border with cane slices. If you don't know how to make canes - click on the link below:
Don't forget to decorate the edge of the board.
Bake for about 20 min. at 230 F. Leave in the oven to cool down.
Sketch the pieces ( your choice of checkers or chess).
Use colors of the squares for the figures.