I guess I’m not the only one who visits the hardware store and sees everything as a potential crafty material! Julia made her own chess set from hardware pieces like nuts and bolts. This would be a fun gift for any chess aficionado, or maybe for that hard-to-buy-for guy in your family (holiday gifts, anyone?) Julia’s process is detailed in this post from Make. [how to make a hardware chess set] [julia’s flickr]

Julia used Rustoleum paint to color the second team’s pieces. She recommends putting felt on the bottom of the pieces if you want to keep from scratching your chess board. I would recommend those felt pad stickers you can buy at the dollar store.

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Project Estimate:

  • Various nuts, bolts, screws, and threaded rod, $10 (estimate)
  • Rustoleum paint, $5
  • Felt or cork pad stickers, $1
  • Chess board, on hand

Total: $16 and up

Updated: Check out Julia’s flickr stream for the configurations of all the pieces. She has each piece “exploded” with the pieces in order so you can see how she put them together:

  • King exploded and then how the king is put together: 1/2 ” threaded rod 4″ long. From the bottom is screwed a flanged hex nut, a regular washer, an internally toothed washer, a long-sleeve hex nut, a circular washer, an externally toothed washer. Topped with a castle nut.
  • Bishop exploded and then how the bishop is put together: 1/2″ threaded rod 3″ long. On the very bottom a flanged hex nut, then an inverted castle nut, a regular washer, an externally toothed washer. Topped of with a cap nut
  • Knight exploded and then how the knight is put together: 1/2″ hex bolt (about 2 or 2.5″ long) with, from the bottom:  a flanged hex nut, an externally toothed washer, then a butterfly nut. Julia constructed the knight with the butterfly nut near the bottom of the screw, which is an abstract look for the knight. Some have suggested the butterfly nut be screwed closer to the top, but I wonder if this affects the balance of the piece? You’ll know when you put it together. Comment back to let us know.
  • Pawn exploded and then how the pawn is put together: 1/2 ” hex bolt 1 1/2 ” long. and one flanged hex nut
  • Rook exploded and then how the rook is put together: 1/2″ threaded rod with a flanged hex nut on bottom and a castle nut on top
  • Queen exploded and then how the queen is put together: 1/2″ carriage bolt 3 1/2 ” long. From the bottom is screwed a flanged hex nut, then an internally toothed washer, a long sleeve hex nut, and 4 externally toothed washers