How To Make Your Own DIY Chess Set

DIY Chess Set With Fasteners

DIY Chess Set Fasteners
DIY Fastener Chess Set Using Nuts, Bolts, and Washers




Craft Your Own Conversation Piece

Looking to craft a chess set that sparks conversation? Transform ordinary hardware into an extraordinary DIY project.

Step 1: Grab your nuts, bolts, washers and more. Raid your garage workshop or stock up on supplies.

Step 2: Follow our designs – mix and match materials like zinc, nickel, steel, brass and bronze.

Step 3: Assembly is easy! Just twist pieces together using our step-by-step guide.

Nuts About This DIY

When we first tossed around the idea of crafting chess pieces from hardware store finds, we imagined mocking up a piece or two for some laughs. But once the creative juices started flowing, we just couldn’t bolt (see what we did there?). Before long, our warehouse was abuzz with debates over the perfect washer for a bishop’s brim or which bolt tops conjured the most kingly vibe.

We raided our existing stainless steel, zinc, and nickel supplies for the “silver” pieces. The “gold” side challenged us to get crafty, leading us on a treasure hunt for brass and bronze bits to sparkle up those pieces. Let’s just say there were some, ahem, colorful debates over who got first dibs on the shiniest gold bolts. Hey, no one ever said DIYing had to be pretty!

After plenty of trial and error—we’re still finding rogue washers in corners—we emerged with a complete 32-piece masterpiece ready to be crowned Game Night’s MVP. While no king is safe from our capture, we promise we don’t bite. So give this DIY a go yourself and let the games begin!

Pawns Leading the Charge

DIY Chess Piece - Pawn

Our brave pawn pieces take the front lines, ready to sacrifice themselves for their king and queen. For these soldiers, we recommend standard zinc and nickel coated screws paired with cap nuts to mimic their combat helmets. Top tip: Capture their stoic stances with nuts and bolts measuring around 3⁄8” diameter. Sturdy yet small enough for easy gameplay.

The Pawn – Zinc and Nickel Plated Steel

The Pawn – Grade 8 Zinc and Brass

*Make Eight of Each Pawn

Rooks Rule the Realm

DIY Chess Piece Rook

From patrolling the back row to charging into the action, rooks are crucial for both attack and defense. To re-create the look of a medieval tower, we suggest combining hex screws or bolts with flange nuts, washers, and castle nut tops. Go for diameters around 1⁄2”-3⁄4” to get that bold fortress shape down. Pro tip: Add a touch of grip with serrated flanges to really cement that “don’t mess with my castle” vibe.

Rook – Zinc and Stainless Steel

Rook – Silicon Bronze and Brass

*Make 2 of Each Rook

Knights Who Say Neigh

DIY Chess Piece Knight

True to their eccentric moves on the board, our knight designs required some unconventional combinations. The nylon lock nuts evoke their unpredictable spirit, while wing nuts symbolize their ability to jump over other pieces when needed. For steed-worthy sizes, look for bolt diameters in the 1”-11⁄2” range. But feel free to break the rules with creative part pairings just like the knights do!

Knight – Zinc

Knight – Silicon Bronze and Brass

*Make Two of Each Knight

Bishops Bring Balance

DIY Chess Piece Bishop

To mimic the bishop’s sweeping diagonals on the chessboard, we opted for long, slender pieces. Coupling nuts, t-nuts and threaded inserts stacked together create that signature slim silhouette. For an extra flourish, top them off with a carriage bolt shaft. Aim for smaller diameters around 1⁄4”-1⁄2″ so bishops don’t upstage the royalty.

Bishop – Zinc

Bishop – Silicon Bronze and Brass

*Make Two of Each Bishop

The Noblest Game Pieces

Of course, no chess set would be complete without king and queen pieces worthy of their rank. For our regal couple, we sought substantial sizes ranging from 1⁄2”-3⁄4” diameters to capture their commanding presence. Decorative touches like knurled thumb nuts, wing nuts and lock washers add formal flair. Secure jam nuts threaded down the shaft convey hard-won wisdom from years of gameplay. Topped with eye-catching Keps nuts for crowns, even these rulers know to expect the unexpected!

Queen – Zinc and Stainless Steel

DIY Chess Pieces - Queen

Queen – Silicon Bronze and Brass

*Make One of Each Queen

King – Zinc

King – Silicon Bronze and Brass

*Make One of Each King




Game On!


Part strategy exercise, part artistic outlet, assembling this DIY chess set unleashed our creativity in unexpectedly fun ways. We hope our tips and trials inspire you to craft your own complete set or personalized spin. Show us your handmade pieces on social media using #fastenerchess.

Because not even the finest store-bought chess set can compete with the love and memories treasured in each hand-crafted move. Just be sure to use a Threadlocker Solution on your finished pieces to secure everything in place. When it comes to keeping your masterpieces intact, better safe than sorry!

Visit our blog often to read more about our cool creations and fastener fun!

DIY Chess Set - Zinc, Stainless Steel and NickelDIY Chess Set Brass and Silicon Bronze

DIY Chess Set - Fasteners

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How To Make Your Own Pallet Key Holder

Making a Key Holder With Pallet Wood and Screws

Everyone has keys and our team at Albany County Fasteners is no different. We set out to create a place to hang our keys and put our mail. After reviewing many of the different styles available, we decided on a rustic wall key holder with a built in mail slot. Then we thought how can we make this simple and add our own spin to it.

The Tools

The Supplies

Step One: Getting the Wood and CuttingScrap Wood

After our last project, we decided to go ahead and remove wood from pallets so we had a supply to work with next time. So we went to our wood pile and chose 7 pieces of pallet wood at a minimum of 1 ft lengths.

We cut those boards into the following:

Two 3-1/2″ x 1 ft boards

One 3″ x 1 ft board

Two 3-1/2″ x 10″ boards

One 2″ x 10″ board

Two 2″ x 2-3/4″ Rectangles

Step Two: Basic Assembly

Now that we have all of our wood cut, we took the two 3-1/2″ x 1 ft boards and the 3″ x 1 ft board and placed them next to each other.

We then too one of the 3-1/2″ x 10″ boards and placed it across the top. This board will serve as a decorative piece for later. We can also use it to hide any uneven cuts in the wood with it.

Backing                                             Backing with Decorative top board

Now we can flip this back over and place a 1-1/4″ long #6 Phillips Flat Head Wood Screw into each board to hold them to the 10″ board.Front Mail Catch

We also need to create the insert for the mail. Take the other 3-1/2″ x 10″ board and line it up on the edge of the 2″ x 10″ board. You are going to want to pre-drill holes into this as the wood is prone to splitting especially in such a tight area. We used a 3/16″ brad point drill bit for wood for this process. Then we installed two 1-1/4″ #6 Stainless Steel Slotted Oval Head Wood Screws into the holes.

Then we lined up the two 2″ x 2-3/4″ Rectangles on the two boards and repeated the drilling and screwing process further up. We now have the two pieces of our key rack ready to be assembled.

Assembly of these two parts is quite simple. After lining up the corners, we drilled 5 holes along the edge of the mail slot. Making a U shape to hold the slot to the backing.

Key Ring Holder Step 2

Step Three: Key Ring Holders

Key Holders for key Rings out of fasteners

Now that we have our key holder together, we need something to hang our keys from. Using Screws all with different heads is a cheap and fun way to make easily identifiable key hooks. So we had everyone in the office pick a head and drive style, found them all in 1-1/4″ #12 Stainless Steel, and pre-drilled seven holes into the lower board using a 1/8″ bit.*

*Pro-Tip: To ensure you don’t drill too far into the wood, use blue painters tape on the drill bit to identify a stopping point.



Step 4: Adding Some Character

What key rack is complete without an easily identifiable saying? No key rack in our opinion. Thus we created a template on paper for and attached it to our top board using blue tape. We then drilled semi-equidistant holes through the paper and into the wood using the 3/16″ drive.

After removing our template, we took the 3/4″ #6 Stainless Steel wood screws and drove them into the pre-drilled holes.

Drilling Holes in Key Holder Stencil                                               Driving Screws into Key Rack

Final Step: Hanging (your keys)

We are still deciding on the best place to hang this for us but in the mean time, we couldn’t resist hanging our keys on it to show you the finished product. We consider this build to be simple and it took us about 3 hours from start to finish. Leave and questions or comments below. We look forward to hearing about your exciting pallet key holder ideas!


Finished Pallet Key Holder

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How to Build a Threaded Rod Pallet Shelf

Building A Pallet Shelf Using Threaded RodCompleted Threaded Rod Pallet Shelf - Empty

Pallet shelving is incredibly popular for its rustic look and simple functionality. We’ve decided our office could use a display shelf and we had excess pallets lying around. Then we asked ourselves whats the point in building something if we can’t show it off and teach you how to make them for yourselves. (come back to this, needs a rewrite Mention Threaded Rod Pallet Shelf)

The Tools

The Supplies

Easily Remove Pallet BoardsStep One: Finding the Wood

After we put on our safety glasses and gloves, our first step when building this shelf was to locate pallets with wood of a similar size. We decided on 3 inch wide boards for the shelving. Once we identified the 18 pieces we wanted for our 2 foot lengths (shelves) we began removing them. Ten minutes and a broken hammer handle later, we decided we needed a better way to remove the boards. Using two pieces we were able to remove in this time, we used them to create better leverage and a pry bar. Moving back and forth across the board the nails easily came out and removing our boards became simple.

*Make sure to bring extra pallets if you are collecting them. Some boards are brittle and will snap or crack during this process.

After removing those 18 boards we then found 9 more boards that were slightly thicker (4 inches wide) for the supports. Using the same prying method we were able to remove them with ease. Since these boards were over two feet in length, we only needed 9 which we could then cut into 18 10-1/4″ support beams.

Step Two: Removing the Nails

This step was the most time-consuming by far. We thought about just hammering the nails flat against Remove Nails from pallets easilythe base but decided it wasn’t particularly safe and so we began bending them straight and removing them all with a hammer. The time this takes will vary. We had some boards only attached by 3 screws where others had 9 or more.

Pro Tips:

  1. Using the gaps inside a pallet to hammer the nails down through makes removing nails easy.
  2. If the length you want to use is shorter than the board, leave the screws in the end you will be cutting off and not using.

Step Three: Measure, Mark and CutMeasure and Mark wood for cutting

Once the wood is ready, take a moment and look at each piece. Check for splits in the wood and other chipping or excessive warping. This wood can still be used if the other side is clean. At this point sort your wood by width. You should have two stacks: one with 18 3″ wide pieces and one with 9 4″ wide pieces.

Take the first 3″ wide piece and measure two feet long. Mark this length and cut it with a chop saw. Measure again to ensure the length is correct at two feet. Then use this piece of wood to make the remaining 17 pieces. Repeat this process for the 4″ wide boards but with 10-1/4″ lengths.

*To save time when collecting the wood, we only gathered 9 pieces. Use the stencil to mark multiple cuts on the 4″ wood to make multiple lengths out of one board

Step Four: Assemble the ShelvesA Pallet Shelf Halfway built

Now that all of our wood is cut to length its time to begin assembling our shelves. Lay out three pieces of the 4″ wood and then three of the 3″ boards on top of it. It’s important to make sure you even out the spacing of the 4″ boards or it will look uneven when all of the shelves are stacked. Make sure your screws are screwed in off center. This way when you go to drill the holes for the threaded rod they will not be in your way. Starting with the outside boards, drill a single wood screw into each cross-section to hold the pieces together. Do the middle piece last as it will be easy to center once the edges are in place. Make 6 shelves by repeating this process

Pro Tips:

  1. If your boards are uneven, make sure you choose a side to be front and make that side as even as possible. No one will see the back and if it’s a little un-even that’s OK.
  2. We used blue tape before drilling into the wood to help prevent splitting and cracking around the screws.
  3. Do not over-tighten the screws, the ends will be held together with nuts. The over-tightening can cause splits in the wood.

Step Five: Drilling the holesDrilling Holes in Pallet Shelves

The next step was to measure the corner of the first shelf board, find the center and drill a hole with a 1/2″ spade bit. Do this for all four corners. We recommend drilling down into another piece of wood to avoid damaging the drill tip if you drill too far.

Once all four holes are drilled, make sure you have all 6 shelves with the front identified. Line up 1 or two of those shelves by the front making sure everything is flush, then take the first shelve (the one you already drilled through) and use it as a guide to drill even holes all the way down through your shelves. Once through, switch our the shelves with 1 to two more and continue until all six shelves have holes.

*Once completed line up all six and hold them up in the air. You should be able to see all the way through the hole.

Step Six: Putting it all together

Take four flange bolts and screw them onto the end of the threaded rod. Have two flipped upside down. These flanges will act as the feet and the first shelf will sit on the other two. Then begin Flange Nuts as feet for pallet shelfscrewing on four more in the same fashion from the top. One to push down against the first shelf and one to support the next shelf. Make sure you measure the gaps to know where to stop. Repeat this process until all of the shelves are sitting on four flange nuts and have four pressed down against the shelves as well.

Pro Tips:

  1. Our fastener Expert told us using coupling nuts and washers may be easier to install than using flange nuts.
  2. Don’t worry if the fixture seems unsteady. Once we tighten down the flange bolts it will be very strong
  3. The measuring at this stage is a loose indicator, we will fix that in the next step

Step Seven: Make the Shelves Equidistantmeasuring shelf height

Take a tape measure and from the bottom shelf, measure up to the next shelf. Decide on what distance you want for the shelves(we chose 13 inches). Measure each corner and adjust the bottom flange bolts as necessary until all shelves are even. Then take a level, place it on the bottom shelf and adjust the feet to even out the bottom shelf. From here you can work your way up the shelves and adjust the lower flange bolts accordingly to make each shelf level.

Step Eight: Tighten Up

At this point your threaded rod pallet shelf should still be a little wobbly. Take the 3/4″ wrench and tighten the top flange bolts down onto the shelves. Make these bolts very tight and then also tighten the bottom. Your shelf should stiffen up significantly at this point. From here on out there is only one more step.

Final Step: Decorate Your New Threaded Rod Pallet Shelf and LOVE IT!

Now that you have your completed and amazing looking shelf, its time to use it! We recommend keeping heavy weight on the bottom and lighter weight on top. Check out our decorations and tell us all about how your project turned out below!

Completed and Decorated Threaded Rod Pallet Shelf

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