Picture of How-To : Giant NES Controller
Here is my instructable on how I built a giant (working) NES controller/trunk.
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Step 1: What you need

Picture of What you need
I added a downloadable file of the basic parts and measurements you need for this project so you can print it off if you'd like. If not here is a list of the basic parts needed.


Bolt/Screw - 14
Washers - 24
Switches - 8
Spade terminals ( 4 – 6 stud ) - 30 or more
5 pin plug ( both male and female ) - 1
P – Clamps - a bunch
Locking Nuts - 14
Small Springs ( must fit over bolts ) - 10 - 14
Non-Skid Protectors (felt ) - 14 or more
“Piano” Style Hinges - 2 ft at least
Different Colour Wires - 9
NES Controller - 1
Various amounts and sizes of screws

The Controller:

48 x 21 in. - 1 ( ¾ in. MDF )
48 x 3 ½ in. - 2 ( ½ in. MDF )
20 x 3 ½ in. - 2 ( ½ in. MDF )
48 x 21 in. - 1 ( 1/8 in. MDF )
47 x 20 in. - 1 ( 1/8 in. MDF )

The Trunk:

(all ½ in. MDF)  

48 x 16 in. - 2 
20 x 16 in. - 2 
47 x 20 in. - 1 
47 x 2 in.   - 2 
19 x 2 in.   - 2    
48 x 3 ½ in. - 2 

I also made up some blueprints for myself to follow. I photocopied my controller and placed a sheet of tracing paper on top of the regular paper that the controller was copied on to. the reason i did this was so i could write and erase measurements and whatnot. I then took calipers and measured the actual controller in millimeters and just transfered that to centimeters. These measurements are more of a guide line than anything.

Step 2: The Controller

Picture of The Controller
Depending on where you get your wood at you can usually get them to cut out the sizes for you. When i first started this project i had only a small idea of how big i wanted this thing. I Don't have a table saw, or one that works rather, so i had to rig up a jig so i could make straight cuts with the skilsaw. 

I then  took the 1/8 in MDF and cut out the raised parts of the nintendo controller. I relied on my blueprints and a rough estimate to get the spaces between the placing of the 1/8 MDF

For the sides of the controller i got a trim that was 3 1/2 in tall and 1/2 in thick. All i did was glue and brad those pieces to the bottom of the top piece to form a box. Once i got the sides on i then glued down the 1/8 MDF that way i had no nail holes to deal with.

Step 3: Controller 2

Picture of Controller 2
Once you have all the 1/8 mdf in place and glued i took the router router and recessed the space for the start and select buttons. i also routed out the hole for the D-pad. I then routed the edges of the whole top to give it a cleaner look.

I then took some fill to all the edges and later sanded it to clean up all the unwanted lines and imperfections.

The next step was to prime the lid.

Step 4: The Box

Picture of The Box
Im not going to take to much time on this part since all your doing here is building a box..
If you have any questions on building a box check out some of the instructables here.

The only major things i did to the box were routing all the edges for a cleaner took and i also added a lip on the inside to give it a little more strength and room for hinges.

I then Sanded, filled and primed the box to get it ready for paint.

Step 5: The Buttons

The  Buttons were tricky but fun to figure out. I got ahold of a 10cm hole saw bit and cut out my A and B buttons. Then got a 1in bit and cut out the holes for the start and select buttons.

The d-pad was cut out of 3/4in MDF and the arrows were cut out of the 1/8 MDF then glued them together and routed the edges.

To mount the buttons i cut out square pieces of MDF and used the Bolt/Screw to mount them with washers and springs giving it resistance and keeping it level.

To make the buttons actually work i needed switches. I found some momentary switches which you can get at hardware stores or tech shops like the source or radioshack.

For the D-pad i used a ball joint type bolt that my Dad found at work. it acts as a pivot point for the d-pad since it has to move in 4 directions. on the bottom of the D-pad i drilled a small dip so the ball could sit in comfortably. 

Once all the buttons were done i set them into the table to measure them for mounting and adjustments.

Step 6: Wiring

In the pictures a made up a wiring diagram for soldering to the board and to the plug. 

Cut off the chord that runs from the board in the controller to the console and solder those wires to one end of the plug. The rest of the chord that you cut off gets wired to the other end of the plug. This way you dont always have a chord coming out of the chest and when you want to play your favorite NES games all you do is plug in the chord.

Now solder your wires to the other side of the board and run the wires out to its corresponding switch. I used P-Clamps to hold my wire harness down and i used spade terminals tightened down by screws for easy removal if i need to fix or change anything.

I cut a hole and mounted the plug roughly where a real controllers chord would come from.

Step 7: Painting

Time for painting! for the body of the controller i unfortunately couldnt use Krylon products because i needed to colour match the ones from the controller. I did use Krylon paint and clear coat on the buttons though. It was wanting to spray paint the buttons in the beginning since they are funny shapes and would be easier.

Once i had a few coats of the light grey on the controller i masked off a small portion and rolled on the dark grey. Then i masked off the rest of the controller and rolled on the black. When i peeled of the masking i was pretty stoked!

The box i put the light grey on the inside and the black on the outside. i didn't want to do the whole thing black cause that just didn't feel right :p but do what you like to yours if you decide to make one!!

Now that it was painted i needed to get the decals. i tried cutting them out myself but it just wasn't coming out how i wanted. so rather then take away from all the work i had done by using crappy decals i just went and got them professionally done.

Step 8: Final touches!

Picture of Final touches!
I wanted to make a cover for the underside of the table so you couldn't see all the wires and stuff. i added these spare pieces of wood to the inside and got some more 1/8in MDF and made a backing. Its held on by 6 screws so you can access the wiring fairly easily still.

I also routed out a recess for the hinge to sit in so it would be flush. I also added a chain to both sides so the lid wouldn't fly all the way back when you opened it. 

Step 9: DONE!

Picture of DONE!
So there it is! How to build a giant NES controller.

If you have any questions about this or how i did something just leave a comment or message and ill try to answer it the best i can!

Happy Gaming!
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cheto18071 year ago
Hey one more question,

What size wires did you use.
thisissafety (author)  cheto18071 year ago
Mmm I used 16 but that's only because I found that whole wiring harness in the trash at my dads shop. I would recommend smaller. 18 or maybe even 20. 16 was a little clunky and hard to solder to the board.

I did 18 and couldn't imagine going with a thicker gauge! Props to you :)

hkimpact5 days ago

Has anyone considered trying a lift mechanism hinge for this? Could be cool having it lift up towards you and locking in place.

marcforsyth1988 made it!7 days ago

Thanks so much for the instructional. To anyone building one of these, I found an easier method to the wiring process. I wired the momentary pushbuttons to the controller as normal, however instead of cutting and re-wiring the cord coming out of the controller to the nes, I left that cord intact and mounted the plug to the back of the coffee table. I then purchased an NES Extension Cable (has a male on one end and a female on the other) from So now, all I have to do is plug the extension into the NES and into the back of my table.

NES COntroller.jpg

I did the same thing, but then realized I wanted a longer cable. I can vouch that this does work though.

Im going to built my own!

Jonb27011 days ago
I need the vinyl lettering. HELP!!
SammMoney1 month ago

I am unable to download the file I am only getting a .tmp. Anyway it can be reuploaded or can someone tell me where to get it.

brex1 made it!2 months ago
brex13 months ago
@ thisissafety, could you please email me your messurments can't get the file to open.. at jurassic262
joshwelch95 months ago

Very awesome man! Love this!

JakeT19966 months ago
Can anyone let me know what type of switches were used for the Dpad I can see that push switches were used for start select, a and b buttons but I can't identify the d-pad to save my life
cbendahan8 months ago

could someone post links to some of these things i cant find them


Spade terminals ( 4 – 6 stud )
5 pin plug ( both male and female )
P – Clamps
Locking Nuts
Small Springs
Non-Skid Protectors

MarkD871 year ago

Is there any price-tag on this? As in the total cost of the build? I'm considering making one as a gift, but as a student my cup doesn't exactly runeth over with cash, so planning it out financially would be nice!

Dis is awsome
Hey , I just finished making the remote, now I just need some decals. Did you go to a big name store to get yours done? If not, how/what would I look for when searching for a store? do you have any left over that I can buy from you by chance?
cheto18071 year ago
There are two wires coming out of each button right? Where do both of those wires lead? Please show me how you did it at
Thanks man. Now I can start.
cheto18071 year ago
I have a question: one wire from the button leads to the board; where does the other wire go to get the power? Please e-mail at
rgrifford1 year ago
That is really freaking awesome!!!
samgo441 year ago

You've unlocked something very awesome in this project.

It is finally complete!, turned out better than I expected!, Works great on my projector.

If anyone needs vinyl lettering or decals let me know, will create some for you for cheap.
Almost completed my NES Coffee table. Just have to cut out the rest of the decals , screw in rest of buttons and a lot of paint touch up!
I also have a vinyl cutter if anyone is looking for decals for there tables send me a message and will try to respond asap.
NESobsessed2 years ago
Hi there! I love what you did with this and I really appreciate the fact that you took the time to upload the instructions; I've just got one question: how much did it cost you to build this? (including the deceals and paint but excluding the tools) Thanks.
scream__dc2 years ago
I swear I love what you do XD
phanjt093 years ago
Does anyone have trouble downloading the document? Cause when i downloaded it, it just gave me a zip with wierd xml documents and folders. Anyone have a solution?
Downloading it and simply opening it with word will do the trick :)
Doesn't work for me neither. It gives me a .tmp file.
patryan2 years ago
Can you be more in depth on how you did the wiring? I have no experience with this sort of thing at all and really really want to make this. I'm not an electrician. Is there anyway that you can help me?

If you can please email me if possible at

DId you ever get a response on the wiring?
thetsquare3 years ago
is this the same one up for grabs on Portland craigslist recently?
bbulych3 years ago
Marry me? XD
sblank3 years ago
I'm going to do this, but as an upright stereo cabinet. I want to make it so the controller part slides off the rest of the piece, rather than opens with a hinge. Also gonna have to make it a few inches bigger. I'll keep ya posted.
Oi233 years ago
Could I buy one of these?
coryjbenson3 years ago
That's freaking awesome. Now all you have to do is put a piano hinge on the back and make it a storage unit as well!
dimmaz883 years ago
Dude, you make the world a better place! :)
ilpug3 years ago
now make a same scale NES!
XxThePiff3 years ago
This is the true definition of art!!!!!!!
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