Introduction: Marbles & Wood Tic-Tac-Toe Set

About: I'm tall (6'6") and no I don't play basketball!! But I do enjoy sitting at my bench making things!!
This is a fun and easy project that can be finished in a day. It's pretty simple, requiring minimal tools and minimal experience with woodworking. Made from a solid block of wood with holes drilled out to store the marble play pieces when not in use. It's the perfect little game to set out on your coffee table for guest to play with or admire. I hope you enjoy making your own Tic-Tac-Toe game set as much as I did.

Step 1: Materials & Tools

You will need for this project:

  • A block of wood 3" X 3" X 1" ( can be thicker if you'd like)
  • Sliver of wood 3" X 1" X 1/8" for the door
  • 8 Marbles
  • A small screw
  • Black paint and thin paint brush (if you use one color of marble you can paint X's and O's on them)
  • Finish of your choice (stain, polyurethane, etc.)
  • Drill
  • 3/4" paddle bit
  • 3/8" drill bit (optional)
  • Dremel tool with engraving bit #191
  • small drill bit to match the size of your screw
  • A Clamp
  • Sand paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

Step 2: Making the Rotating Door

Lining It Up
The first step is to attach the door to the front of your block. Take the sliver of wood and line it up with the edge of your block. Make sure to clamp it down so it can't move while you drill the hole. Find the center of the door (should be at the 1 1/2" mark) and mark it. Now drill through the door and into the block with a bit that's appropriate to the size of the screw you have.

Test The Fit
Using a screwdriver put the screw through the door and into the block. Test for a good fit and make sure the door can rotate easily but not too loose that it just spins on it's own. It needs to be tight enough to hold itself in place and the marbles inside. Leave the door attached so you can measure for the marble compartments.

Step 3: Drilling the Marble Compartments

Measuring for the Holes
Rotate the door perpendicular to the block. Using the 3/4" paddle bit measure and mark a space for the two holes. You should be able to draw out two squares equally spaced on either side of the door. Then draw an "X" through the squares to find the centers.

Drilling the Holes
Remove the door and place the block in a vice ( make sure to square it up so you aren't drilling at an angle) or use a drill press if you have one. Before drilling, line up four marbles and measure how deep the bit will need to go to make a hole long enough to accommodate all the marbles. Mark the spot on the bit using a strip of tape. Now drill out the two holes and test fit to make sure four marbles will fit in each hole.

Step 4: Creating the Play Surface

Measuring out the Grid
Take the ruler and measure out four lines. The lines should be at the 1" and 2" marks on the ruler. This will give you a grid of 9 squares.

Etching the Grid
Using the Dremel with engraving bit #191, very carefully etch along the drawn lines.

Drilling the Play Spots
Draw an "X" through each square to find the centers just as you did with the marble compartments. Then either using the 3/8" drill bit or the Dremel etching tool make shallow circular divots where the marbles can be placed. I used the Dremel to etch out the divots but prior to etching I drew a rough circle around each center point as a guide.

After drilling each divot test fit a marble to make sure the divot is wide and deep enough to keep the marble in place.

Step 5: Finishing Up

Apply a finish
Before putting the door back on apply a finish of your choice. I chose to apply polyurethane to my set to let the natural color of the wood shine.

Final assembly
After your finish has dried, reattach the door,  fill up the compartments with the marbles and you're done!! Now put it on the coffee table or anywhere people will be able to enjoy it!!

**Extra Credit**
You can use two different sets of marbles (colors or designs) to distinguish between the X's and the O's or if you use 8 marbles of the same color as I did you can paint X's and O's on them. To keep them steady when painting you can place a few in the vice or by using the drill bit to drill out a few holes on a scrap piece of wood to hold the marbles while being painted.

**If you enjoyed this Instructable and were maybe even inspired by it, I'd appreciate a vote in the contests I've entered it in, Thanks**
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