Introduction: Dominoes

About: Student at Washington Lee High School

This is a guide to making a wooden domino set from scratch.

Step 1: Gather Materials

- Plank of Wood 3.5 Inches wide, 16 inches long and 1.5 inches tall

- Band Saw (or manual saw)

- Sanding Belt (or sand paper)

- Drill Press with (1/8 drill bit)

-Black Painting Marker or black Pant

Step 2: Measuring Each Domino

Take the piece of wood and draw a horizontal line every half inch using a ruler and pencil. Draw 28 lines which should end you up with 28 half inch rectangles.

Step 3: Cutting the Pieces Out

For this next step, put on safety goggles to ensure no pieces of wood get into your eyes. Take the wooden plank with the lines on it and using a saw cut out each piece following the lines previously drawn. Since the piece is small, use a tool to push the plank through the saw to keep fingers a safe distance away.

By the end of this step you should now have 28 smaller, identical rectangular blocks.

Step 4: Drawing and Cutting Out Center Line

Take each block and draw the shorter line across the middle of the block. Using a machine saw or manual saw cut into the line just barely. Do this with all 28 blocks.

Step 5: Sanding Each Block's Sides

Using sand paper or a sanding machine, sand each side of the block to make it smooth and to prevent players from getting splinters as seen in the pictures. Do this to all 28 blocks.

Step 6: Sanding Each Block's Edges

Using a sand machine or sand paper, sand the longer edges to give it a rounded feel. If using a sand machine be careful with getting fingers caught and roll up any long sleeves to make sure it doesn't get caught as well. Do this with all 28 blocks.

Step 7: Drilling Holes Into Dominoes

Using a 1/8 drill bit on a drill machine or manually, lightly penetrate the surface to make a con-caved dot on desired spots. Follow the dot positions on the diagram provided. Make one domino for each in the picture.

Step 8: Painting Dots

Take the paint marker and place it perpendicular to the block into the con-caved holes. Then twist the marker to fill in the entire dot. If using regular paint fill in dots in a dotting motion.

Step 9:

You should now have a full set of 28 dominoes. Have fun and play!



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18 Discussions


1 year ago

I like your project. I agree with the comments about the grain orientation, but maybe if you used a hardwood like maple? And, another thing. I've played 42 with some serious rascals. I bet after a few hands, they would recognize the dominoes by the back grain design! The way you cut them though, I bet that would be harder to do.

1 reply

very interesting point... I never realized that but thats good advice


Saw Machine = Band Saw

Sanding Machine = Belt Sander

Drilling Machine = Drill Press

1 reply

thanks! :)

I learned a lot from others giving me advice about wood and dominoes and the flaws from this project, to make many improvements for future reference.

But hey it's the idea that counts ;)

And you put a lot of work into getting the details right.

Except for the wrong geometry and shape, I think that since you cut all the pieces by the end grain you made them fragile and easy to break on the middle..Even more adding the center groove..

anyway nice looking result

2 replies

Actually, since he made them 1/2 inch thick, I suspect they will be just fine. If they were as thin as manufacturers usually make dominos, there may be a problem.

I agree. Next time James, try some hardwood...and cut the pieces not using the end grain of the wood. It does make the project rather fragile and it will warp...If you use soft wood again, get the kiln dried stuff, and again, use the planed sides, not the open celled ends. :) You will enjoy the project much better. Since i have to make some very large pieces of this project, I will see if I can post a picture later on:) Keep up the great ideas and just takes a few tips to make any project top notch:) Also, instead of a pen, use a wood burning tool for the dots:) That way you can oil finish your project and have no runs, nor need for any paints. Have fun! Cheers!

When I first saw this I thought "nice but why?"

It looks like a lot of work and wouldn't save money

Then of course Der.....

I realised the real benefit of this is what you can do on the REVERSE side of the domino and really create a design, something which is unique and personalised that where a great gift for a domino enthusiast could be created.

A domino is a mathematical shape consisting of two squares together. To achieve this shape, simply trim the 2x4 to 3 inches wide. Then your 1 1/2" x 3" pieces will be true dominos, and look better when you play those 90 degree turns.

Experience making routed wood signs shows that paint can wick through the wood fibers, making your holes look fuzzy. To prevent this, treat the wood with an oil finish first. Plain linseed oil works fine. Then, use the big end of a flat toothpick or similar to place a drop of good oil base paint in the hole. It will shrink as it dries, providing a nice solid color. Go through your old odds and ends of paint, make up some test blocks, and see what colors really pop with your choice of wood.

1 reply

Thanks for the constructive critism... I'll take this into consideration next time I make wooden products

A pretty awesome first Instructable!

I voted in all the categories you entered because this is a job well done and such a cool homemade gift!

Well done :-)

1 reply

Thank you for the vote!

And in fact I plan on giving this as a gift to my mom for the holidays ;)

What a great idea, and they look pretty cool too.

Is there any particular reason you didn't go with the grain, though?

This would be an awesome Christmas gift for someone :)