Portable TicTacToe Game




About: Italian maker, law student, DIY enthusiast. I make lots of projects, I fix lot of stuff and I like to save and reuse materials taken from broken stuff.

Hi everyone!

In this Instructable I'm going to show you how to make a wooden Tic Tac Toe Board game that can be easily stored in a bag in order to be played during your travels.

The objective of this project was to make it portable (compact and small), easily accessible (no boxes and cases), and with magnetic pins (so that none of the 10 detachable pieces can be lost). If you don't want to use magnets you could just drill all the holes of the right dimension in order to get a tight fit, but with the time and the usage, the holes could become loose and you could start to lose some pins.

It's a very easy project and it is also a good christmas idea. Be sure to check the following step to see the few needed materials and tools.

Step 1: Materials & Tools


- scrap piece of wood

- 20cm x 1cm dowel

- 10 small magnets (I took them from 5 geomags)

- 10 small screws


- saw

- wood glue and clamps

- drill (10mm and 5mm drill bits)

- dark wood stain (or paint)

- protective oil/clear paint

Step 2: Cut the Pins

In order to make the look of the final result as minimalistic as possible, I rejected the idea of the normal X and O, and instead I decided to cut a dowel in 10 pieces of 2cm each.

Once all the pieces were cut, I sanded each piece by hand with sand paper.

Step 3: Mark the Center

Then using my DIY Center Finder, I marked the center on the base of each pin.

It's an easy yet useful tool that you can make in about 20 minutes. If you want to learn now, check between my Instructables or click this link.

Step 4: Insert the Magnets

Since the magnets that I had were 4mm deep and 5mm of diameter, I used a 5mm drill bit to drill a hole deep enough in order to let the manet to be flush with the base.

Once I drilled all the 10 holes, I just pushed the magnets into the pins.

You could use super glue, hot glue, epoxy or the glue that you think that would work best for this job, but trust me that if you drill the hole with the right drill bit, the magnet will stay in place without any problem.

Step 5: Stain 5 Pins

Stain or paint the pieces to differentiate the two teams.

I leaved 5 pieces of the natural wood color, and I stained the remaining 5 ones with a dark wood stain.

A screw is helpful to handle the pins easily through the magnet during the staining/painting process.

Step 6: Cut and Glue the Base

Now it's time to work on the base of this game.

I tried to use the material that I already had without going out to buy a new piece of wood.

I found a scrap piece of plywood thick 1cm from which I was able to get two squares of 8cm. I cut them using a saw and then I glued and clamped them together in order to get a piece 2cm thick.

Step 7: Mark the Places for the Holes

Once the glue is dried you can remove the clamps and you can mark the places for the holes.

First of all connect the corners to find the center, and then using a square mark other two lines (inclined 45° from the previous ones) that go through that center.

Then, starting from the center, make 4 marks at 2,5cm from it (photo#4) and finally use again the square to find the remaining 4 location near the corners (photo#5).

Step 8: Drill the Holes for the Pins

Drill the holes 1cm deep so the pins will protrude 1cm from the base.

Using a piece of tape I made something like a flag around the 10mm drill bit at 1cm from the tip (photo#1). In this way, in order to get 1cm deep holes, I will have to stop as soon as the flag will touch the surface of the base.

I drilled 9 holes on the previously made marks, and then I drilled another one on one side of the base at 2,5cm from one corner (photo#4). Don't forget that a proper Tic Tac Toe game needs 5 pieces per team so you also need that side hole to store the 10th pin.

Step 9: Add Screws

After 5 minutes of hunting between all the screws that I have (I have 10 drawers like the one in photo#1), I found 10 small screws with a flat head.

It's important that they are shorter than 1cm (so they will not come out from the base) and that they have a flat head (so the magnetic pins will stick better to them compared to a round head screw).

P.S. don't forget to add a screw also in the side hole.

Step 10: Make the Grid

I'ts time to decorate a little the base.

As said, since I wanted to keep it as minimal as possible, I made the grid between the 9 holes with a saw.

I maked the lines using a square, and then I made a groove deep just 1mm rubbing the saw against a scrap piece of wood clamped along one line (photo#3).

Step 11: Sand It

I beveled the 4 top edges using a 40 grit sandpaper, and finally I sanded all the surfaces with 80 and 120 grit until everything become smooth to the touch.

Step 12: Finish!

Lastly, apply to all the pieces a couple hands of protective oil (or spray) and you have finished!

As I told you before, this is a really easy project that doesn't require special tools or ability.

It could be a cool christmas present idea since you can make more of them at the same time (maybe colouring each of them differently).

Thank you for reading my Instructable. ;)
Feel free to comment and ask if you need to know something!


Wooden Toys Challenge 2016

Runner Up in the
Wooden Toys Challenge 2016

Homemade Gifts Contest 2016

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2016



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19 Discussions


2 years ago

Congratulations on being a finalist in the Wooden Toys Challenge!

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

Thanks rsucgang! I made an Instructable about it


2 years ago

You made it look easy, I might even try it. You got my votes!

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

hi babybayrs! thanks both for the appreciation and for the votes!!

It's really an easy project! trust me ;) you don't need any particular skill! Once you make it please post an "I made it" photo! I'd really like to see your result


2 years ago

I predict that you shall win either the Wooden Toys contest or the Homemade Gifts contest, or both! Really neat Instructable!

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

Oh thanks very much!! ahah

well... keep your fingers crossed for me!

Thanks for the appreciation!


Reply 2 years ago

Thanks mlawing! Keep checking between my instructables because I'm gonna post another version of this game in about a week! Although this is an easy yet nice project, the next one will be a lot cooler!!