#WhitworthAdvent: Fun and Games: Upcycled Game Pieces

The holidays are a time to come together and enjoy some family fun but over the years pieces may be lost from our go-to games. Before you throw any remaining or slightly damaged pieces away, why not transform them into festive decorations or gifts?

I used an old incomplete domino set and some old chess pieces for my decorations but you could also use draughts pieces and any others you have lying around. If you don’t have any old game pieces to hand, I find that charity shops are usually a good place to look and they won’t break the bank!

You will need:

  • Game pieces (wooden or plastic pieces, as long as any plastic pieces are not made from a hard resin)
  • Twine or ribbon
  • Screw eyes. I used screw eyes from a hardware shop, which are roughly 12mm in height and the ‘eye’ measures about 5mm across.
  • Scissors
  • Split rings or jump rings (optional)


Screw the screw eye into the game piece at the point from which you want your decoration to hang.

I find it’s easier to screw the screw eyes in when I’ve attached a split ring or a jump ring to the ‘eye’ of the screw. After that, I detach the split ring or jump ring and save for jewellery making but you could leave it attached if you don’t think your twine or ribbon will fit through the ‘eye’ of your screws.

I used screw eyes from a hardware shop because the dominoes and chess pieces I used were made from a hard wood and the more delicate screw eyes you can buy as jewellery making supplies simply would not have done the job.

Once the screw eye is secure, cut a length of ribbon or twine and thread it through the ‘eye’ of the screw. You’re finished!

See below for some more ideas for upcycling old game pieces.

All of the old dominoes I have bear the marks of time but there is one that is particularly damaged. It’s also my favourite piece, so I decided to transform it into a pendant. I also attached a charm I made using some Czech glass beads and then strung the pendant and charm on a plain faux suede cord necklace I had.

And the best part is that the back of the domino is also quite ornate. Two looks with one pendant!

You’ll need some beads and headpins on which to thread the beads. You’ll also need some round nose pliers and wire cutters to make a loop at the end of the headpin once you have threaded your beads onto it. You can attach the charm to your necklace using a split ring or jump ring. Raid your toolbox first before you got out to buy pliers and cutters for specifically for jewellery making. Unless you’re working with delicate metals, regular pliers and cutters work just as well if not better!

Ideas for game pieces made from other materials:

If you want to use metal game pieces or pieces made from a hard resin or plastic you are unable to attach a screw eye to, you could try gluing a metal pendant bail for jewellery making to your piece using superglue or a clear-drying own brand all purpose glue. I’ve found that Wilko’s own all purpose glue has been useful in gluing metal objects to another surface in the past!

If you have any playing cards or cardboard tokens you want to transform into decorations, it’s as simple as using a hole punch and threading some twine or ribbon through the hole you have made. You could also use playing cards and cardboard game pieces as bookmarks and gift tags!

Have fun! – Steph

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