Take a look in just about any home in Anywhereville, USA and you are bound to find at least one coffee can, pickle jar, or other container filled to the brim with spare nuts, bolts, screws and other fasteners. You may pick them up to complete projects, have them leftover from a project, or even just find them laying around in the garage, so over the years, you could easily accumulate quite the oddball collection of hardware fastening components. Thankfully, with a little ingenuity and a lot of creativity, you can make use of those old fasteners you have tucked away.
Develop your own ingeniously creative chess board.
Forget the boring chess board and pieces you get at the store; if you have a bunch of fasteners hanging around, you can create some pretty fascinating chess figures on your own. You can create a chess board with a lot of things or even use an existing board you already have, but the fun lies in crafting the playing pieces themselves. Bolts with nuts at the base can become pawns, add a butterfly nut and you have a rook, or craft a queen and king by adding toothed washers or castle nuts. Play around with what you have in your extra fastener collection to see what kind of playing pieces you can come up with.
Forget the beads and craft jewelry with various nuts.
Wingnuts, hex nuts, and long-sleeved nuts may not look like a lot on their own, but string some of these together on a jewelry chain and you get a funky piece of jewelry that is not like anything you're going to find at the store. Because fastener nuts are already crafted from materials like stainless steel and titanium and have a convenient hole in the center, they make ideal "beads" if you like making jewelry in your spare time.
Give little hands something to do and enhance word-building skills.
If you have a handful of large bolts and several coordinating nuts that fit, get your kids involved in this nifty project. Use spray paint to lightly coat the bolts and nuts in varying colors and allow them to dry. Using a Sharpie or fine-point paint marker, write different letters on the sides of each nut. Your kids can practice their word-building skills by arranging the letter nuts on the bolts to form words. Not only will your youngster get valuable practice with spelling, they will also be using hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.