How to Improvise a Wing Nut Using Epoxy and Aluminum Tube

A wingnut or wing nut is a type of nut with two large metal "wings", one on each side, so it can be easily tightened and loosened by hand without tools. In my area, wing nuts are not a common hardware material. They're not common in the sense that they're not used in the mainstream "permanent" projects. Wing nuts, by virtue of their handy usage and easy removal, are typically used in temporary setups.

Wing nuts, in the context of this article refer to having the body of a small-sized nut made bigger so that it can be affixed or removed easily and without special tools.

Shown below is a small-sized nut that I commonly use. It has a 1/8" diameter hole.

Due to its small size, notice how extremely difficult it is to just hold the nut with the fingers. It becomes even more difficult to try to engage the nut to its bolt. Oftentimes, I fumble and drop the nut in the process of engaging it to the bolt. And it's frustrating to look for the tiny nut when it falls on the ground or floor.

How to Improvise a Wing Nut


  • Small nut with matching bolt - 1/8" Dia. Hole

  • Two-part Epoxy (adhesive and hardener)
    This will bind the small nut to the shell of the wing nut.

  • Aluminum Tube - 1/2" Dia., 1/2" Long, cut from an antenna element.
    This will serve as the shell or casing for the body of the wing nut.

  • Masking Tape - 1/2" wide


  1. Put the nut at the end of the matching bolt. Be sure the nut is flush at the bolt's end.

  2. Wind a short piece of masking tape around the bolt so it is flush against the side of the nut as shown below.

  3. Rest the aluminum tube on its end. Carefully position the bolt with nut inside the tube. With the nut as the base, let the bolt and nut stand dead center inside the tube as shown below.

  4. Mix the two parts of the two-part epoxy. Mix an amount that's just enough to fit inside the tube. Carefully pour the epoxy mix inside the tube, burying the nut and covering a part of the masking tape.

  5. Let the two-part epoxy cure and dry.

  6. When the epoxy has cured and dried, unscrew and remove the bolt from the hardened mix.

  7. Some bits of the tape may be left behind. Remove these bits of masking tape with a pair of tweezers.

  8. With a sharp knife or cutter, deburr the rough edges of the hardened epoxy. Use sandpaper or flat file to smoothen the edges.

  9. You will be left with a bigger-sized nut that is now easier to handle, tighten and loosen on the bolt.

    It is much bigger than the original 1/8" dia. nut and will be easier to find if you drop it.

  10. Shown below are a couple of the improvised wing nuts on a pair of 1-inch bolts.

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