Simple but powerful chemosensors were developed by taking advantage of self-assembly processes. First, we will describe a turn-on fluorescent sensor for the pharmacologically important lithium ion. The sensor can be used in purely aqueous solution, and it displays a very high selectivity for lithium over sodium and magnesium ions. It is based on a metallacrown receptor unit, which can be assembled in situ from simple building blocks. Furthermore, we will describe a cross-reactive sensor array for the detection of small peptides. The individual sensors of the array are formed by mixing metal complexes with fluorescent dyes.