You might be new to the ping pong game and want to have a table of your own at the lowest possible price. Or you might be an advanced player wanting to challenge yourself. Either way, if you’re good with woodwork and you’ve got a pool table that stays pretty much idle, you could either make it a DIY pool table dining top or convert it to a ping pong table if you love the game!
The satisfaction that comes from finishing a DIY project is just priceless. You can admire your handy work and get the ultimate bragging rights among your friends and family for a job well done. With so many options available in the market, your DIY ping pong table can be overwhelming because of all the criteria you have to meet.
But what is better than a pool table? A pool table that you can turn into a tennis table when you want! This is a step by step guide that tells you how to make a mini ping pong table and what will you need for this process. If you follow each instruction to the dot, you will surely do a great job.
Full disclosure: This isn’t going to be your standard dimensions ping pong table. It would be a rather mini-sized table for recreational purposes. The dimension of a ping pong table is usually too big for a pool table. But this would be great fun on its own!
You will need the following tools to accomplish this job:
- Orbital Sander
Things Required for a diy Ping Pong Table
- One – 4×8 feet ¾ inch Plywood
- Stain – We used Minwax Dark Walnut and Weathered Oak
- Polyurethane – We used Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane
- Painters Tape
- Four– ¼ inch Wood Insert Lock Nuts
- Four – ¼ inch x ½ inch Coarse Thread Hex Bolts
- Two – 5 inches Corner Brace
- One – ¼ inches Machine Screw
- One- ¼ inch Hex Nut
- One Can of Black Spray Paint (if you wish)
- Ping Pong Table Net (We made our leather net)
- Grip Tape
How to Make a Ping Pong Table Top for a Pool Table
Step 1: Cut Your Playwood
Choose four-by-eight-foot plywood that is 0.75 inches thick and ask the local hardware store to cut it into two halves. Before loading them to your vehicle, measure your vehicle to be sure it would fit in alright. For most cars, four by four feet is going to be challenging to squeeze in or even impossible. Otherwise, it can feel awkward to pick everything up to your car and then to have to walk back to the shop only to hire a van. So it is best to measure your vehicle beforehand to avoid that walk of shame to the shop.
Step 2: Pre-Drill One Piece
Take one half of the plywood and pre-drill four holes to install the wood inserts. Right now, just do the pre-drilling. You will install the inserts later. Make sure to keep the holes slightly smaller than the size of the inserts.
To find out the placement for the holes, take one of the five inches corner braces. Put it on the plywood’s edge and using a pencil or pen, draw a mark for both the holes. Repeat the same for the other side. We kept the bend of the brace extended outside the plywood edge to make the net more extended.
Step 3: Sand
We did with our table to sand with eighty and one hundred and twenty, then quickly went over the whole surface with two hundred and twenty.
Step 4: Stain and Paint
Use stain for the table and spray paint for the hex bolts and the corner braces. For the top playing surface, our choice was a single stripe in the middle of the table, which is as simple as it gets. We stained the whole tabletop using Weathered Oak.
When the stain got dried, we put a tape in the center of the board. We took a straight one by two and attached it above the Tape. After that, on the other side of the Tape, we ran a razor blade. This is done so that the darker color stain does not bleed. In case some of the tapes get cut by the razor blade, get rid of the excess Tape before you stain.
Now start staining on both sides of the Tape. When the stain dries out, take the Tape out and check if the line is clean in the middle.
Step 5: Apply a top Coat
Read the instructions on your polyurethane can and apply it as instructed. We selected Triple Thick Polyurethane for a thicker, more top layer by applying only two coats. When our first coat of polyurethane dried thoroughly, we applied for sand number two hundred and twenty to keep it nice and smooth, and then we applied the second coat of polyurethane.
We suggest you do the same: apply a coat of polyurethane then sand once the coat dries and then apply the second coat of polyurethane. Use a good quality polyurethane so that you achieve that desired consistency within two coats. Otherwise, we suggest to sand the surface between each coat.
Step 6: Install wood Inserts
To install the wooden inserts, take a threaded machine screw, place a hex nut on it, and insert them into the wooden insert. Now position the hex nut flush with the wooden insert’s top and let the machine screw around halfway inside the wooden insert.
This way, screw all the wooden inserts into the holes that you pre-drilled earlier. Make sure the inserts are being screwed straight and not tilted.
Step7: Apply Grip Tape
Put grip tape on the downwards facing side of your tabletop. Keep in mind that this is the side that will touch the pool table. By applying grip tape, you will prevent potential scratches on your pool table that can happen when you place this ping pong top on the table. This way, the ping pong top will also stay in place. Be sure to put the grip tape along the edge of the plywood where it would sit on the pool table’s rails.
Step 8: Install
You have done most of the hard part. It is easier to assemble your DIY ping pong table than you think. You don’t need any tools. Just put your table tennis top on your pool table. Make sure your brackets are aligned with the wooden inserts and just screw the hex bolts in using your hands. Now put your net around your brackets.
Now you can enjoy a good ping pong game. Once you finish your game, take the net out, unscrew the hex bolts and take out the brackets. Put all of these in a box where you keep ping pong paddles and balls to keep them safe.
The best thing about this conversation top is that it is quick and easy to set up and dismantle. This way you can easily switch between the games of table tennis and pool whenever you want. However, you will need someone to help you through the process. Lifting a four feet long plywood is a difficult job for a single person.
If you are unsure what to do with the ping pong conversion top when you are not using it, we have a creative idea. On the back of your ping pong conversion top, make two paintings. Now you can make a shelf looking like a frame to keep them when you are not playing eight ball 9.
Read more: Best Pool Table Ping Pong Combo
It is a rewarding and creative experience to build your very own ping pong table that brings immense satisfaction to you. It can add a lot of fun and smiles to your weekends with friends and family and develop a healthy habit in your family. You can easily play billiard when you wish and table tennis when you feel like it with a quick switch. It is a great way to bond with your kids, as well.
Even if you don’t have the tools, you can find them at any local hardware shop. The wood is also readily available at all lumber yards. This means all the things required at a cheap cost.
While it is a great idea to convert your pool table into a ping pong table on your own, many times, people take on this job, considering it to be straightforward and don’t plan. This can sometimes result in a poorly done job after hours of tiresome work, which can be frustrating. Apart from that, the cost of a new ping pong table is not much higher than a DIY project. So, know your strengths and weaknesses before diving into something you might be unable to accomplish.
There are ping pong conversion tops available in the market that would be cheaper than getting a whole new table and can work well to switch up your pool table when you wish.
But of course, a DIY project can be a great fun if you’re into that stuff, and its sentimental value will be way more than the market bought stuff. It can be a great gift of love from you to your children.
So let’s go ahead and build your ping pong table. Shall we?
Mark is a Bloomberg BusinessWeek-based digital entrepreneur, blogger, and table tennis enthusiast. He is a former professional table tennis player with the career-best USATT ranking of 2689. He is also an ITTF Level 3 certified coach and conducts weekend coaching programs in and around the New York area. Mark is also a pool player by passion. He was first introduced to the game of pool at a very early age by his granddad. He had a natural knack for the game and quickly learned the ropes, and by the time he was 15, he was already participating in local leagues. He aims to make it into the APA league someday! Mark started his own blog by starting Indoor Games Zone, where he loves to share his years of experience with the audience. He covers ping pong, pool, air hockey, shuffleboard, and foosball.
- Ping pong
- Air Hockey