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While pool tables may be out of the affordability range for the average person, a DIY pool table might be the perfect solution. There are some other significant advantages to a DIY pool table.
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Affordability weighs heavy on everyone’s mind lately. But you can thwart the bad economy and create an excellent addition to your rec room, garage, basement, or even your living room.
Portability can be a huge deciding factor on whether you want to create a DIY pool table. If you have a small space, your creation will need to be small enough to set aside or hide when you need that space for other endeavors.
As with all “furnishings” you are going to want to make sure that a DIY pool table fits your space. Measure first. Most table designs allow for sizing adjustments. If they don’t, you can manually scale down the design measurements to fit your space.
If you are considering a DIY pool table, you are either crafty, frugal, or a combination of these traits. Whatever the reason, we’re glad you’re here.
DIY Pool Table and A Ton of Fun
You can find pool and billiard tables everywhere. They reside in arcades, bowling alley game rooms, and grandpa’s basement. Many taverns, casinos, and family centers offer the game as a favorite pastime. There are organized pool leagues and even tournaments with some high-dollar payouts.
But if you’re not a professional pool player, do you need an expensive pool table? The simple answer is no. You just need a flat surface with low walls to contain the balls on the playing surface. Something simple that will allow you to hone your skill, have some fun, and enjoy time with family and friends.
Enter the DIY pool table. Yes, you can make your own pool table. Depending on the design you select, the cost and level of skill needed will vary greatly. Creative people have built pool tables from cardboard using painted ping pong balls. Others have used inexpensive Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF), felt, and real rubber bumpers.
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Reasons for the popularity of DIY projects are many. The first is that they are usually a great value for the dollar. Secondly, they provide the satisfaction of a job well done when you complete them.Thirdly, they add features to your home that become focal points for your guests. And lastly, they are fun to complete and can be a family-participation project.Whatever design you select, you are sure to have tons of fun with your creation.
GATHERING YOUR BALLS AND PLANNING YOUR PROJECT
So, you’ve decided to build a DIY pool table. What next?
Research to find a good set of plans. You can do that online, in a book store, or the reference section of your local library. Most projects are adaptable enough to allow you to change the size to match your space. You might need a few mathing skills, but you can do this!
MEASURE YOUR SPACE!
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That is your most important task at this stage. You need room for your DIY pool table, and space around the table to position for shots and use your new table.We recommend leaving at least two feet between the table edge and all walls. That is a minimum. It will be very cramped, but if that is what you have to work with, it will do.
PORTABILITY VS. TOO DURN MASSIVE TO MOVE
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This is where your selection of plans will make a difference. If you have a tiny space, consider the lighter weight, more portable designs. These can usually be set on their side along a wall and out of the way.If you have a large space and can leave your table up all the time, you have more leeway on which plans you can select.Along with measuring, considering the portability of your DIY pool table is an integral part of this project. MDF is very heavy to be moving around a room every time you are expecting company.While a cardboard version isn’t an actual “regulation” pool table, it will still offer a fun gaming experience without the permanence of a heavier model.
MATERIAL GATHERING AND INGENUITY
Depending on the design you selected, you’ll need to gather materials, supplies, and tools to get started. Most design plans will come with lists specifying how much and what size wood, cardboard, or MDF you will need to complete the project. They should also have a list of the required tools.If you don’t have that fancy table saw or compound miter saw, don’t fret. You can usually rent these items at your local home improvement warehouse for a nominal fee. It is much cheaper than buying them for one project.A circular saw or even a saber saw (jigsaw) can usually accomplish the same task, so no worries.For big cuts, you can take a cutting design layout to the home improvement warehouse, purchase a full sheet of MDF, and have the store do most of the major cutting. The cutting may carry a small fee but is well worth it in time saved. And if they mess up a cut, it doesn’t cost you a separate trip to buy more wood.You have your materials, and you have your tools. That means you are READY!
MEASURING THE BITS AND PIECES
A quick note on measuring, because this is important.
Always measure twice — cut once.
That is a standard warning for any crafter doing any project. It is especially pertinent when constructing a DIY pool table. A bad cut can cost you time, money, and cause frustration.
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If you select the cardboard design, make a template so that all your bits and pieces are the same. The plans call for stacking and layering several pieces of corrugated cardboard to build up the walls. If the parts aren’t the same, it will be noticeable.
LET’S GET BUSY BUILDING
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We scoured the internet looking for great ideas. What we found were excellent plans designed by creative people with more creativity than money.
Hey… I resemble that remark!
CORRUGATED CARDBOARD AND PING PONG BALLS?
Our first design selection doesn’t have a lot of directions. We found the cool video by DIY Ocean during our research, and it looks easy enough to accomplish without specific, written instructions.
We’veF converted the centimeters to inches for you, but the actual measurements will be dependent on your table size.
The design starts with a basic table measuring approximately 32 inches wide and 67 inches long. So, you have the rough measurements. From there, a base of corrugated cardboard is laid down to cover the entire surface of the table.
Support brackets made from several pieces of cardboard glued together are positioned. They appear to be about one-half-inch thick, which would be about four or five pieces of cardboard glued together. Each support piece is about two and one-quarter inch tall. The length would be dependent on your overall table length.
Once the support pieces are in place, an MDF sheet with six holes is carefully positioned over the support braces. This is the playing surface.
To make the side rails (a.k.a. bumpers), they started with cardboard stock measuring approximately 3 1/4 inches by 33.5 inches. The length will vary depending on your table. These are notched to form the “pockets” for your DIY pool table. Each side rail uses six pieces of cardboard stacked and glued together.
Once you’ve got the side rails attached, you’re ready to paint and fashion your modified ping pong balls. You’ll have to watch the video for those excellent points.
DIY POOL TABLE THAT IS ALMOST REGULATION
This fantastic set of design plans (linked below) comes from the folks at HGTV. While they are more complex than the cardboard table above, it is a complete set of instructions, with a materials list and a tools list.
Constructed mostly with MDF, this is a more cumbersome, more permanent addition to your game room. The HGTV writers have laid out the entire building sequence, so we won’t repeat all of that for you. We will highlight the important parts, though.
While this DIY pool table will be around half the cost of buying a premade, regulation table, it will still cost you a pretty penny. But for the expense, you will have the satisfaction of having built it yourself. If you aren’t very handy with tools, invite a friend over to help you.
As we mentioned before, you can rent a lot of the tools required for this project at your home improvement store. Don’t fret about running out to buy a biscuit joiner, table saw, and compound miter saw. Call and find out the rental rates, then figure that cost into your overall project cost.
The plans call for specific types of wood, such as oak and mahogany. For the most part, these are for aesthetics rather than functionality. Remember the folks at HGTV aren’t buying their supplies.
While some substitutions on the type of wood you use are acceptable, remember to substitute hardwoods with hardwoods. The folks at the home improvement warehouse can help you with this. They have a lot of patience, and many are experienced woodworkers, carpenters, and builders.
If you are up for a challenge and want an almost regulation DIY pool table, visit the HGTV website and follow their detailed design plans.
GETTING YOUR GAME ON
So there you have it. If you can’t afford (or don’t have room for) a regulation pool table, you still have options. There are a lot more designs and fabulous creations out there.
A simple online search will have you swimming in ideas (ha — see what I did there? Swimming… oh, wait, not that kind of pool).
We hope you enjoyed our foray into DIY pool tables. Get creative and create your own. Even if all you have is an end table in the corner of your room, there are DIY pool table plans out there for you.
Some of the tabletop designs were as small as a sheet of notebook paper and used bamboo skewers for pool cues.
So get your game on! But take a few seconds to let us know what you thought about our article and what your plans are to make your DIY pool table.