This easy ping pong table top is great for pool tables!
What’s better than having a pool table? Having a pool table that converts into a ping pong table! For less than $100, we’re going to show you have to do just that by DIYing a ping pong table top.
But before we begin, I need to be honest. Look, this ping pong table topper isn’t up to regulation ping pong standards. It’s only 4 feet wide instead of the standard 5′, but it’ll save you about $50. If you really need that extra foot, grab an extra piece of plywood to make this table.
Alright, let’s start DIYing!
The ONLY tools you need to DIY
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- Orbital Sander
What You’ll Need
- 1 – 4×8′ 3/4″ Plywood
- Stain – We used Minwax Weathered Oak and Dark Walnut
- Polyurethane – We used Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane
- Painters Tape
- 4 – 1/4″ Wood Insert Lock Nuts
- 4 – 1/4″ x 1/2″ Coarse Thread Hex Bolts
- 2 – 5″ Corner Brace
- 1- 1/4″ Machine Screw
- 1- 1/4″ Hex Nut
- 1 Can of Black Spray Paint (if desired)
- Ping Pong Table Net (We made our own leather net)
- Grip Tape
How to Make a Ping Pong Table Top for a Pool Table
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Step 1: Cut your plywood
Select your plywood and have your local home improvement store cut it in half. Before you pick it up, make sure to measure your car. 4’x4′ is going to be a tight (or impossible) squeeze for most. Trust us, it’s awkward to have to walk back into the store, head hung low in defeat and have to return everything or rent a van. Do yourself a favor and measure your car first to avoid the home improvement walk of shame.
Step 2: Pre-drill one piece
On one of the two plywood pieces, we’re going to pre-drill to install wood inserts. We’re just pre-drilling here. We’ll get to installing later. All you have to do here is drill a hole that is slightly smaller than your insert for each of the four inserts.
To figure out the placement, grab one of your 5″ corner braces. Place it on the edge of the plywood and mark both of the holes. We extended the bend of our brace past the edge of the plywood so that the net would extend further.
step 3: sand
We sanded with 80, 120, and then quickly went over the whole table with 220.
Step 4: stain and paint
Stain your table and spray paint your corner braces and hex bolts. For the table top, we went with a simple design of a single stripe down the middle. We started by staining the entire top with Weathered Oak.
Once that was dry, we added a piece of tape down the center of the board. We grabbed a straight 1×2 and clamped it on top of the tape. Then we ran a razor blade on either side to score next to the tape. This will help prevent bleeding of the darker stain color. If your razor blade cut some of your tape, make sure to remove the excess before staining.
Then stain on either side of the tape. Once the stain is dry, remove the tape and reveal your (hopefully) clean line down the middle
Step 5:Apply a top coat
Apply your polyurethane according to instructions on the can. We chose the Triple Thick Polyurethane because we could get a nice thick layer in just two coats. Once the first coat was fully dry, we sanded the plywood with 220 to make sure it was nice and smooth before applying the second coat.
Step 6: Install wood inserts
Place a hex nut on the end of the threaded machine screw and insert them into your wood insert. You want to adjust the hex nut so that it is flush with the top of the wood insert and allows the machine screw to be approximately halfway into the wood insert.
Using this setup, you can screw the wood insert into your pre-drilled holes. Be cautious to screw the insert in straight.
If you’re more of a visual learner, this YouTube video shows the process well. He starts showing the process at around 2 minutes.
Step 7: Apply grip tape
Add grip tape to the opposite side of your ping pong table top (the side that will be touching the pool table). This will help prevent scratching your pool table and ensure that the ping pong topper stay in place. Place the grip tape near the edge, where the plywood will be sitting on the pool table rails.
Step 8: Install
Assembling your table for play is easier than you think. No tools required. Place your ping pong table top on the pool table. Line your brackets up with the wood inserts and screw in the hex bolts by hand. Then place your net around the brackets. (You can find out leather net tutorial here)
The best part about this whole set-up? It just takes a few minutes to install and disassemble, so you can switch between pool and ping pong without too much trouble. You’re going to want a partner though. It’s pretty difficult to lift a 4′ piece of plywood by yourself when your wingspan is only 4’5″.
If you’re confused on what the heck you’re going to do with your ping pong table when it’s not in use, here’s an idea for you: paint the back of your ping pong table with two pieces of artwork. Then you can build a shelf that looks like a frame to store them while you’re avoiding the eight ball.