Introduction: 1 Sheet Plywood DIY Advanced Board Game Table

About: I like to build with my hands, I haven't figured out how to do it with my feet. I am not a professional anything I just enjoy designing, building, and finishing projects. Thanks for swinging by.

Recently we have been playing a lot of board game and table top roleplaying games. When I started researching these hobbies and how to customize game night to make it more immersive, I was shocked at the sticker price of a gaming table. They can go as high as $4500!

Welp I do not have that kind of cheese laying around so I decided to try my hand at building my own. But it had to fall in the parameters I set... for this Instructables contest (one Board).... Plus it had to pack up small for storage, have a removable fabric top, fit on an existing folding utility table, and have accessory trays and fancy stuff like the expensive ones have. Because that stuff is cool and I wanted it.


This project was limited to the following materials however tool usage will vary with what you have available.


1 8x4 Sheet Construction grade ply wood ($39)

(Home Depot has good quality plywood but the price changes and note it is NOT 3/4 inches thick)

4 Yards of common felt ($12)

-disclaimer this was way to much felt for this project but as you'll see later on, the table is designed to have the top replaceable for new felt if its ruined or gets old, also it was on sale for 50% off.

Box of drywall screws 1 1/4 inch ($5.99)

Wood Glue

Spray adhesive (Only for the bottoms of the accessory trays, I did NOT glue the table top felt down)

Box of Staples 3/8 inch (3.99)

Wipe on Polyurethane (Optional)

2 Toggle Clamps (4.35)

-This was an afterthought to help lock the two halves of the table together.


( Your tools will vary)

Circular saw

Jig Saw (May be all you need)

Staple Gun

Long ruler/Straight Edge



Disc Sander (120,180,220 grit)

Tape Measurer



Rotary Cutting Tool (this tool was invaluable for this project, made felt cutting so easy)

I believe this project can be done with ONLY a Jigsaw. The other tools used are a luxury if you have them

Step 1: Design


I had planned this table in my head many times but when putting it down on paper I just couldn't figure out some of the features of the a replaceable fabric top (if it were to get damaged or I didn't like the feel) It Also needs to break into two halves and has to fit onto an existing foldable table we owned.

A few snags I was running into was... over engineering and not being able to use a single sheet of plywood with my original over engineered designs. This single sheet of ply parameter really helped me streamline the design and it ended up working out better.

In the designs you'll see some of the failed ideas but in the end I believe I got the most efficient use of the materials as well as a strong stable design that allows me to remove the fabric if needed. I will explain the "edging" in detail in another step but it is what makes this table ridged, compact in design, and allows the fabric to be removed and replaced at a later date if needed.

Step 2: Measurments

This step, much like tools, will vary for your project but the goals was to use the design on top of a folding table we already had as well as seat 4 (spoiler alert we can seat 6!) So I started measuring and breaking down the ply being very careful to save off cuts to build the "edging", cleats, and even some accessory trays. The cut order was important to ensure I had offcuts long enough to create the edging but also some wide enough to build the trays.

In the diagram you can see roughly how much ply I actually have remaining from off cuts to create edging, cleats, and some accessory trays. All the area in blue stripes was cut offs to be used going forward.

Step 3: Cutting and Cleats

The measurements will vary from design to design but there is a little "order of operations" that should be followed to maximize the cut list.

I started by cutting the sheet of ply long ways to its final width (the width of the felt covered ply will have the edging width added to it to finish it all out so factor that into your width measurement)

My edging was going to be two pieces of plywood off cut strips sandwiched together and glued, with the top strip (the one flush with the felt top and rounded over) being 1 1/2 inches in width. So if I wanted final table dimensions of 28 x 60 inches I would need to cut my sheet down to 25 x 57 inches because the edging will get added after the felt is wrapped and add 1 1/2 inches to each side.!

The cleats are sized to fit around the parameter of the folding table my top will be placed on. They are small thin sad little strips because that's all I had left over from the offcuts but I think that helps keep the weight down so it worked out in the end. I did not get a photo of this step but I flipped the finalized ply wood top upside down and flipped the folding table on that and centered it. Once I have it centered I marked where the cleats would god to fit snuggling around the plastic table they were then glued and screwed into place, careful to use screw short enough to not go through the face. It worked well and has a very tight friction fit.

Step 4: Edging, Ties It All Together

In these photos you can see me sizing the cleats with the off cuts. The only measurement that was locked in for this step for the 1 1/2 inch top stripe of the sandwiched double ply. All other measurements were fitted with what I had remaining and how wide that needed to be cut down too. The second picture looks like its just a smaller sheet of ply but if you look closely you'll see the edging has been added and the double think sandwiched edges add a lot of rigidity to the whole piece.

This photos are before felt was ever added and I was "dry" fitting the parts before screws.

Step 5: Wrapping

After removing the edging I wrapped felt over the top of the center ply pieces. I went around each end and stapled them into the plywood. They are not glued on so in the future I can remove the felt and replace it.

PRO TIP: it is easier to wrap a large piece of felt then use that sweet sweet rotary cutting tool to trim it down.

Step 6: Sanding and Finishing

I didn't take pictures of the sanding process (You are welcome!) I just sanded up to 220grit by hand and orbital sander till it was smooth and applied a simple wipe on poly finish for protection. Lots of folks do a better job explaining sanding and finish. The only project specific "finish" I added were two toggle clamps to the underside to lock the two halves of the table together.

Step 7: Left Over for Accessory Trays

The table size, for my needs, we designed to leave behind a large chuck at the end of the full 4 foot by 8 foot sheet. This "offcut" was what I was going to use to get as many accessories trays as I could and while my final photos show us using 6 trays I was only able to get 4 from the offcut. Once I realized we could fit more people I then added to my sweet sweet gaming set up with 2 more trays!

The trays I was very excited about as they could be real creative and table is well... just flat. The trays needed a few features I had to have. They needed to have space for writing, slots for cards, symmetrical so left handed or right handed players could use them, and they needed to take up the least amount of table top space possible... SO I NEDED THEM TO SLIDE ONTO THE EDGING!

Step 8: Accessory Tray Design

I was very limited with the supplies I had left so I had to measure... and remeasure... and remeasure to maximize the number of trays I could get. They ended up smaller than I wanted but we got 4 out of the 4 by 8 ply sheet and they were pretty minimalistic. I did make a scrape wood template to keep everything consistent for the jigsaw.

Step 9: Cutting

Like the previous table top design the measures are up to you.

DISCLAMIER: The way in which the tray attach to the table uses a friction fit that MUST be the thickness of two sheets of plywood you built your table out of, the plywood I used (construction grade) was not exactly 3/4 of an inch so I based all my measurements by stacking two off cuts and measuring them for exact thickness. If this measurement is not correct the trays will not fit snuggly and may be useless.

The tray length, width, and radius can all be decided by you but the thickness of the opening must be measured and double checked while constructing your trays to ensure a tight fit.

Step 10: Finishing

Yeah sanding and wipe on poly, again no sanding montage... you are welcome. This step is not great fun but it is important to leave a nice finish and feel for your players, no one wants splinters while they campaign through the monster infested catacombs of the forbidden temple! Ouch

Step 11: Fitting

After the table was done I fit it on top of the folding table. The cleats lined everything up perfectly and once I added the small toggle clamps underneath it was very solid.

There was a little wobble to the table with the extra weight on it but after measuring and notching a long off cut that temporarily slides into place during game night, then most of the wobble is gone.

Step 12: Final Review

So that is it. A few new design ideas, some bumps in the road you can avoid, and a starting point to build your own. I haven't seen a design like this online so I hope it will give folks out there more options when they want to build their own. If you do build one please post a picture I really like seeing peoples ideas and craftsmanship.

I am pleased with how the project turned out. We will get many hours of play out of this table design and it did not break the bank, I'm quite cheap. I will be adding some more accessories like cup and snack holders to free up the play surface and a Dungeon Master station. Please leave comments or ask any questions you may have. This project is built for the "One Board" contest and it was a lot of fun!

One Board Contest

Participated in the
One Board Contest