DIY Ping Pong Table

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About: I teach Grade 8 and DIY as often as I can. Trying to empower others to find their creative side and build/create with whatever they can!

Looking for a fun, social, easy to play game? Look no further than this DIY Ping Pong Table. It can be built for under $200; It only takes a few hours to build; and it will be the envy of the neighbourhood. Add it to your outdoor space/garage/indoor space and help make your house the one people want to visit for a good time! Who needs a $50,000 pool?!?!

Step 1: Head to the Local Hardware Store

My store of preference is Lowe's, but all materials in this build can be found at any Big Box Store. Here is my shopping list.

**Note, I had hardware at home already and didn't need to purchase, but have included what I used in pictures**

Lumber:

Hardware:

  • 2 1/2" #8 Brown Screws
  • 1 1/2" #8 Brown Screws
  • LedgerLOK 3 5/8" Screws (not needed...can be replaced with 2 1/2" screws)
  • 2" Galvanized Paslode Nails
  • 3 1/4" 30 degree paper strip framing nails (not needed..can be replaced with 2 1/2" screws)
  • Titebond III Wood Glue (exterior grade)

Tools:

  • Miter Saw (You can get lumber cut at the store if you don't have this)
  • Impact Driver/Drill
  • Framing Nail Gun
  • 16 ga Nail Gun
  • Speed Square
  • Tape Measure
  • Clamps
  • Centipede 4x8 Table
  • Table Saw

Step 2: Cut List

Cut ALL Materials and organize! I would recommend writing what each item is for on the cut ends (e.g., BB for Bottom Base).

Cut List

  • 4x4x10:
    • 4 pieces @ 27”
  • 2x4x8
    • 5@ 84”
    • 2@ 39”
    • 2@ 29”
    • 2@ 81”
    • 4@ 14"
  • 2x3x8
    • 2@ 48”
    • 2@ 93”
    • 6/7@ 45”
  • 23/32 4x8 plywood
    • 4@ 8” x 96"
      • 2 of these @ 8" x approx. 49 1/2")
    • 1@ 6” x 96"

Step 3: Build Base (top)

Now that you have all your cuts made, it is just a matter of assembly. I began with building the base first. The base can be broken down into two parts: the top and the bottom. The top of the base is where the table top structure will be resting. The bottom of the base will be visible to players and acts as a support 6" off the ground.

  1. Place 4 posts (4x4x27) on your table and lay 5 rails (2x4x84) and 2 ends (2x4x39) in place...see pictures
  2. Attach the outside rails to posts with a couple screws ensuring that the bottom of the posts and the rails are flush
  3. Attach the inside rails to the posts (sandwiching the posts) with screws
  4. Attach ends to outside and inside rails and to the posts
  5. Attach last middle rail to both ends

Step 4: Build Base (bottom)

Once the base top is all attached, it is time to build the bottom. This is the exposed 2x4s when the table is complete. Take the time to choose the "nice" side of the 2x4s and face them out as they will be seen.

  1. While the base is still laying upside down, begin by marking the inside of each post at 6" from the bottom and clamping a 14" 2x4 to the inside. The mark represents the bottom of the 2x4 with respect to the ground.
  2. Lay (resting on the 2x4x14") the 2x4x81 along the inside of the posts lengthwise and the 2x4x29 on the inside of each post at the ends...make sure the two end 2x4x29s are "flush" with the outside of each post.
  3. Attach the end 2x4s to the longer 2x4s
  4. Attach the long 2x4s to the posts. I used the LedgerLOK screws as it adds a bit more support and I had them laying around so why not!
  5. Once the table base is complete, turn it over and set it aside....it's time to move on to the top!

Step 5: Build the Table Top Support

Now that your work bench is again clear, it is time to build the table top support. This is the bottom of the table top and will sit on top of your newly constructed base. You will notice it is built out of non-PT lumber (not meant to withstand the elements or be left outdoors). I will advise that if it is going to be left outside and affixed to the base, then it will need to be treated to be able to withstand water penetration. I decided not to use PT lumber as the table top will be stored in a garage/shed while not in use or in bad weather. This part of the construction will use the 2x3 lumber you cut earlier. Furthermore, you will notice that the top supports sit perpendicular to the base rails to ensure the most sturdy construction.

  1. Lay the outside rail 2x3x93 and end 2x3x48 on the flat working surface to create an exact 48x96 (outside to outside) rectangle.
  2. Attach the ends to the outside rails with nails/screws..I used nails.
  3. Mark out the inside of the outside rails either 12" on centre or 16" OC (how many 2x3x45 you use will depend on this) to make for easier assembly and to ensure the 2x3x45s are all spaced evenly. Another strategy used by a lot of framers is to cut a spacer and use it to evenly space each middle rail. Watch this link on framing a wall if you need a visual or have never completed this before (Framing Video) OR visit this site 16 OC Tutorial.
  4. Attach all the 2x3x45s based off your spacing and markings. Ensure that the tops of the middle rails and the outside rails are flush as the table top MUST be perfectly level.
  5. Once all the rails are attached, lift the table top support onto the base.

Step 6: Attach the Table Top

This step is very simple, but arguably the most important...you cannot get away with any error in measurement as each step from now on will be seen and played on.

  1. Add a bead of glue to the top of each rail on the table top support.
  2. With another person, carefully lift the full 4x8 sheet of plywood onto the support. Ensure each corner and edge is perfectly flush. Once you GUARANTEE that everything is flush, put a screw in each corner (1 1/2" screw and make sure you pre-drill and leave the screw top flush with top of plywood). Weigh the top down with heavy items such as boxes of screws/nails, paint cans, weights, etc but be sure not to damage the table top.
  3. Further attach the table top to the table top support with the 2" nails. I attached nails all around the outside (nailing into the 2x3x93 and 2x3x48) and then one nail in the middle of each 2x3x45.

Step 7: Attach Outside Fascia to Table Top

Grab your plywood "rips" and an extra set of hands for this step. You will need to be very precise as this is the "glory" of the build. It is what everyone will notice and comment on when they see your craftsmanship (or craftswomanship).

  1. Start by attaching the two outside boards (8" x 96") with nails to the 2x3 top support, ensuring that the ends are flush and the top is flush with the table top that you just glued down.
  2. Next take a second to work by the old adage "measure twice, cut once" and measure the ends from the outside to the outside of the recently attached boards. My measurement was 49 1/2", but ended up being 49 7/16". Cut the boards if necessary and attach them just like the sides in step 1.
  3. Very carefully add nails to the outside of the ends nailing directly into the plywood sides you attached in step 1. This will help to ensure all the fascia boards are flush with each other.

Step 8: Cut Grooves for Net Supports

I completed this step on my table saw, and it is by far the hardest part of the build. I highly recommend that if you do not have proper table saw experience that you get help for this step or have it done by someone who does. So many things can go wrong and at the end of the day, your fingers and safety are more important than a ping pong table net support.

The grooves I cut are 3/4" in width and 1/2" deep into the 2x4x14". I set my table saw fence to 1 3/8", cut a groove, moved my fence an 1/8th of an inch larger, and cut again. I repeated these steps until the fence was at 2 1/8".

Watch this video for a visual: Cutting Grooves on Table Saw

Step 9: Attach Net Supports

Once my grooves were all cut in my 2x4x14s (two of them obviously), I attached them centred on the table top making sure that the bottom was flush with the bottom of the fascia. This ensured that their was 6" above the table top for the net.

To centre the net supports, I did a little math. Each 2x4 is 3 1/2" thick, therefore the centre of the groove should be 1 3/4" from the edge. I measured from the outside of one side of the table towards the middle of the table and made a mark at 47". This mark represents the outside edge of the net support, and thus puts the centre of the table at 48 3/4" from the outside of the table end (96" + 1 1/2" = 97 1/2" divided by 2 = 48 3/4").

Step 10: Size and Insert Net and Play!

Grab the last piece of the puzzle and put a smile on your face....the end is literally in sight.

  1. Measure the distance from one groove to the other, where the net is going to sit.
  2. Subtract 1/8" and cut the 6" plywood to that length.
  3. Drop the net into the grooves. There should be a little "play" so that the net can slide in and out easily. Remember that over time the net will "wear" and sliding it in and out will become smoother and easier. The first time might be a little snug.
  4. Grab a friend, or in my case, my nephews, a couple paddles and ping pong balls, and enjoy a game! I would recommend buying the balls and paddles ahead of time so that when you finish your build you can have the satisfaction of playing and watching others play on something you just built from scratch!

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    16 Discussions

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    thegrendel

    7 weeks ago

    Suggestions:

    1) Plywood, rather than composition board, for the table surface. It gives the ball a truer bounce.

    2) A regular ping-pong net, rather than a wooden divider.

    Otherwise, a great project. Thanks for sharing it.

    1 reply
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    DIY Academythegrendel

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    1) I did use plywood...in the material list, I have a link to exactly what I used.

    2) we debated over the regular net vs wood net and felt the wood net went with the vibe of the project (all wood). It was also based off the fact that we had the material on hand to build the net out of wood whereas a real net would add extra cost. Would love to see one with a real net...

    Thanks for the suggestions

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    attosa

    7 weeks ago

    I miss my table tennis setup so much. This made me happy. Well done!

    1 reply
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    Tura Street

    7 weeks ago

    This looks cool. I love ping pong, so this may end up in my backyard. Thanks so much for sharing.

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    JayP198

    7 weeks ago

    How is the ball bounce? I've so far refrained from building a ping pong table because I didn't know if it would mimic a ball bounce on a real ping pong table.

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    DIY AcademyJayP198

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    we actually took a ball to the store and bounced it off the plywood...ball bounce is great on this build!

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    charles543

    7 weeks ago

    A ping pong table is 5' X 9', not 4' X 8'. That makes it complicated building one, because plywood normally comes in 4' X 8' in this country. 5' X 9' has to be special ordered, and I have heard it is quite expensive. It could maybe be pieced out of 4' X 8' sheets with the joints 1' from the net. It is not too often the ball would land there. It would take 3 sheets of plywood to do it.

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    DIY Academycharles543

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    I used a 4x8 sheet for the ease of the build. Yes, a true ping pong table is 5x9, but it is easier to just slap a 4x8 sheet down and call it a day. If you wanted a 5x9, I would do 1 of 2 things:

    1) put two "ripped" strips of the same plywood on both sides of the 4x8 sheet (6" each)

    2) take 2 full sheets and rip them at 2 1/2ft. That way the 'seam' is in the middle, where you will probably paint the proper line for the game