Today we got a new table in the house, and to prevent against all the wear and tear of my frequent board game playing, I decided to make this simple table top. It's felt covered with a little batting underneath for a soft play surface and is two pieces so it will be easy to store. Also, since it is separated, if I want to make a cover for the table leaf somewhere down the road it will be nice and easy.
So, let's get started!
Step 1: Don't Live in Phoenix
Seriously, it's freakin hot.
Step 2: Materials.
Two pieces of 1/4" 2' x 4' MDF panel
A big roll of low-loft (1/4") batting
About six yards of felt (assuming it is a yard wide)
About the felt- I'm a cheap-o, so I just bought plain ol' craft felt. Eventually this stuff will bead up and get kinda crappy. Now, for a bit more than twice the price of craft felt, you can get wool felt. Wool felt is gonna be less likely to pill and will last longer. Oh, and be sure to thank the old lady who cuts it for you, 5 bucks says she could make one of these better than any of us.
A sanding block
A straight edge
Now we're ready!
Step 3: Cut Some Shapes
Since my table is round, I've gotta make a round table cover. Circles take a little more care than squares.
Go out to the garage. By some unholy occurrence, it will be hotter in there than outside.
Ok, take your two boards and smush them next to each other. Measure halfway down the seam and make a little mark - that will be the center of the circle. Now take a nail and tape it upside down on your mark, now you've got a little pivot point to help draw the circle. Make a piece of string two feet long including a loop for the nail on one end and a loop for your pencil on the other. Slip one loop onto the nail, on one your pencil, and WHEEE! A perfect (enough) circle!
Clamp one of the boards down to a workbench and carefully cut out the semi-circle with the jigsaw. Then, clean up them gnarly edges with the sanding block. Rinse and repeat.
Step 4: Batt!
I did this with no prior knowledge of batting technique, so feel free to criti... err... give me pointers.
Inside to the A.C.! Throw down your first semi-circle on the counter and roll in the batting! Cut a semi-circle of batting giving yourself a generous border to work with. This stuff is surprisingly difficult and annoying to cut, so be patient.
Now back out to the beautiful Phoenix sun to sweat my butt off. Seriously.
To adhere the batting to the board, I used some spray glue. Spray yourself a good layer. Now lay out the batting as you would pastry on a pie, in sections. After laying out the batting, use the rolling pin to roll the fluff flat and get rid of any creases. Thankfully, spray glue doesn't set immediately, so you have a little pit of time to stretch and reposition the batting.
Flip over your piece once the glue has had a chance to dry a bit. Use the spray glue to lay down about an inch and a half borer around the perimeter of the semi-circle. Pull the batting tight around the edge and roll it onto the glue with the rolling pin to keep things under control.
Use your utility knife to clean things up.
Step 5: Felt It Up!
The felting process is strikingly similar to the batting process, so I won't go too in depth.
Go back inside and drink a half gallon of water to replace what you sweat while outside. Now sit and watch the Olympics for a bit.
Ok. Cut out a felt semi-circle and, again, give yourself a good border.
Now the felt adhering process is a little tricky, because you feel like you need another hand. I found that the easiest way was to glue down the straight portion of the border first, then work your way around the curve. Make sure you are pulling the felt nice and tight, so you don't have any wrinkles on your play surface. It is also important that the felt goes past the batting and is glued to the wood, or else it will all peel off. After it's all glued down, hit it with the rolling pin to make it all smooth and happy. Now, there are probably a lot of frillies around the edge. This time I hit them with the scissors so the whole back was flat. Almost done with half!
Step 6: Finish Up!
To make the back of the board less ugly, I decided to cover it with felt too. Just cut out a slightly smaller semi-circle and slap it on back with some glue. Use the same pie technique you used earlier and make sure to make it pretty, OR ELSE!
Now you're halfway there. Go sing some Bon Jovi.
Step 7: Now Do It... AGAIN!
Step 8: Play Some Games!
Now throw them down on the table and you've got a great surface for all your gaming needs. And when you're done playing, it hides away nice and easy under the couch or in the closet! If you like the table cover, but don't have any sweet games to play on it, check out BoardGameGeek to get some ideas.