How to Make Your Own Mini-Pool Table From a Little More Than Cardboard
Lack the cash to buy a real pool table? Then make your own mini one from cardboard.
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Playing pool is a great way to wind down. But getting a table in your own home to practice can be pretty pricey.
As it turns out, you can actually make one for yourself from little more than glue, cardboard, some wood, and marbles. Granted it is a mini-version, but we would argue it is as fun as a full-size pool table.
Follow this short guide to find out how.
As you can imagine, like any project of this nature, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.
Materials and gear needed
- Corrugated cardboard
- Blue felt
- Wood rods
- Thin rubber foam
- Hot glue gun
- Popsicle sticks
- PVA glue
With all your tools and materials in hand, it is now time to get on with this epic and awesome build.
Step 1: Design and create the main table
Before we start, note that this guide can be modified to make other versions of the pool, or, if you are up to the extra work, a mini-snooker table. But, we'll leave that completely up to you.
Anyway, on with the build...
The first step is to plan out the main table. In this case, you need to sketch out a rectangle 15 and 3/4 inches (40 cm) long by 7 and 7/8 inches (20 cm) wide.
With that done, mark out the pockets (4 per corner and 2 center ones), as well as, mark out the width of the side, head, and foot rails.
With that done, mark and cut out pieces to make the rails and cushion plates. You can make these out of stiff cardboard, or for more strength, make them from plastic cardboard.
Once the pieces are ready, glue the cushion plates into place on the main table using a hot glue gun. When placing the pieces, do your best to ensure they are as close to vertical as possible.
Don't forget to make and glue in the smaller angled cushion walls to either side of the pockets.
With that done, take the main rail pieces and glue these into place on top of the cushion walls.
However, before you seal all rails, make sure you fully close the space around the pockets. To do this, glue a small strip of paper into place. This will not only close the gap but also act as a kind of buffer to guide the ball into the pocket hole.
With all the pockets fully enclosed, you can now complete gluing all the main table rails into place.
Once the glue is fully cooled, sand down all the exposed surfaces of the rails and table. Pay particular attention to the seams where excess glue will likely have seeped out.
You can also take the time to round off the corners of all surfaces on the inside face of the table.
With that done, cut some strips of cardboard to the dimensions of the exposed edges of the table. Glue these into place using your hot glue gun.
Step 2: Add the felt
Next, take your PVA glue and cover the entire surface of the inside of the table (tabletop and cushion walls). Then cut down to size a piece of blue (or green, or whatever color you want) and place it over the top of the main table.
With that done, begin to fold the felt around the inside edge of the table. Progressively push the felt into the angled edges of the table, and periodically ensure the felt is flush with the tabletop (i.e. no creases or folds).
Use a sharp-angled piece of metal to help you with this process where necessary. For the pockets, you will need to cut the felt to fit around them. Leave some of the felt to cover the surface of the rail around the pockets as shown below.
With that done, paint (carefully) the balk line in white paint. Next, take your black rubber foam, and cut lengths of it to the dimensions of the outside edges of the rails behind the pockets.
Glue them into place using more PVA glue.
Fold the edges of the foam over the outside edge of the table.
Step 3: Complete the main table
With the previous steps complete, take some more small strips of regular paper. Glue around 2-3 layers of these around the inside walls of each pocket.
With that done, sketch out some "corner plates" from paper and glue these into positions around each corner pocket on the main rails. Do the same for the middle pockets.
Fold the paper over the edge of the table.
With that done, take some black paper, cut it into strips the same dimensions as each outer wall of the table, and glue them into place around the outside of the table.
Make sure it is slightly longer than the height of the table. Fold the excess over onto the underside of the table and glue it into place.
Step 4: Finish the main table
With the top of the table now complete, it is time to complete the rest of the cardboard pool table. Cut some more strips of cardboard to make a slightly smaller rectangle below the main table surface.
Glue them into place using your hot glue gun.
Next, cut some more strips of corrugated cardboard, strip off the side of the paper covering, and roll the pieces into cylinders. These will form the main legs of the table.
Glue them into position near each corner of the table inside the lower walls. Obviously, you'll need four in total.
With that done, it is now time to complete the pockets of our table. To do this, make some discs of the same colored cloth you used for the main playing area of the table.
Glue these around each pocket to make a pocket.
With that done, make some more thin strips of backless corrugated cardboard (so the ribs are exposed) and glue them around the underside walls of the table to make some decorative trim.
Step 5: Make the balls and cue(s)
At this point of the build, the pool table is effectively complete. Now, we need something to actually play with on the table. Let's start with the balls.
To make these, take some regular glass marbles. Take eleven marbles (or more if you want some spares) and paint 9 of the balls red.
Obviously, this would require more balls and a larger triangle.
Of the remaining two, paint one white to make the cue ball and one black to make the 8 ball. If you are fairly confident with a brush, you can even add some eyes to the cue ball using a small dot of black.
Next, you can make a small triangle by arranging the balls in a pyramid (as you would in a real game of pool), mark out the dimensions around them, and create a triangle from several pieces of thin wood.
Popsicle sticks will do the trick, for example. Alternatively, you could do the same using some more strips of corrugated cardboard.
The instructions to make the pool cue are now included in this tutorial, but you figure out your own method of creating one from things like an old pencil, skewer, or another piece of wood.
With that, your DIY cardboard pool table is now complete. You can now practice your mini-pool skills at your leisure.
If you enjoyed this build, you may like another, arguably far more challenging, cardboard-based DIY project. How about, for example, making your own working Nerf-style cardboard gun?
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