Thursday, August 23, 2012

Homemade Ping Pong

J had just ONE birthday wish this year: to have a beer pong tournament and a BBQ with a few friends. Who am I do deny such a fun request??

We both always played beer pong on a real ping pong table with paddles (not the kind with the long skinny table where you throw the ball), so I investigated buying the real deal. I found a couple on sale, both around $130, but I just couldn't pull the trigger. The price wasn't the issue at all, it was more of what in the hell do you do with a ping pong table when you aren't using it? They are notoriously clunky to store, even when folded up they take up a huge footprint. They usually wind up getting tossed outside where they get rained on and warped and sun bleached and turn into a $40 trip to the dump. I don't know anyone who has purchased a ping pong table and not regretted it.

The Olympics made sure all the rentals were booked for the month, so, obviously, I had to get crafty.

I went to Home Depot and stood in the lumber isle for about 30 minutes, just thinking about how to approach it. I decided I would get a 4x8 sheet of... something.... have them cut it in half, hinge it back together, and plop it on top of a folding buffet table.

My main criteria was that I could carry it and load it into the car by myself, so I went with a sheet 1/4 inch Sandeply. Already sanded, light as a 15 pound feather and only $19? Done and done. I was really close to going with some peg board (Already painted white! Built in holes for spill drainage!), but I thought the holes might affect the ball bounce.

If I was going to go to the trouble of building a ping pong table out of wood, I had to paint it green, right? Of course. So I lined the sides with 3/4 inch painter's tape, and eyeballed a line of tape down the middle.

I picked Behr's Windy Pine as my Ping Pong green, and grabbed 2 sample tubs of it in a matte finish for about 3 bucks each.

I started out using a small fuzzy roller, which completely sucked. The coverage was terrible. I switched to this little foam roller I had hiding in the closest, and while it was shorter and took a little extra rolling, it worked like a dream!

I did two-ish coats. Just kept painting until most of the areas looked good and covered and I was out of paint.

I don't know why this process made the dog think he was in trouble, but it did. He hid under the kitchen table for most of it. It was sad/cute. Many treats were dolled out (I think that was his secret plan).

The wood did a great job taking the paint without a primer, and it dried in under an hour.

I used two small hinges and some 1/4 inch screws to connect the two wood halves back together again, and allow us to fold it in half for storage.

When I stood, back, I'm not gonna lie, I did a little dance. This shit looked good. It was around this time J let me know he figured out what I was up to. He had figured it out the night before when I told him I was at Home Depot. Damn!

We got to our friend's house for the BBQ and plopped the table top on the 3x6 buffet table I picked up. My 1/4 inch Sandeply that was oh so lightweight... was also much too lightweight to hold itself up on the corners. Gah! Our lovely hosts had a brilliant idea that involved tv trays and books. They totally saved the day.

It's not perfect, and the ball didn't bounce very high on my light and squishy wood, but we had a blast! Enough of a blast that I don't have any idea who won the tourney. :)

I'm not willing to give up on this homemade ping pong table. I love how flat it stores (it can slide under the bed!), and the underside being a buffet table is also useful. It was crazy easy to make, next year we'll definitely have to make a 2.0 version with heavier wood.