How to Build a Cheap Pool Table

Updated July 20, 2017

Building a high-end pool table can take months and cost more than £975 for supplies alone. A cheap pool table can be constructed from an old dining table and a few accessories to give the finished product a real pool table feel. After you assemble your cheap pool table, it will probably not be perfectly level, but nearly level is attainable with shims or felt discs applied to the bottom of one or more dining table legs. The pool table will be slightly shorter in length and less wide than a regulation table, and you'll have to do without the slate, but that will not hamper the fun.

Cut the batting for the side walls. Batting will be wrapped around each 2-by-4 board and stapled to the 4-inch side of the board. Cut each piece of batting with just enough room to wrap around the board before stapling it in place. Repeat for all boards.

Attach the fabric. After the batting is stapled in place, repeat the process with fabric. Traditional cotton can be used, but many people choose faux leather or plastic fabric for easier clean-up if something is spilt on the pool table side walls.

Drill pocket holes. Place all four side walls on the pool table, but do not attach to the table. Place the Forstner bit near one corner snug against the side walls. Mark the placement with a pencil. Remove the side walls and measure distance from table corner. Using this measurement, mark the remaining three pockets and drill with the 4-inch Forstner bit. Standard pool table pockets are about 3.5 inches.

Staple the felt in place. With the aid of two helpers, stretch the first piece of felt over the dining table. Helpers should be facing each other, pulling in opposite directions. Wrap the felt under the table and staple in place. Repeat until the first piece of felt is stretched and attached around the entire perimeter.

Add a second layer of felt. A dining room table is not made for pool balls, so adding a second layer of felt will help prevent damage from bouncing pool balls. Stretch the felt over the first layer using the same method described in Step 3 and staple in place.

Cut pocket holes. Using a razor blade, cut an "X" in the middle of each pocket. Fold the felt under the table and staple in place. Repeat for all four pockets.

Attach netting under pocket. Netting needs to be stapled under each pocket to catch the pool ball. Glue can also be used to secure netting or as a second layer of security.

Measure for drill holes. Sitting under the edge of the table, measure one to two inches in from the outside edge and make a mark. The depth of the mark from the table's edge will vary based on the width of the dining table lip. Repeat several times along the length and width of the table. Using a straight edge, connect the marks with lines along all four sides of the table.

Mark drill spots. After the lines are drawn, pull the measuring tape along the 72-inch sides of the table from corner to corner. Make marks on the lines drawn in Step 1. Marks should be placed at 9 inches, 18 inches, 36 inches, 45 inches, 54 inches and 63 inches. On the 42-inch sides, marks will be placed at 7 inches, 14 inches, 21 inches, 28 inches and 35 inches. Again, all marks are being made on the underside of the table.

Attach the fabric-covered 2-by-4 boards, using wood screws. Helpers can now hold the boards in place on the edge of the felted table top. The outside edge of the 2-by-4 board should be flush with the edge of the dining room table. Using the pre-marked drill points, drill holes up through the table and into the 72-inch 2-by-4 boards. The 72-inch covered boards need to be secured before the 34-inch boards can be screwed in place.

Things You'll Need

  • Dining room table measuring 42 inches wide and 72 inches long
  • Two 2-by-4 boards cut to 34 inches in length
  • Two 2-by-4 boards cut to 72 inches in length
  • Cotton batting to cover boards
  • Fabric to cover boards and batting
  • Staple gun
  • 4-inch Forstner or sawtooth drill bit
  • Drill
  • Netting for pockets
  • Two pieces of felt measuring 66 inches wide by 96 inches long
  • Two-inch wood screws and matching drill bit
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
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About the Author

Richard Banks started freelance writing full-time in 2010. Specializing in business, parenting, fitness and weight loss, Banks currently writes for He studied music education and elementary education at Glenville State College and business management at Shepherd University.