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What Kind of Paint is Used for Ping Pong Tables?

Updated July 19, 2017

Ping-pong is another name for table tennis, a sport played around the world. The tables must meet specific regulations for competitions such as the Summer Olympics. One of the official rules states the paint on the tables must be dark with white side lines.

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Ping-pong tables are covered with a lacquer-based paint or alkyd paint that produces no glare. These paints are also resistant to scratches.


The alkyd paint is used for indoor ping-pong tables and chalkboards. Alkyd is a coating that is used because it is easy to wash without wear. UV lacquer paint is used for outdoor ping-pong tables to prevent sun damage and keep the colours bright. Different varieties of lacquers can also be durable and waterproof.


According to the USA Table Tennis Association (USATT) and International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), the table may be made of any material and must be, "uniformly dark and matt, but with a white side line." The rules also specify the table must be rectangular and 2.74 m by 1.525 m by 76 cm. Most tables are covered with blue paint. However, green and black paint are also acceptable.


Table tennis was a popular game in England during the late 1800s. In the early 1900s, it was introduced to Japan, China and Korea. The sport became an official Olympic event at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea. According to the Olympic Movement, table tennis is the largest participation sport in the world.

Fun Fact

Table tennis is called ping-pong because of the noise the ball makes when it's hit back and forth between opponents. Other names for the sport are gossima, whiff-whaff and flim-flam.

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About the Author

Stephanie T. Scott

Stephanie T. Scott is a middle school English teacher in Phoenix. She holds a B.A. in journalism from Grand Valley State University and an M.Ed. in educational media and technology from Eastern Michigan University. Scott is also working on her Ed.D. in organizational leadership at Grand Canyon University.

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