A round of beer pong on games night wouldn’t be complete without a customized painted beer pong table. Building a table from plywood is an easy, affordable, and highly rewarding DIY project you can do over a few weekends. Choosing the right paint for your beer pong table is one of the most important parts of the project.
The best paint for plywood depends on whether your table will be kept indoors or outdoors. It also depends on the type of finish you want for the surface. A high-gloss finish is often best for beer pong tables, as it lasts longer, makes colors shine, and creates an easy-to-clean, waterproof surface.
Keep reading to learn how to paint a beer pong table made from plywood and what paint you should use.
How to Paint a Beer Pong Table
Creating your own painted beer pong table is a fun project you can do on a weekend. When done properly, a painted plywood table can last between 3-5 years. Tables kept outdoors may need to be repainted more frequently than indoor tables.
What You’ll Need:
- Tape (thin or thick, depending on the pattern you want to create)
- Spray paint or acrylic paint or enamel paint (depending on your preference)
- Paintbrush or small, lint-free roller
- Fine grit sandpaper
- Tape measure
- Clean, lint-free cloth x2
- High-quality wood primer
- Letter/number/shape stencils (optional)
- Choose a Design
First, plan the design for your beer pong table. Most beer pong tables are painted black or blue, with lines separating where each cup should go.
More exotic painted beer pong tables have circular lines marking where each cup goes. They also have prompts stating what you need to do if you get the ball in one of those cups. For example, it could say how many drinks you/your opponent needs to take if it lands in that cup, or state how many points it is worth.
Plan your design on a draft of paper first to ensure you’re happy with it and everything fits.
- Sand the Table
One of the most important things to do before painting your plywood table is to sand it down first. This ensures the paint sticks to the surface properly. Use fine-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the table or an electric sander on a low-speed setting.
- Clean Any Dust
Once sanded, you’ll need to clean the table to ensure no dust remains. Sweep or hoover the surrounding dust and then use a clean, dampened cloth to wipe the table clean. Dry completely with a lint-free cloth.
- Apply Primer
Primer is optional, but it’s a good idea when painting plywood, especially when it’ll be used as a beer pong table. A high-quality primer will seal the surface of the wood, making it easier for the colored paint to bond on top.
Priming wood before painting should mean you won’t need to apply as many coats to your table, as the paint won’t soak into the wood as much when a primer is protecting the surface. It’ll also make the surface appear smoother and shinier, with a less noticeable grain.
Apply the primer evenly in long, smooth strokes using a paintbrush. Try to avoid leaving any drips, puddles, or streaks, as these will be noticeable on the surface after painting. Once dry, lightly sand the table again with fine-grit sandpaper and wipe away dust with a damp lint-free cloth.
- Mark Your Designs With Tape
Using tape (thin painter’s tape works best), mark the pattern you want to achieve on your table. For example, if you want lines surrounding the table or circles demonstrating where each cup will go.
The easiest way to do this is to measure the table using a tape measure and plan on a sheet of paper how much space you need to leave between each line or circle. Once painted, you can remove the tape to reveal the lines and patterns underneath.
If you want to include shapes or numbers on your customized beer pong table (to represent cup positioning or the number of sips/drinks/points), apply sticky number/letter/shape stencils to the table now. If you prefer, you can draw the lines/shapes/numbers freehand after painting using a thin paintbrush or paint pen.
- Paint the Table
Using your paint of choice, paint the table thinly and evenly using a paintbrush. Paint over the tape or paint as close to the edges as possible to ensure you don’t miss any sections.
Second coats aren’t always required when you’ve used a primer or high-quality paint. However, if the color is not as bright as you’d like it, or if the wood surface is still visible, apply a second coat.
Before applying a second coat, wait until the paint is completely dry. Wood paint usually takes between 2-4 hours to dry, but ensure you read the recommended guidelines on your product before proceeding.
Once dry, lightly sand the table (being careful when sanding around the edges of the tape) and clean fully before painting again.
- Remove the Tape and/or Stencils
Once the table has fully dried, peel away the tape and/or stencils to reveal the pattern. Do not remove the stencils if the paint is still wet, as this can cause smudges.
Take care when removing the stencils to avoid the surrounding paint from peeling, as this will destroy the pattern. Peeling will usually only occur if you’ve applied too much paint around the edges of the stencil, or if you didn’t use painter’s tape.
If the paint starts to peel as you’re removing the stencil, trace a Stanley knife lightly around the edges to separate the stencil from the paint.
- Seal the Table
Sealing the table is optional, but it’s a good idea to ensure your painted beer pong table is waterproof and protected from damage. Because beer pong is a party game, spills can happen, and the table is prone to chipping when balls are thrown and cups are knocked over.
Applying a sealant will make the patterns more durable and offer a glossy finish. If you intend to use your DIY beer pong table outdoors, sealing is essential to protect it from bad weather.
To seal the wooden table, use a polyurethane sealer and apply it evenly over the table with a paintbrush. Sealants can be applied in one or two coats and should take around 2 days to dry fully.
Follow the recommended guidelines on your product to ensure you’re applying the right number of coats and are giving it enough time to dry.
What Kind of Paint Do You Use to Paint a Beer Pong Table?
Generally, it’s best to use enamel paint for a DIY beer pong table. These paints are durable, scratch-resistant, and moisture-resistant. However, the best paint to use for a customized painted beer pong table depends on whether you want to keep your table indoors or outdoors. If you want to paint an outdoor table, you should use lacquer-based enamel paint. If you want to use your pong table indoors, high-gloss enamel paint is best.
Here’s a quick summary of the best paint to use for a painted beer pong table:
|Paint Type||What It’s Best For|
|Enamel||Best for surfaces that are heavily used, prone to scratches, require frequent cleaning, or encounter water often|
|Latex||Is fast-drying, easy to clean, and doesn’t peel or crack easily|
|High-Gloss||Is highly durable, water-resistant, scratch-resistant, and can brighten colored paint by giving it a shine|
|Acrylic||Is non-toxic, which is ideal if the table encounters food and drink, but won’t last long and may need routine touching up|
Conclusion: Things to Remember
Remember, when creating your painted beer pong table, the most important things to remember are:
- Choose paint suitable to the environment e.g., indoor or outdoor paint
- Consider using non-toxic paint if your table will encounter food
- Map your stenciled design on paper before painting to ensure you’re happy with the layout
- Ask your friend’s opinion on the design to ensure it’s fun enough!
- Apply a primer to reduce the number of coats you have to apply
- Seal the table with polyurethane after painting to protect the table from wear