How to Make a Ping Pong Paddle

Illustrations by Andrew DeWitt

Things You'll Need

  • Sheet of grade-A birch plywood
  • Small 4 inch wide by 1 foot long board of cherry
  • Jigsaw
  • Sand paper in 100 grit, 300 grit, 500 grit, 1000 grit
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood Stain
  • Wood Finish (Matte)
  • Wood clamps

Ping Pong or Table Tennis is one of the only sports that is played by both Olympians and people on a 15 minute break in their office rec room. Creating your own paddle is an excellent way to show your originality and further invest yourself in the sport without too much expense.

Draw out the pattern of the paddle on the sheet of plywood. Draw out a square that is 5 by 5 inches and attach a rectangle to the middle bottom of this square that is 5 inches long and 2 inches wide. Draw the paddle shape with an oval inside the rectangle that is squatter at the bottom and slightly elongated at the top. Draw the handle with two curved lines on the right and left side of the panel. Draw a curved line at the bottom of the rectangle for the end of the handle.

Cut the paddle out of the plywood with a jigsaw. Sand the edges of the paddle slightly with a piece of 100 grit sand paper to remove any splinters.

Cut out the handles from the small board of cherry wood. Lay down the cut out paddle pattern and place this over the board. Trace around the handle. Move the handle to the side and trace it again. Add an upside down "V" shape for the top of the handle. Cut these pieces out with a jigsaw. Sand the edges with 100 grit sand paper.

Place a line of wood glue along the inside edge of each handle. Add a "zig-zag" line of glue running up and down the inside of the handle as well. Place the handles so that they sandwich the handle of the plywood paddle. Clamp these together with two wood clamps. Use a damp paper towel to wipe away any glue that squeezes out. Leave this in the clamps overnight to dry.

Wrap a thick rubber band around the handle of the paddle and begin sanding the paddle smooth and round so that it fits your hand. Start with 100 grit sand paper and move through the different grades until 1000 grit. Sand the paddle starting with 500 grit and then 1000 grit.

Stain the paddle with wood stain in the color of your choice. Brush it on with a rag or sponge. Let the stain dry overnight and apply a matte finish to the paddle.


  • You can also paint the paddle in bright colors if you wish.


  • Always wear safety goggles when working with wood. Watch your fingers when using the jigsaw.