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How to Make a Mahjong Table

Closeup of four people playing mahjong.

Mahjong is the ancient Chinese tile game that has been around for centuries. It is simple to learn, but takes a lifetime to master, like many other games similar to it. The game revolves around small tiles with Chinese characters on them, and a table on which the tiles are arranged and played. Just as important as the tiles is the table. Because gameplay involves sliding around the small tiles, a felt top is preferable. You can make a mahjong table with a little craftiness.

Find a cheap small table. Even though there are four players per game, the gameplay is close, fast and furious at times, so it can be small. A great idea for a do-it-yourself mahjong table is a converted end table. End tables tend to be attractive enough by themselves, usually made of nice wood, and take well to a felt covering. Find one at your secondhand store, and make sure that all four legs are sturdy. Once you have it home, it's time to convert it for mahjong.

Prepare your felt. Green felt is the standard color for the cover of a mahjong table, but you can make it another color, if you like. Start by unrolling your large piece of felt over the top of the table. It must be one continuous piece and cannot be patched together, or else it won't look good. Make sure there is at least a four-inch overhang off of each edge. Once you have it in place, cut the felt with fabric scissors, and maintain the four-inch overhang.

Adhere the felt to the top of the table. Clean the top of the table completely before starting the adhesion; if there is dirt or dust, the felt will not stick properly. Once clean, spray the fabric adhesive all over the top of the end table. Immediately lay the felt on top of the adhesive. Press down on the felt, all the way around the perimeter, and through the middle of the table as well. Let dry for several hours before continuing.

Prepare the corners. Once dry on top, fold down the sides at each corner and cut the excess fabric from each corner, so that when you hold down the corners of the felt, they fold under neatly and do not bulk out too much. Tuck the felt underneath the table edge for a tidy finish.

Glue down the sides and corners. When you reach the corner, spray the underside of the felt, and fold the material in and under as you did when you were measuring and cutting it. Hold it in place for at least a minute. Then, continue on to the next side and repeat until all four sides and corners are finished. Let dry for 24 hours before using.

Things You'll Need:

  • Secondhand end table
  • Green felt
  • Fabric adhesive (spray)
  • Fabric scissors
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