How to repurpose a table into a gaming table and desk. This upcycle involves distressing the furniture piece, installing gaming felt (poker table cloth), adding a wood edge around the table, adding a top for the table, and using mod podge to put the map on the top.
Note: I’m sure this post is going to load pretty slow. It’s VERY photo heavy. Sorry for the inconvenience!
For Father’s Day, I decided to make my husband a gaming table. The problem? I didn’t know where to put it. Then I realized that if I made a top for the table, I could use the gaming table as a desk when it wasn’t in use for games. This has worked so well. If we’re making a puzzle, we can put the top on to play later so no pieces will get lost (we’ve got toddlers sooooooo… things disappear). Similarly, we can leave an unfinished board game for later as well.
- Furniture piece to repurpose.
My table was a bit thin… I wish I’d picked a shorter, but wider table because I ended up needing to place the edges off the sides of the table a bit. Otherwise the board games wouldn’t have fit.
- A large piece of wood that fits over the top of your table.
The biggest piece of wood we could find (in the quality we wanted) was a bit short for our table, but it works out okay anyways and it’s hard to tell.
- Wood for the sides and 4 casing blocks. My wood for the sides was 1x3x8 ($6.88 each at the time) and the blocks were (4x at $1.69 each).
If you can cut and measure well, you could just use the pine boards and skip the casing blocks. It might be easier. I’m new to woodworking so I wanted to keep it simple.
- Gaming Felt: I used (affiliate link) Stalwart 3 Yards of Suited Waterproof Poker Table Cloth, Royal Blue
This is gaming felt. I was going to just distress the top, but my friend’s husband suggested this instead as it’s the preferred type of material for the top of a gaming table. Apparently it helps keep the cards from sliding around.
- Mod Podge CS11245 8-Ounce Glue, Hard Coat (optional)
- Map (optional)
- Felt of some sort to put on the bottom of your table top to keep the top from sliding around.
- Staple gun, nail gun, circular saw, sander, painting and staining equipment.
Initial Table Prep
Prior to installing the gaming fabric, I wanted to paint my table. I didn’t need to paint the top of the table because it would be covered with the fabric. As a result, I flipped my table upside down to paint. This allowed me to thoroughly paint (and distress) my bottom… And not miss the underneath of the table.
I also painted my table sides and the casing blocks. You could save some time and paint the top for the desk conversion at the same time
For a full tutorial on how to paint and distress the table, check out my link: Easy Distressing for Wood Furniture: Drab to Dreamy Lego Desk
Installing Gaming Fabric
Gaming Table Sides
From what I’m seeing, most of the gaming tables sold have raised sides or a recess. Some sites suggested a 3″ recess, but that seemed like a lot. I wanted my husband to be able to use this with our sons easily and they wouldn’t be able to easily reach over a 3″ lip.
I glued all of these together in a rectangle shape, then glued them onto the table using liquid nails. Total fail. It sort of worked, but we ended up using a nail gun to help stabilize it all. I was originally concerned that the nails would show, but because I distressed the wood it wasn’t even obvious (as you can see in picture on the right).
We stapled some of it from above, such as the corners. But we also were able to staple some of it from underneath the table up. The nails were long enough that they’d go through the board and the table edge.
Desk Conversion: Adding a Cover
My husband created a beautiful edge to the top of the table first, then I painted and distressed it.
I ended up using mod podge in the end and polyurethane, but I think this would look better if I’d done mod podge first, then followed up with a coat or three of poly.
To smooth out the wrinkles, I ended up just sanding over them… I was hoping it’d work to create a bit of a distressed map look and not just look like I got lazy and took the easy way out. Which is exactly what I was doing.
Add felt to the bottom of your table top in order to prevent the top from slipping around.
Completed Gaming Table and Desk
Supplies that can be purchased on Amazon: Below are affiliate links to some of the materials that I used for this project:
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”