If you’re playing darts for the very first time, it’s easy to think that this majestic sport only needs the darts and the dartboard to make it complete. But, if you dig deep into this sport, you’ll be amazed to discover tons of other dart accessories that must be included in the package. One of those is a dartboard backboard. When I first learned about these accessories, I wasn’t as surprised as I was sure I’d get one from a reputable brand. But, comparing the cost of buying a new backboard and the cost of making one myself, I realized it was way better if I made a DIY dartboard backboard myself then customize it to suit my needs and demands.
Now, most people hang their dartboards on the wall. If you’re an absolute beginner, then it’s likely you’re more susceptible to missing the mark and hitting the walls instead. What happens eventually is that you end up damaging the walls and the darts. To those living in urban apartments, setting up a dartboard on the wall is almost unthinkable as you can’t imagine damaging the costly walls. So, in either case, there’s a way you can safeguard your walls and your darts which is by adding a backboard backup to your dartboard.
DIY Dartboard Backboard: A Complete Guide
Thankfully, with the emergence of advanced and sophisticated tools, any handyman out there can try their hands in making a crafty surround for their dartboards. Since there are lots of creative ideas out there, this guide will discuss at least three dartboard backboards you can make at home without having to break the bank.
Why Do You Need a Dart Backboard?
In case you’re a beginner in the world of darts, then you might be unaware of why a backboard is a smart investment. To those that are used to playing darts in pubs, corporate business game rooms, or at home, then you’re well aware of the type of damage steel tip darts can cause to your walls and floors. So, before we commence with our DIY projects, let’s first discuss three key reasons why a dart backboard is an absolute must.
- Aesthetic Reasons
If you happen to consult any interior designer out there, the first advice they’ll give the moment they stare at your dartboard is never to mount it on a bare wall. Since your room is supposed to look neat and appealing, a backboard can improve the overall ambiance by blending with the rest of the room’s acoustics.
- Protects the Darts Against Damage
Most people believe that the wall is the only one at risk whenever a stray dart hits it. What you don’t realize is that the tips of your darts are also at risk. This is even worse if the wall behind the dartboard has metal parts that can damage the tips. Since your darts are valuable investments, you need to keep them safe by having a gentler surround at the back of the board.
- Protecting the Walls
The main reason why a backboard is needed is to protect your valuable wall from getting damaged. Whether you live in your own residential home or a rented apartment, keeping the walls well protected is something that’s way out of the question. Since you can’t wish to lower the value of your home or rather spend a few hundred bucks in repair costs, a dartboard backboard is hence an absolute must.
1. Dartboard Cabinet
So, having discussed the main reasons why you need a dart backboard, this guide will now head straight to our main topic where we’ll discuss three ways you can build your own customized backboard for your dear dartboard. To start, we’ll discuss how to make a dartboard cabinet right from scratch.
Gather Your Tools and Materials
- Drill/drill press
- Orbital sander with sandpaper
- Table and meter saws
- 4 hinges
- Stain and varnish
- Wood glue
- Plywood boards
- Step 1: So, with all the tools and materials at your disposal, you’ll begin the project by cutting the plywood boards to prepare the pieces for the cabinet. Here, you’ll cut two ¾ “ by 12 ¾ “ by 25 ½ “ pieces for the doors followed by two ¾ “ by 5 ½ “ by 24” pieces for the top and bottom parts of the cabinet and finally two pieces measuring ¾ “ by 5 ½ “ by 25 ½ “ for the left and right sections.
- Step 2: Next, pick the right and left long pieces and drill plug holes on the sides. These holes will need to be 3/8” deep and should be drilled using a Forstner bit. The reason why the holes are deep is to create enough plugs that will be used to conceal the screws once the framework is screwed together.
- Step 3: Once you’ve drilled the plug holes for all the pieces, the next step is to pick an offcut piece of wood and use it to cut your plugs. Here, you can fit a plug cutting bit on your drill press to cut the plugs. Ensure they’re at least ½ “ deep to allow them to go all the way through once you screw the pieces together.
- Step 4: Now that you’ve drilled the plug holes on the sides of both the right and left pieces, the next step is to drill pilot holes through the plug holes into the end of both top and bottom pieces. Here, you’ll need to use a slimmer bit that will allow you to screw in the 1” screws.
- Step 5: Once you’re done, apply wood glue between the pieces then use the 1” screws to attach the pieces. Lastly, add some wood glue inside the plug holes then fit the wooden plugs inside to conceal the pilot holes. In case the plugs are not flushed against the cabinet, you can use a flush-trim saw and sandpaper to flatten them up.
- Step 6: Now that the framework is done, the next step is to measure a piece that will be used for the back panel. Measure the piece and fit it using glue and nails.
- Step 7: The next step is to cut two equal wood pieces that will be used for the doors. Once you’ve cut them, place them at the top of the cabinet to ensure they’re lined up both at the center and on the outside edges. Pick a small piece of wood and drill dart holes. When you’re done, use glue and tiny nails or screws to attach these pieces to the inside bottom of each door. This way, you’ll leave some space at the top section of the doors to fit the scoring board.
- Step 8: To set up the chalkboard, you’ll have to place the chalkboard panel on each door then place slim wooden moldings all around. Use glue and tiny nails to attach these moldings to the door to ensure the scoreboard is firmly and neatly attached.
- Step 9: With the project nearing completion, the next step is to mount the hinges on the sides of the doors and the cabinet. This can be accomplished by drilling pilot holes on the doors and the cabinet then using a spacer to create a small gap between them. This will allow the doors to swing wide open when they’re opened.
- Step 10: With the project fully complete, you can now decorate your cabinet with any polish or decorative acoustics of your choice to customize it. When you’re through, you can mount it on the wall then follow the recommended mounting procedures to mount your dartboard inside the cabinet.
2. Rope Dartboard Surround
In case our first DIY project had a hefty cost, then you might wish to consider our next project which is by using an old marine rope. This is a very simple and less costly project especially if you live in areas where marine ropes are readily available. So, to accomplish this DIY project, you’ll need the following materials.
Things You’ll Need
- A dartboard
- Plywood backing
- Marine rope
- Step 1: Start by laying a full plywood board on the workbench or any other area you’ll be working on.
- Step 2: Next, center the dartboard on the plywood board. With the rope already unraveled, coil it along the sides of the dartboard and screw the first layer all around the dartboard. Coil the rope once more and this time screw it on the plywood board. The third coil will be screwed towards the previous layer while the fourth one will be screwed on the plywood board. Continue with that trend until you coil the entire rope.
- Step 3: Once you’ve coiled as many layers as you possibly can, finalize the process by cutting off the extra rope. Screw the end of the rope towards the plywood board to make it firm.
- Step 4: With the rope neatly and firmly coiled around the dartboard, pick a jigsaw, and start cutting the excess wood to form a circular backboard. Make sure the plywood is sitting flush with the rope. The main idea is to have the rope surround visible but not the plywood behind it.
- Step 5: Once you’re through, pick your rope backboard and mount it on the wall.
3. Framed Felt Dartboard Surround
The last method we’re going to discuss in this guide is how to make a DIY backboard using insulation sheets. Now, the best thing about this method is that it’s cheap and very easy to accomplish even for novices with no prior handyman skills. So, to accomplish this project, you’ll need to follow this simple procedure.
Things You’ll Need
- 5 by 8 ft. insulation sheet with 1” thickness
- Utility knife
- Step 1: The first step is to pick your insulation sheet and lay it on the bench. When buying the insulation, it’s good to carry your darts with you to test and see whether the darts penetrate to the other side of the sheet when punctured.
So, with the insulation sheet lying on the table, pick a marker and trace the circular image of the dartboard on its surface. Pick a utility knife and start cutting around the marked circle. When you’re done, you should have a dartboard sized circle in the middle of the top section of the insulation sheet.
- Step 2: Next, sand the inner ring of the insulation sheet to make it as smooth as possible. When sanding, you need to be very careful not to sand too much of the insulation away.
- Step 3: Once you’ve sanded the sheet, the next step is to make it aesthetically pleasing. This can be achieved by wrapping the backboard with black felt or any other layer of fabric you may wish to use. Here, you can choose to use glue to attach the black felt to the backboard. Make sure you fold the felt over to the other side of the backboard to make it look neat.
- Step 4: Now it’s time to cut a hole to fit your dartboard. So, using a pair of scissors, cut through the felt on the center hole and fold it on the back of the backboard. Cut any excess felt and glue the remaining flaps towards the back of the backboard.
- Step 5: When you’re done, mount your backboard on the wall followed by the dartboard which should be mounted at the center hole. Also, don’t forget to hang the dartboard according to the recommended height.
As you can see, there are many methods you can employ to build a reliable dartboard backboard. In this guide, we’ve managed to discuss at least three methods you can consider. The best thing about these methods is that they can be employed by anyone regardless of whether you’re a novice or a professional handyman.
These methods also require a few power tools and they don’t cost you much to accomplish. So, In case you’ve been damaging the walls of your house with stray darts, then I believe these three DIY projects will help to solve your predicament.