Pickleball is a mish-mash of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, and like every paddleball sport, you need a paddle to play! Here are the instructions on how to make your very own personalized pickleball paddle with only a few simple materials. This project is a great way for teachers to combine PE, ADST, and art into one set of lessons. Full credit goes to School District 63 for the idea and photographs; thanks for sharing your paddle project!
Tools & Materials
- blank scrap paper for template
- 3/8" plywood, approx. 20"x10" (less if making a full set)
- clear spray finish, eg, Varathane
- spray adhesive
- racket grip tape (eg, badminton, tennis)
- electrical tape
- measuring tape or ruler
- jigsaw or coping saw
- 6+ spring clamps
- eye protection
- ear protection
- rasp or file
- sand paper, 80-120 grit
- felt pens or coloured paints
- optional: paint brush
Design your pickleball paddle shape using paper and a pencil or felt pen (or use a template from the internet). Maximum length is ~17" (5" of which is handle), maximum width is ~ 8-1/4". Paddles are often rectangular with rounded corners. See project photos or online options for shape ideas. Note: teachers may want to provide students with a printed, standardized template shape.
Use scissors to cut out your template. Lay the template on your plywood and use the pencil to trace the shape onto the wood. If you are making more than one paddle, arrange your templates carefully to use your plywood most efficiently.
Add a spray finish such as Varathane to both sides of your paddle (follow the directions on the can for best results).
Challenge your classmates to a round of pickleball! Enjoy!
- Make a class set of paddles to donate to a classroom (or school, community centre, senior's facility, etc.) Paint half of the paddles a different colour or design to make matching team paddles.
- Try making ping pong paddles, or other sports accessories using the leftover plywood from your paddle project.
- Host a tournament! Celebrate students' achievement by hosting a pickleball tournament. Students can even apply their newfound jigsaw skills to make number cards to keep score.