3-in-1 Gaming Coffee Table

3-in-1 Gaming Coffee Table

Use Thad Mills’ instructions to create a 3-in-1 gaming coffee table.

5 col

Existing coffee table
Air hockey table
Permanent marker
(1 sheet) 1/2-inch maple finish-grade plywood
220-Grit sandpaper
PaintbrushesPaint roller
Paint pan
Semi gloss interior paint
Power drill with 3/8-inch drill bit
Nail gun with 2-inch brad nails
Wood glue
Decoupage glue
Laser printed checkerboard and backgammon boards
Sponge paintbrush
Chalk stick
(24) Metal trophy heads (for checker pieces)


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  1. To begin, you’ll need to prep the existing air hockey and coffee tables. Remove the legs from the bottom of the hockey table top.
  2. Remove the glass insets from the existing coffee table (if applicable).
  3. Place the air hockey table, upside down, on top of the coffee table and trace the air hockey table’s outline with the permanent marker onto the coffee table top.
  4. You will now create the space needed to insert the air hockey table into the coffee table top. Once the outline of the air hockey table has been traced, cut on the inside of the traced outline with the jigsaw to create an opening wide enough for the air hockey table to fit into.
  5. To complete the table’s base, use the jigsaw to cut a recess on both sides of the table that coincide with the puck retrieval slots on both sides of the table.
  6. Once the base has been constructed, sand the repurposed coffee table using the 220-grit sandpaper to remove the existing finish. Once sanded, prime and paint the table using the paintbrush, paint roller and interior semi-gloss paint. Allow time for the paint to dry completely before painting on a second coat.
  7. Construct the new air hockey table top frame. Using the jigsaw, cut two pieces of the 1/2-inch maple plywood the same dimensions of the top of coffee table.
  8. Measure the dimensions of the air hockey table top and draw these dimensions into the center of one of the cut plywood boards. Use the drill to create pilot holes in each corner of the table’s drawn outline. This will make the cutting process easier.
  9. Using the jigsaw, carefully cut out the drawn perimeter of the air hockey table from the center of the plywood, creating the frame for the air hockey table top. Sand, prime and paint each plywood piece. Once painted, set the other, uncut plywood board aside.
  10. Apply a bead of wood glue to all sides of the hockey table’s top frame. Lay the cut plywood frame on top of the air hockey table, aligning the inner cut edges of the plywood with the inner edges of the air hockey table. Secure the new frame to the hockey table by using the nail gun to drive the brad nails about 8-inches apart, through the frame and into the air hockey table.
  11. Install the air hockey table into the coffee table. Once the frame has been fitted to the hockey table, place the table into the center of the coffee table. The frame should rest perfectly on top of the coffee table, with all of the outer edges aligned.
  12. Drive the brad nails, about 8 inches apart, along the outer edges of the frame and into the coffee table, securing the hockey table to the coffee table.
  13. To create the 3-in-1 convertible gaming table top: Take the additional piece of plywood that you painted earlier and place it on top of the table. Make sure that once placed, all the edges of this plywood piece are aligned with the edges of the plywood frame and the actual coffee table. This will be the convertible gaming and coffee table top.
  14. Now, you will complete the convertible table top. At a copy shop, have the checkerboard and backgammon boards printed onto large pieces of paper. Be sure the print is laser printed so that once glued, the ink won’t bleed. These boards can be printed to whatever size you desire, as long as they fit onto the top of convertible table top. (We printed ours to 14-by- 14 inches each).
  15. On one side of the convertible table top, draw a chalk line in the length and width center points, which will be used to evenly place the printed boards.
  16. Lay the checker and backgammon prints, centered, on the width chalk line, and equal distance from the length line, on the left and right sides of the convertible top.
  17. Using a clean paintbrush, apply the decoupage glue to the back of the prints as well as on top of the prints to adhere them to the table.
  18. Once the prints have been adhered to the table top, apply the glue across the entire surface of both sides of the convertible top. Once dried, apply a second and third coat of the glue over the surface of the table top, allowing each coat to dry completely before proceeding to the next. The glue, once dried, will act as a sealant for the table top, protecting it from dust, scratches and moisture.
  19. Lastly, create your checkerboard pieces. Use the 24 trophy heads as your checker pieces. You can purchase the trophy heads already detached from their trophy stands or you can buy the trophy’s whole and detach the heads yourself. (We found our trophies at a local dollar store). With your checker pieces created, you’re now ready to play.

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