As you probably know, darts products can be expensive. Particularly if you’re looking for a higher quality item from a reputable brand.
In my case, I was looking for a brand new backboard for my dartboard. Mainly for aesthetic purposes, but to also preserve the points of my darts from the surrounding wall. Plus, protect the wallpaper from any further damage! (oops).
In which case, rather than fork out for a brand new backboard, I decided that I’d attempt to save a few dollars and build one myself. After watching a couple of tutorials on YouTube I thought it looked easy. I mean, how hard could it be?
For this ‘project’ I had two main objectives:
- Keep costs as low as possible
- Make it look somewhat presentable
- Protect my wall/ darts from further damage
So, firstly I took a trip to Home Depot, in hope of finding a large piece of soft material, that’s relatively cheap. To which I found a large sheet of insulation that was approximately one inch thick. This cost me about $15.
As a test I punctured the insulation with one of my own darts that I brought along. The dart stuck into it extremely well! Plus, they don’t go all the way through. Perfect!
Once I got back home, I cut the insulation into a large rectangle while sitting the dartboard into the middle to make sure all sides were protected. I then drew a line around the dartboard, removed the board, and started cutting out the hole with a utility knife.
After cutting around the board, this is what we were left with (above).
I found this to be a tight fit, especially since I’m planning to add a layer of felt across the face of the insulation and around the inside of the rim, making it even tighter.
So, I sought to sand down the inner ring, while testing the hole over the board, continuously, to ensure I didn’t sand too much of the insulation away. I want a snug fit, but at the same time I want to ensure there’s enough room for when we add the felt.
Dartboard Backing Thickness
Before purchasing the insulation it’s important to check the thickness using a dart, just to ensure it can’t make its way through to the other side. See below.
As it goes in, it almost hits the wall. Plus, it’s unlikely that any stray darts would stick in perfectly horizontally, as shown in the example.
I found that the darts actually stick in pretty well, remaining in the backing, rather than falling out, which should prevent any unnecessary damage to the darts.
The best thing about this is that you could cut the backing down to whatever size you like, depending on how accurate you are. Personally I’ve used a particularly large piece of backing to cover more space below the dartboard, as my kids regularly play and tend to throw below the board, more often than not.
Nevertheless, I could choose to cut this off later, which of course wouldn’t be possible with a standard backing.
So, here’s a quick look at the holes left in the backboard. As you can see, they don’t close up completely, but I guess it does the job of protecting the wall.
Just to show you, I took the insulation backboard off and, surprisingly, there’s no marks on the wall. Which tells me that the insulation is thick enough.
Wrapping the Backboard
Okay, so step 3 leads us to making the backboard a little more aesthetically pleasing. To do this, I’m wrapping the backboard with a layer of black felt. Although, you can use whichever color you choose.
This is the glue I’m going to use (right). You can use almost any type of glue for this, although it may be best to check whether it’s suitable for felt cotton.
I did a small test sample to show you (below). As you can see, it actually looks as though it eats the insulation slightly. Although, it did stop eventually and I find it helps the felt stick to the insulation really well.
It’s going to be up against the wall, so the idea is to keep the felt tight. Also, I’m only going to glue the backside of the board, so I’m not too concerned about it melting a little bit.
I have the insulation laid out on the table, with the felt underneath.
My idea is to apply glue all along the edge of the insulation, and then I’m going to fold over the felt from the other side and let the glue set for a few minutes.
After applying the glue, I used a couple of claps to firmly hold the felt onto the insulation. I left the glue to set for around 3 minutes, and then moved onto the other side. I’m then going to pull it tight on the other side and do the same thing.
Tackling the Corners
I’m not a fabric expert by any means. So I’m not entirely sure of the best way to go about this. Nevertheless for the corners, I’ve trimmed down the overhanging material, and folded it over, like so (below). Repeating this process for all four corners.
Cutting a Hole for the Dartboard
Once it’s all dried, I’ll then move onto cutting a hole so the dartboard can fit through. To do this, I cut a number of slits from the middle to the edge of the insulation, so I could then fold it over and wrap it around the rim of the hole (below).
I’ve then folded the flaps over onto the back of the backboard and trimmed down any excess felt. You can see on the inside some white spots where it doesn’t cover completely, but when it comes to putting in the dartboard, you’re not going to be able to see that.
Once I’d managed to glue all the flaps down to the underside of the backboard, we’re pretty much done.
Okay, so here’s the finished piece from the back. Lets see how it fits!
To test it out, I threw a dart into the backing and it stuck in there pretty well. I could see a little tiny hole where the felt used to be, but it’s barely noticeable from at the oche.
So this little experiment turned out a lot better than I thought it would. In summary, it ended up costing a grand total of $20-$25 at the most. Plus around 2 hours of my time. Overall I think it looks pretty good! Nevertheless, if it doesn’t last, it’s cheap enough just to build another one.
I hope you liked this follow along custom dartboard backboard tutorial. Why not give it a try yourself? It’s cheap to do, so even if you make a few mistakes, it’s no big deal. Feel free to post your attempts down in the comments section.