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 dartboard backboard. Mainly for aesthetic purposes, but to also preserve the points of my darts from the surrounding wall.
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 a backboard 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 to find a large piece of soft material that was relatively cheap. 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 the darts that I brought along. The dart stuck into it extremely well! Plus, they don’t go all the way through.
Once I got back home, I cut the insulation into a large rectangle while sitting the dartboard in the middle to ensure all sides were protected.
I then drew a line around the dartboard, removed the board, and cut 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 and around the inside of the rim.
So, I sought to sand down the inner ring, continuously testing the hole over the board 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 to ensure it can’t make its way through to the other side. See below.
I found that the darts 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. I’ve used a substantial 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 wouldn’t be possible with a standard backing.
I took the insulation backboard off, and, surprisingly, there were no marks on the wall, which tells me that the insulation is thick enough.
Wrapping the Backboard
Okay, so step 3 leads us to make the backboard a little more aesthetically pleasing. To do this, I’m wrapping the backboard with a layer of black felt.
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 looks as though it eats the insulation slightly. Although it did stop eventually, I find it helps the felt stick to the insulation really well.
It will 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 clamps 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. I am repeating this process for all four corners.
Cutting a Hole for the Dartboard
Cutting a Hole for the Dartboard
Once the glue is dry, I’ll then move on to cutting a hole so the dartboard can fit through. To do this, I cut some slits from the middle to the edge of the insulation, so I could then fold it over and wrap it around the hole’s rim (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, it was done.
Okay, so here’s the finished piece from the back. Let’s see how it fits.
To test it out, I threw a dart into the backing and it stuck in there pretty well. I could I threw a dart into the backing to test it out, and it stuck in there pretty well. I could see a tiny hole where the felt used to be, but it’s barely noticeable from the Oche.
So this little experiment turned out a lot better than I thought it would. In summary, it ended up costing a total of $20-$25. Plus around 2 hours of my time. Overall I think it looks pretty good! Nevertheless, if it doesn’t last, it’s cheap enough to build another one.
I hope you liked this DIY 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.