How to Make Your Own Pickleball Paddle

Making pickleball paddles

Recently we posted a letter from a man who traveled to Moldova to volunteer at a camp for disadvantaged teens. He was a pickleball fan and knew that during his time there he would want to teach the kids how to play. He also knew that there was no money in the budget for paddles so he made his own. You can read more about him here.

Inspired by his DIY (Do It Yourself) spirit, we thought we’d let others know how to fashion your own paddles should the mood – or need – strike.

Step 1: Start with a template. We’ve included one here (adapted from

Change the height and width to fit the specs you want and print it off on paper that’s large enough to fit the whole picture with some breathing room (11×17 should fit the bill).

Note: according to the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) Tournament Rule Book, “the most common paddle measurement is approximately 8” wide by 15 ¾” long. The combined length and width including any edge guard and butt cap shall not exceed 24”.

Step 2: Choose your paddle material and thickness. There is no restriction on thickness, but 3/8” is a common measurement. Every DYI paddle we’ve seen has been made from wood. Most are made from 5 or 7 layer plywood, while some are made from solid wood. High-tech materials like sheets of nomex or aluminum honeycomb with a graphite or fiberglass face are difficult to work with and can delaminate without a strong edge guard. Finding these high-tech materials is very challenging and expensive. We recommend sticking with wood for homemade paddles.

Note: according to the IFP “Paddle Material Specifications,” paddles “shall be made of relatively rigid, non-compressible material… That is the traditional concept of a paddle and that is why the game is not played with a stringed racquet. Paddles that produce a trampoline effect or an effect similar to a stringed racquet are specifically disallowed.”

Step 3: Cut out the template and affix it to your chosen paddle material using spray adhesive or similar glue product.

Step 4: Cut along the template guidelines using a cutting tool of your choice that is both accurate and strong enough given your chosen material.

Step 5: Remove the template from the paddle. Depending on what adhesive you used, removal may involve sanding, soaking, peeling, rubbing, or begging.

Step 6: Sand as needed to make all surfaces smooth and even. This could include the face and edges or anywhere your cutting tool went haywire.

Step 7: Customize your paddle face with paint, stickers, graphics, a picture of your ex, etc.

Note: back to the IFP rule book, “The paddle hitting surface shall not contain holes, indentations, rough texturing, tape, features that are reflective, or any objects or features that allow a player to impart additional or increased spin on the ball.”

Step 8: Build up the handle by gluing small pieces of wood or foam on either side of the handle. Wrap the handle with the tennis grip of your choice. Our most popular grip is the Gamma Ultra Cushion Contour Grip. Use electric tape at the top and bottom of the grip to create a polished look.  Almost all paddle grip sizes are between 4 to 4 ½“ in circumference. Smaller grips allow for more wrist action, which aids in putting spin on the ball and enhances control. A larger grip will provide more stability and be easier on your arm. You can also wrap the edges of the paddle with tape if desired. Common tapes to use are electrical, duct, and athletic.

Step 9: Send us a photo of your new, custom paddle! Send to or upload it to our Facebook page.

Step 10: Share this blog with all your DIY’er friends.

Step 11: Go rule the courts!  ….but don’t play in a tournament. Effective January 1, 2014 homemade paddles are not permitted in USA Pickleball Association sanctioned tournaments. Rule 2.E.5.

Don’t want to go through all these steps? You can pick up a great wood pickleball paddle for less than $15!

11 thoughts on “How to Make Your Own Pickleball Paddle

  1. I was going to add a comment to use fiberglass cloth and epoxy (like you would do when laying up a homemade boat.) For the plywood, I would use furniture grade birch plywood.

  2. Ludicrous rule about no homemade paddles. That’s the problem with organized sports, if they can find a way to make money off it, they’ll do it. Just like they’re doing with cornhole now. Pretty soon you won’t be able to have your own cornhole boards. So what qualifies for “homemade”? I mean, suppose I set up a small manufacturing operation to sell paddles to my friends and neighbors. Is that still considered homemade? I’m sure they’d find a way to close that loophole because that takes money away from the manufacturers (which hurts their chances of picking up sponsors – and getting their kickbacks).

  3. Pingback: How to Play Pickleball – PICKLEBALL

  4. I made a mahogany paddle, complete with required dimensions etc.. Happy with the result , current play with it. Slightly annoyed by ignorant players citing the no homemade USAPA rule.

    • Tried mahogany as well. Also tried cherry and oak. The main issue is the paddle breaking. Especially with hardwoods, it’s going to split. Then it is dangerous. Flying splinters of wood at high speed up close is no good. So I had to stop playing with mine. Not sure how to continue. Previously tried plywood. May be worth considering as it would be better during a break.

  5. Thanks for much for the diy article!

    Currently working on a SustainabilityPaddle (TM). Will happily market it as this. Using 3-ply wood to keep it light. And some other trade secrets! :p :p

    Would love suggestions on a surface for the paddle. Something like the graphene covers that are on commercially sold paddles would suffice. Today I tried about six pages of newspaper with a construction paper covering. The issue with this (it plays great!) is that it probably falls short of the rules in regard to springiness in the paddle. But the graphene covers are certainly more giving than any plain wood without a cover. So, what to do? Any thoughts here?

    Basically, after some play with the plywood paddles, it seems that stiffness is the biggest issue. Well, and weight. But weight is not so bad: One method to make it lighter is simply play with a smaller hitting area (think ping-pong size, or even narrow such as the 6″ wide commercial paddles many players use). Another method is thinner ply.

  6. This mobile site is terrible. Fire your coder or vendor. The article disappears after fully loading. I’m on Android, Firefox, fully updated S5.

    • Hi Mike, thanks for pointing out that glitch. We discovered some strange code following the first paragraph of the post, and it seems to be fully loading the entire post now.

    • Hi Jo, I’m not sure why the page disappears on you. It seems to be working correctly on our end. Try clearing the cookies from your browser or opening the blog post in a different browser. I hope this helps!

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