My friend Moe has always amazed me with her boundless imagination and creativity. She’s a maker and creator extraordinaire. She’s one of those people who is interested in, and can do, so many things – from the tiniest detailed paintings to full-on household renovations. A while back I was at her place picking her brain on all things roman blind related when I was stopped short at the genius of her use for an old ping pong table. I am now on the hunt for an old one that I can convert to this brilliant new use…and if you’re a maker of sorts I’m sure you will be too once you read her story below.
The Ping Pong Table
One day not long ago, my friend Kristi was at my house and we were talking about Roman blinds. Kristi was making several, and had always made them from simple instructions, but she was running into a few problems. I’d learned how to make them from the Singer Sewing Home Reference Library book series, and have actually made over a hundred of them! Needless to say, I know a few tricks now.
Anyway, we were chatting away, and I brought Kristi to my basement to look at a few things. I have a sort of multi-purpose room there: laminate floors that I’m not afraid to get paint on, lots of counter space and drawers, mirrors on one wall (for workouts), a sewing area, a desk, a drafting table …. And a ping pong table.
The ping pong table was opened up, as I was working on some things, and it got a big reaction from Kristi. What a great idea to have a ping pong table!
Yeah. It was one of the first things we bought when we moved into this house nearly 30 years ago. My husband had looked at me a little quizzically when I’d said we had to get one, but then I’d explained, and so we got one – secondhand from a friend at work. It’s seen a lot of use … though not for ping pong!
I’d grown up in a large family. There were 10 of us around the supper table, and so the table was large. It was 9’ long by 4’ wide. My mom, sisters and I would use it when we needed to pin and cut out patterns for sewing. One day, my brother found an old ping-pong set in the attic, and we’d tried it out in the dining room. The screw-on supports for the net worked perfectly. Now, a regular ping pong table is 9’ by 5’, so our dining table worked pretty well … with a few notable exceptions. The first was that our table was expanded to its largest size, so it had those planks inserted into it. But it was an old table and the planks were somewhat warped, plus there were cracks of varying sizes between the planks. Of course the ball would hit a crack or warp and go flying off in some unexpected directions. This meant we had to have very quick reflexes, and it was fun. The other exception was that the dining room wasn’t very large, so we would easily hit walls with the paddles. And our mother was always worried about her lovely glass-doored china cabinet!
But we were very into playing ping pong, and, as we didn’t have a lot of privileges or toys, our parents one year bought us a ping pong table for Christmas. It was wonderful, and we spent many hours playing in the basement – where it was much more predictable and roomy.
Of course, we also quickly realized that the ping pong table was even better than the dining table for cutting out fabric, and so, as kids grew up and moved away, the ping pong table became much more of a sewing table.
And then, of course, I had to get one for our new home – because I had a great many sewing projects ahead of me!
The table folds up and can be rolled into a corner, so it doesn’t take a lot of space. Kids love to use the back of the two folded halves as a blackboard for drawing, and so I painted one upright half as a whiteboard and the other as a blackboard. Now, I use it for design and for reminders. If I’m projecting a picture to design a quilt or something, I can project it onto the folded ping pong table. If I need to take a photo of something I painted, I drape the folded table in white sheets and put the item in front of it. When I’m ironing shirts, I pull one of the legs out and use it as a rod to hang the finished ironing. If I need to pin a cloth design to look at, I hang it from the top of the table too. And when I’m painting an Adirondack chair from a kit, I cover the table with painter’s cloth and paint all my pieces on it before assembling the chair. It’s a large, flat work surface at just the right height, or a large upright design board. I find it very useful! Oh, and occasionally, my husband and son get into very raucous ping pong tournaments!
I’ve seen newer designs for ping pong tables, and I wonder if they would work as well. I must check one out to see how flexible the new designs are. They are certainly now much more sturdy as ping pong tables than mine is. Mine is over 35 years old, and I’ve made a few repairs over the years (plus painting the undersides).
Kristi liked the idea so much that she wanted me to write up how I use my table. If you are a “maker” like Kristi and I are, you may find this idea particularly useful. Cheers! Maureen Dagg