Dartboard Backstop from Office Corkboard

Playing darts is fun! Patching drywall behind and around a dartboard is not fun.

To protect the wall around our dartboard, I wanted to build a cool, framed something-er-other that would safely catch stray darts, hold darts that weren't being used, catch falling darts that might not hang onto the dartboard or the backstop (using a shelf or a net or something) and maybe have a scoreboard. I also wanted the style of the backstop to match our pool table, which is an ornate, ebony-kinda-finish with red felt.

At the office, there was a large cork board sitting in the corner for the longest time. I discovered it while cleaning up the area for some presentations. It was the perfect size for the area I wanted to protect at home. So, I threw it in the truck and rescued it from the landfill.

Marking cut marks on rescued cork board from office

I wanted the backstop to be quite large so even the most amateur dart players could stray plenty from the target and this thing would catch the darts.

I marked a center point for the board to hang on and worked around that. I drew a big arc around that center point and dropped straight lines down to the bottom of the backstop where there would be a shelf to catch falling darts.

Cork board trimmed, dartboard centered in arc toward top

The cork was actually quite thin, like, maybe only a 8th of an inch thick, tops. The rest of the thickness of the cork board was a fairly flimsy, but lightweight fiber board. Turns out, if you throw a dart hard enough, it does punch through to the drywall behind. Oh, well. Unless our visiting dart players are very angry, it should work as intended at stopping darts.

Nice, round dartboard holder to sturdy up dartboard

To make sure the dartboard itself was hanging solidly and ever-so-slightly raised from the surface of the backstop, I cut a circle of 3/4" MDF to mount the hooky thing for the dartboard. To make this backstop more versatile, I cut the circle slightly smaller than a Belgian sized dartboard, which are smaller than the ones you usually see. (Note: Belgian darts is a hoot. The darts are lighter, the board is smaller, you stand closer, there are not pie slices, you're simply aiming for the center. You can get a Belgian board and darts from Best Made Company.

Frame cut with jigsaw, has blocks to hold cork board in place

The frame was cut as a single piece from MDF and the edges on the front were routed for a nice and fancy look.

I used whatever router bit seemed fancy and also placed holders on the sides

The single piece of MDF for the frame meant I didn't have to make sections and hope they fit together or aligned cleanly. Maybe that's laziness, but it came out looking excellent. I then added four holders with 45º holes for three darts each. The holes were made simply by tilting my drill press table to a 45.

Dart catching shelf, also routed with fanciness and held on with pocket screws

Next, I built a little shelf for the bottom of the backstop. The idea is to catch darts that let go and drop. Better they hit that shelf than the floor, methinks. It does work in practice, so this was a good idea. I routed the edges on this, as well. I designed the sides of it real quick in Adobe Illustrator, printed out the pattern and used it on the bandsaw to cut the parts. The shelf is held on with glue and pocket screws. I used pocket hole plugs to cover the screws.

Favorite old standy-by spray adhesive from 3M to stick the felt to the cork board

I bought red felt as close in color to our pool table's felt and used 3M 90 spray adhesive to stick it to the cork board. I then trimmed the felt so that the cork board and the felt would fit into the blocks on the back of the frame.

Finished dartboard backstop with red felt and black paint

I simply glued the cork board to the blocks on the back of the frame. It fit quite snuggly because I had placed the cork board on the frame and positioned the blocks before glueing and screwing them. Between the glue and the friction of the blocks, the cork board was very secure. That also kept the profile of the board relatively shallow.

Finished dart holder on frame of cork board backstop

The dart holders were painted black with the frame. They worked perfectly and look great. Overall, this thing was a fast build and it was easy.

Another view of the finished backstop and dartboard

As with not too many of my projects in the past, I will try to get CAD drawings up here of this build, especially the frame. But, it's a relatively simple project and the dimensions I used were simply to my taste. I looked at the dartboard, eyeballed how much safety room I wanted around it and started cutting.