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Monday, February 9, 2015

Painted Plywood Floors - Basketball Court - Painting the Court Lines

Things are finally coming together on our new basketball court.  The lines are all taped down and now we're ready to paint them in!  Seems like only yesterday we were using our pencils to draw in wooden planks, and now things are wrapping up nicely :)

The best advice I can offer at this stage of the project is to be patient with the amount of paint you put on your brush.  Get as much excess as possible back into the bucket!  Your free-throw arcs and 3-point lines consist of a couple hundred 2-3 inch overlapping pieces of tape.  Albeit microscopic, each one of these overlaps creates a small gap where paint can possibly seep in.  It's very easy to get a little over-anxious with the end in sight, but keep that brush mostly dry...too much excess will get under these gaps and create imperfections in your lines.

Another thing to consider, if you're doing the court like we did...we're painting a very light orange color over a very dark oil-based stain.  Even though I thought it would take 2-3 coats of paint to cover, I think in the end it took 5...which emphasizes my prior point even more...in doing these lines, less is truly more.  So don't over-soak those brushes, and take your time...it'll pay off!

Here's our finished product, after removing all the tape from the floor.  We think the lines turned out fantastic!

Basketball Court Lines on Painted Plywood Floor
Basketball Court Lines on Painted Plywood Floor

And here's another angle, taken at a different time of day.  The sun really seems to create quite a difference in contrast with the stain color and court lines.

Basketball Court Lines on Painted Plywood Floor, Lower Angle
Basketball Court Lines on Painted Plywood Floor, Lower Angle

And we're so close!!  Next we'll color in the 'paint' section (Free Throw Box) and add a logo and decals.  Stay with us and see the final result!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Painted Plywood Floors - Basketball Court - Setting the Free-Throw and 3-Pt Lines

I'll admit, when I first thought of how I was going to tape down semi-circles on a stained would floor, I was a little intimidated.  I knew I would never be able to 'eyeball it' and make it look good, so I would have to calculated the angle of the curve somehow.  With a yardstick and a sharpie, I was able to make it happen, and make it look pretty convincing.

Taped inner line for free throw arc
Inner line for our free-throw arc
To start, simply find the centerpoint of the free throw area.  Mark this point at the very edge of the tape, otherwise your arc will be a bit flat as you approach the top of the circle.  When I taped off the free throw region earlier, I made it eady on myself by making the lines exactly 36" apart, so my centerpoint was 18" in from each side.  Keeping the end of my yardstick centered on that new mark, I simply went up an inch or two and put a 'tick' at 18".  I moved the yard stick again, without moving the center of the arc, and made another tick.  Over time, your initial arch begins to take shape.  Simply continue around until you meet back up with the edge of the other line.

But you need two lines to create the free throw arc.  Since we used 18" to measure the inside line, and our court lines were 1" wide around the room, I just needed to repeat the process with 19" tick marks.  Before long, I had two parallel rows of tick marks creating the shape I needed.  Taking small strips of tape (about 2" a piece) start placing along your marks lining the inside of the tape with inner row of the arch.  Gently curve each piece as you lay it in place and overlap slightly with the last piece before laying down a new one...this ensures the paint won't bleed and helps keep a consistent line to paint later.

Finished taping free throw line
Free Throw Arc Complete 

My best advise is to be patient at this stage...accurately laying your tape lines will give you great results and will give you plenty of practice for the next phase, the 3 point line.

As for the 3-point line, I literally eyeballed where the curve should begin and where it should parallel the baseline.  If I recall, it was about 40 inches in from the side of the court.  Once you determine where you want your 3-point line to start curving, the process becomes identical to the free throw arc, with a much larger yard stick.  Having someone help you here will save you a significant amount of time.

Half of the 3-point line taped in...stick with it!
Using your previous centerpoint as a guide, make a new centerpoint about where you want the 3-point line to start curving.  I STRONGLY advise measuring from the top of the free throw arc and along the edge of the court to make sure the 3-pt line makes sense for the size of your room.  You don't want it to hit the baseline and you don't want it to be so small that it doesn't look right.

Following the same steps as before, make your 'tick marks' with your sharpie.  Be patient, measure twice when in doubt, and try to listen to music to tatke your mind off how boring this step is :)

Plywood Floor Basketball Court - Line Taping Complete!

If you measured correctly and took your time, your court will start looking like the photo above.  Congratulations, the hard part is truly over! You'll see I also blocked in the standing marks along the free throw line.  If you've followed along the taping portion of this tutorial is complete.  Next up, Time for paint!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Painted Plywood Floors - Basketball Court - Setting the Courtlines

With your hardwood floor in place, it's now time to start making it look like a basketball court.  And for that, we need lines.  Lots of lines :)

A little planning ahead on this step will go a long ways in making sure you get the results that you want.  To begin, I needed to find a few reference images to know what an OKC Thunder Court SHOULD look like.  I was able to find this image online:

OKC Thunder Court Diagram

I cut the court in half, to more resemble the proportions of her room, and trimmed away some of the outer border.  I also took the large Thunder logo in the middle and turned it sideways to face the basket and made it a little smaller to better fit the size of the room.  And finally, I adjusted the colors to match what we were doing as her theme...dark floor with orange courtlines:

Since we already laid our first border tape in a previous step, it was just a matter of determining the width of the court lines and laying the other side of the tape.  For this project, we used 1" for the line width.  It was pretty simple to calculate and seemed to be proportionate to the scale of the floor.  Going around the room, we laid the inner tape line.  Once completed, we used an X-Acto knife to cut in where the lines intersect:

Outer border with tape cut
Outer border and free throw area boxed in
We then put down the courtlines for the free throw area...the light blue box on the previous picture.  Paying careful attention to line up the intersections and account for how far back the free throw arc and 3-point line needed to be placed, we extended the courtlines into the room and boxed in the area we wanted to work with.  Our preliminary results looked pretty good!
In our next step, we'll tackle those pesky curved lines for the free-throw arc and 3-point line.  Stay tuned and see how we did it!

Painted Plywood Floors - Basketball Court - Applying the Stain

With the hard part out of the way, your plywood should start to resemble a hardwood court, but it's much too high in contrast.  The wood grain is definitely there, but it's a little overbearing at the moment.  Let's take care of that by adding a wood stain, the final color of the court itself and something to bring all the steps together.

Right now, your floor looks something like this:

Painted Plywood - Gel stain applied...time for the final color!
Gel stain applied...time for the final color!

I chose to paint sections at a time, separating the planks individually.  I felt that this would give me a nice, subtle variation in color to make the planks look separate, as opposed to painting a large section at a time.  It may have taken a little longer as a result, but I think the final product turned out much better because of it.

My daughter chose a very dark stain for her final color.  Personally, I think I would have taken it down a step or two...or 5 :)  But she really wanted a dark court, and the color she chose definitely gave her that.  After laying down a plastic painters sheet, I began working, going row by row, distibuting the stain as evenly as possible across the floor.  After several minutes, it began to take shape:

Painted Plywood - Applying wood stain
Slowly applying wood stain, one section at a time

You can still see the subtle wood grain coming through the stain, and slight color variations giving it a more natural look.  We were all really excited to see the results of all of our work, and within a few more minutes, we had a finished floor!  Admittedly, toward the end I started to cheat and did larger sections at a time.  As it dried, the color variations became more subtle, but for a time, it stood out where I had stopped with each pass.  I would advise patience in your project to get the most consistent results possible.

Painted Plywood - Finished!  Wood Stain Applied
Finished!  Wood stain applied over gel stain

Congratulations on making it this far!  You have a pretty realistic hardwood floor, and if that was all you were going for, then your work is finished!  Start applying polyeurethane and call it done.  But we're not finished...in fact, we're just getting started.  In our next step, we'll step setting the groundwork for our court lines and bring this basketball court to life!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Painted Plywood Floors - Basketball Court - Applying the Wood Grain

Gel Stained Wood Grain

Now for the most crucial part of the whole process...the wood grain!  We've got a base color, we've got our outer court border, and we've penciled in the planks...now it's time to make them look like wood!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Painted Plywood Floors - Basketball Court - Putting in the Planks

Alright, we've got the floor sanded, primed, painted, and have a nice shiny border around the room...but as much as my cute little daughter loves walking on it...it doesn't look anything like a basketball court yet!  What do we need?  Planks!

Nothing like walking on your big sister's newly painted floor!
To start, all you need is a ruler, a few room-long pieces of tape, and a little patience.

Since the wood grain tool I bought for this project was 3 inches wide, it only made sense to make 3" wood planks.  We also knew the planks would run 'length-wise' from east to west across her floor.  And finally, there is a one inch court line that runs around the room, similar to the light blue border we've already painted.

This diagram might help a bit...

4" blue border, 1" Court line, then 3" planks

To start putting down the planks, simply measure out 1 inch from your painted border, all the way around the room.  Then place a 'tick' 3" away from your new line on each side...in our case, on the east and west walls.  Take a long piece of tape and line up the tick marks, and carefully pat down to keep the line straight.  Trace one edge of the tape, pull it up...rinse and repeat.  In our case, we had somewhere around 40 planks.

Here's a short video on how me and my kids accomplished this:

As you work down the floor, your court will begin to look like this:

Horizontal planks.  Make sure they're straight and the rest takes care of itself!

And by the time it's all said and done, you'll have a floor full of horizontal lines.  

But those aren't really planks...well, they're really LONG planks.  But to make it look like a court, we needed to break them up.  After doing a little debating, my daughter decided that 30 inches would be a good length.  I was inclined to agree.

So, starting at random placed along each 'long plank', start marking off 30" planks.  Don't worry if they don't come out even when you get to the far side of the room, it's not supposed to! :)

This is our process showing how Kayla marked off her boards:

Wooden planks drawn in place...starting to look good!

And now you have it...hand-drawn wood planks across your entire floor.  Still doesn't look like much, but you can start to see it take shape.

Next, we'll go over one of the biggest steps of this process...applying a wood grain to each plank.  Make sure you have a little time on your hands for this one.  But it's well worth it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Painted Plywood Floors - Basketball Court - Border

I'll be using a wood graining tool, or 'rocker' to apply the gel stain, and I wanted to be able to have a starting point that wasn't right up against the baseboard.  I felt it would make the first planks look more authentic...plus, it's a basketball court...it needs an outer border anyway, right?

After much convincing, I was able to pursuade my daughter to let me put in a 4" border around the outside of the room.  Since she's a huge OKC Thunder fan, and the wall was already a darker 'Thunder Blue' and the court itself was going to be dark, it made sense to put down a light blue.  One that would compliment the other blue colors in her room.  In the end, we decided on this:

Admittedly, it went on VERY light, and I was afraid I had gone too far.  But as it dried, it blended really well with the existing wall color and more importantly, my daughter liked it.  Score!

So, moving forward, we taped off a 4" border around the room using a simple ruler and carpenter's edge.  The paint was pretty light compared to the brown base wood tone, so it took about 3 coats to finally get it to cover.

Here's our end-result:

Now that the border's done...time to move onto those planks.  Let's get this thing looking like a wood floor!