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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!

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