With fall temperatures starting to drop and hot summer days and nights now a passing memory, more of us are staying indoors longer and finding ways to entertain ourselves within the cozy comforts of home. A great way to enjoy the splendor of the indoors is by playing competitive games with friends and family.

For us avid football/soccer fans, the only thing better than watching the Premier League or an international tournament is playing the game itself. In regards to indoor play, the perfect alternative is foosball!

Foosball, also known as table football or table soccer, is a classic tabletop game that has its origins spanning back to the 1920s. Foosball has grown in popularity worldwide since its invention in 1922 by Harold Searles Thornton. The game has its own governing body to regulate rules and international tournaments (ITSF) and most major chain stores sell foosball table kits that range from $30 to upwards of $2,000!

There are different configurations, number of player paddle pieces, sizes, and designs when it comes to foosball tables, but the general rules and objectives are always the same. Use retractable rods to push and pull rows of replica soccer players in order to hit a toy ball into the opposing player’s net. The game is really addictive, especially when you foster a heated rivalry with your opponent.

As a cardboard artist and football fan who lives in Ontario, Canada — aka, winter is coming! — I wanted to challenge myself to make a simple yet durable indoor foosball table that can be easily transported and played anywhere.

As I have shown in past posts, cardboard is strong enough to become everything from swords to exercise equipment. With the right layering and gluing, a foosball table can be made within just one to two days with very basic inexpensive materials.

How inexpensive? Try only $5 in materials! Excluding the cost of spray paint to give color and pizzazz, if desired, all that is needed to complete a fun foosball table is a couple of wood dowels, glue, and of course scrap cardboard. Add in some dollar store foam for use as grip handles and that $5 will still result in change back in your pocket.

The full layout of the handmade cardboard Foosball table

As shown in the picture, I created an 11 on 11 piece foosball table measuring 41″×17″×4″. The outside of the game is plain, but the inside surface was spray painted green to resemble a football field.

The most challenging part of the creative process was determining the position of the holes on the long walls to house the movable dowels. They needed to be a specific distance apart to prevent the player paddles from hitting each other. And while I’m on the subject of the player paddles, another key aspect was figuring out how long and wide to make the paddles so that they rotate 360° without coming into contact with the base or each other. There needs to be enough space for the ball to pass by in-between each row of paddles.

The first edition of The Cardboard Bible DIY craft book

The first edition of The Cardboard Bible

It took some tinkering, trial and error, and learning lessons to configure the final design. A last minute touch was adding cloth mesh on the bottom of the base to minimize sliding movement while in use. Keeping the dollar store in mind, a large marble bought for $0.25 is used as the actual ball. Even a ping pong ball will work.

Now when the snow and frosty weather come a-knocking and the football game on TV is over, friends and family can roll up their sleeves and prepare to get their butts royally whooped anytime, any place.

The idea of a cardboard foosball table is part of a new initiative I have started to promote original and practical craft ideas for the home that anyone can make with helpful guidance. This initiative is in the form of a DIY craft book entitled The Cardboard Bible. Its mission is to promote the positive ideals of upcycling cardboard while exposing readers to their own amazing creative potential; personal expression and inventive upcycling as one.

There is no time for fall pouting or winter blues! Combining cardboard, foosball, and personal style will equal amazing fun times! Let’s make indoor time awesome!