I wanted a dedicated poker table but we didn’t have enough space. Any table would be used for its intended purpose (dining, etc) 99% of the time so I wanted a regular table that can be immediately turned into a gaming table.

DIY poker table with hidden playing surface and LED lights
(Left) DIY poker table as a regular table (Right) Table top removed to reveal poker table


  • 47mm x 75mm Timber (also known as 3×2): Quantity depends on size of your table, I used 2 x 2.4m long boards. £8 in total
  • Suited Speed Cloth: Make sure this is wider than all the edges of your playing surface so you can staple it to the underside. £15 for my measurement.
  • 18mm plywood or MDF: I used 25mm plywood which did the trick but is absolutely overkill so I’d recommend using 18mm instead. Be sure to measure this according to the inside perimeter of your table with the top removed. I had this lying around so didn’t add to the cost.
  • 6mm foam: I used an old yoga mat I had lying around the house, you can even go thicker than 6mm if you wish. This cost me £5
  • 10mm Dowel rod £5
  • 12mm Skirting board 2.4m (L) x 94mm (W) £8.50
  • LED strips (optional) purchase a reel that is longer than the inner diameter of the table. 5m reel was £6
  • LED aluminium profile/channel (optional) Purchase as many as it takes to fit in the inner diameter of the table. £12
  • USB inline switch (optional) This is to switch the lights on and off. (pack of 2 for £5)

Total cost of materials £109.50


I had these around the house anyway so I didn’t factor these into the cost.

  • Staple gun
  • Circular Saw (or table saw if you have one)
  • Jigsaw
  • Drill
  • Impact Driver
  • Stanley knife
  • Mitre Saw: I had to use a handsaw but I would strongly advise using a mitre saw instead.
  • Wood Glue
  • Spray adhesive
  • Wood screws
  • M6 bolts x 10
  • M6 washers x 10
  • M6 Threaded Insert for Wood x 10
  • Paste wax (I used beeswax in this case)
  • Wood finish (entirely up to you what kind)

How to DIY a Hidden Poker Table from an IKEA dining table

IKEA JOKKMOKK table underframe

Flip the JOKKMOKK table upside down and unscrew tabletop from table frame.

Keeping the tabletop and frame/legs in place Use a 10mm drill bit to hollow out the existing screw holes and drill ¾ the way through the thickness of the tabletop.

Set aside table top and measure inner diameter of table frame (mine was 110 x 66cm including the 2mm gap on all sides for the speed cloth).

Making the playing surface

wrap the playing surface

Using these measurements, cut your plywood for your playing surface to size. Be sure to cut off the corners to accommodate the leg brackets.

Attaching arm rests to the table frame

attach arm rests to DIY poker table

Measure between leg brackets on all sides, then use these measurements to cut your 2x3s to size. I’d advise using a mitre saw for this.

Clamp these 2x3s to the inner frame ensuring they’re flush with the top, then drill some pilot holes for screws from the outside. You could use longer screws from the inside but they’ll have less to grab onto in my opinion.

Measure the inner diameter including the arm rests, then cut your foam to this size.
Attach foam to playing surface using spray adhesive.

Wrap the speed cloth over the foam surface then flip the surface over revealing the back. Pull the cloth tight and staple the cloth to the surface.

Securing the playing surface to the table frame

Flip table frame upside down (with legs pointing to the ceiling) then drop the playing surface in face-down.

Secure the surface to the frame from the outside by drilling a hole for the M6 threaded inserts then driving in M6 bolts to hold it all in place.

Adding dowels to the table top

making dowels for tabletop

Flip the tabletop face down then cut 3 x 30mm dowels to put in the dowel holes (one on a long side and one each on the short sides).

Put glue in the dowel holes then place the dowels in them. Once glue for dowels has dried, carefully carve the ends of the protruding dowels so that it can be lowered into the holes easier. The table top covers up the playing surface when it is not in use.

Adding the arm rest frame

To make the arm rest frame, measure outer diameter of table without the tabletop then cut the skirting board to size.

Dry-fit the skirting board so it’s even on all sides then clamp 3 out of the 4 boards into place whilst gluing and nailing the unclamped one. Once done, do the same with the next board and so on until all 4 sides are done.

Once glue has dried, fill corner joints and nail holes with wood filler if necessary. Cover playing surface with cardboard, then sand the arm rest frame with 40 grit sandpaper, then move onto 80, 120 and 220 grits until smooth to the touch.

Using a tack cloth remove as much dust from the arm rest frame as possible then wipe it all down with white spirit.


Once dry, apply your first coat of stain. I used a stain/varnish combination that required 8 coats with a light sanding in between, but you can use any other one that suits your needs.
Continue adding coats of finish until you are satisfied.

Adding LED strips and power bank (optional)

I cut LED aluminium channels to size for each side of the frame and attached them to the inner border, then I stuck the LED strip to the channels in one continuous run having the end wire trail down one of the corner gaps. I mounted a USB power bank to the underside of the table for the strips to connect to via a USB inline switch.

Admire your work and play some cards! My friend here is smiling because he won that night, the scumbag.

DIY poker table game night

How long and how much did the DIY poker table cost? 

DIY Hidden Poker Table built into regular IKEA dining table

This took 2 weekends in all and cost £109.50

What do you like most about the hack? 

I like how hidden it is and functional as a regular table but a quick lift of the top and it’s an entirely different table altogether.

What was the hardest part about this hack? 

Attaching the arm rests first as these HAVE to be flush with the regular frame otherwise everything else will not fit.

What to pay special attention to? 

Take your time with the staining and finishing, I rushed mine a bit and had some drips that are still there.

Looking back, would you have done it differently? 

I would have made, sanded and finished the arm rest frame without the playing surface attached.

Nevertheless, so far it has had a positive reception.

~ by James Culhane

See video on how the hidden DIY poker table works. View my instructable for full tutorial.

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