Whether you are taking a tap class virtually, or just want a place to practice your steps, a tap board is a great tool to invest in and can greatly improve your at-home tap experience! While there are many expensive options online to purchase a ready-made tap board, it is super simple and affordable to DIY your own board. I have sourced a few products below through Home Depot, but I am sure the same products are available at other hardware stores.
Easiest (and cheapest) DIY tap board:
Owning a tap board can be as simple as buying a piece of plywood. This allows your dancer to still practice in their tap shoes at home without ruining any hardwood floors! A 4 ft x 8 ft board of plywood is pretty standard, however you can find larger sizes or ask for a piece to be cut in half (4 ft. x 4 ft.) to accommodate your space. Regardless of the surface area of your board, you will want at least ½ inch thickness. A 1 inch plywood will be more durable whereas anything thinner than ½ inch will be pretty flimsy. Also consider how often you will be moving the floor, as they can get pretty heavy with greater thickness.
Improved tap board:
If you have any craft family members, there are a couple of easy ways to improve on the simple plywood piece. These improvements will give your tapper better sounds and make dancing on it more comfortable.
Cushioning: By adhering a cushioning layer to the bottom of your plywood, the board will have a little more give and be a bit easier on your dancer’s joints. An easy option is the interlocking play mats (which you may even have laying around at home already). These are 2 ft. x 2 ft. so it is easy to line these up your piece of plywood. Attach the mats by first interlocking and gluing the mats together to the appropriate size, then glue them to the bottom/rough side of your
plywood piece. Gorilla Glue or Liquid Nail Subfloor Adhesive works great for this. It is important to make sure the mats are pressed firmly into the wood (use books or other weights) so they adhere completely. Use lots of glue and let it dry overnight.
Interlocking mats can be found here!
Top coat or laminate layer: If your tapper is using the board frequently, there is a good chance they will start to chip the board with use. One option is to add a layer of interlocking laminate to the top of your plywood, gluing it on as you did the interlocking mats above. When selecting a laminate flooring, you will need to ensure you measure the size of the interlocking pieces to fit the size of your board, and that the pieces fit together snug. You do not want any ridges or spaces between the laminate pieces as it is really easy for your tapper to trip on these when their taps catch on them. To avoid this, another great option to reduce chipping is to paint a wood finisher onto your plywood. Make sure to follow the instructions on the polyurethane, cleaning the board with a dry brush and then allowing each layer to dry and cure. This takes a bit longer, as you will likely want to do multiple layers for good protection.
Get the goods:
About the Author: Miss Lauren is a dance teacher with Flexpointe Studios Inc. This summer she’s taking her tap classes outside! We hope you’ll DIY up your own tap board and join her.