How to Build a DIY Pop-A-Shot Basketball Game

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Chances are good that if you’ve been to an arcade or a sports bar, then you’ve played a Pop-a-Shot basketball game. That’s the game with the miniaturized basketball ball and hoop set-up where you compete against friends to see who can make the most baskets in a minute or so. It’s great fun for everyone playing, even if you aren’t good at basketball in the first place.

While this game is definitely entertaining, it can be difficult to bring that entertainment home. That’s because Pop-a-Shot games can be a bit hard to get your hands on due to their popularity and cost. Rather than give up on playing this game in the comfort of your own home, now’s a great time to think outside the box and try building your very own Pop-a-Shot game!

This guide will take you through an overview of the building process. Herein, you’ll learn about the materials needed to make this project happen, as well as a few tips to make the final just as good as its commercial counterpart. 

How to Build a DIY Pop-A-Shot Basketball Game

How to Build a DIY Pop-a-Shot Basketball Game

Let’s jump right in and take a look at the building process.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Before you start, you’ll want to gather up all of the materials necessary to bring your DIY Pop-a-Shot to life. These materials can vary slightly based upon what you have available to you. The following are the most common and affordable for most DIYers:

  • 2×2 boards (cut to an assortment of sizes)
  • Screws
  • Tarp (standard size)
  • Tarp snaps
  • Backboard and hoop (small consumer size)
  • Mini-basketballs (three to four)

In addition, you’ll need an assortment of tools to ensure that this project goes off without a hitch.

At the very least, this will include a saw (manual or power), a screwdriver, and a snap attachment tool. However, keeping a well-stocked toolbox on hand will also be helpful if you want to make any modifications from the following blueprints.

Step 2: Build Frame

Now that you have your materials, you are ready to begin assembling your Pop-a-Shot’s frame.

To do this, you’ll want to begin cutting some of your 2×2 lumber stock to the following sizes:

  • 88” (x2)
  • 33” (x5)
  • 82” (x2)
  • 41” (x2)

Once you’ve cut these planks, you can grab your screws and screwdriver to begin the frame assembly process. To do that, you can begin by screwing together an 88” and an 82” board in an “L” configuration. Once that’s done, grab a 41” board and screw it on to the other end of the 88” board.

This will make up the basic form of the frame, so you’ll want to repeat this process to make a second frame piece.

Once you have two frame pieces, you’ll want to begin connecting them together.

This can be done by attaching the two frame pieces using your several 33” boards. To be specific, one such board should be placed at the open end of the 41” boards, the base of the 41” boards, the base of the 82” board, and the top of the 82” boards.

A final cross support board should be placed below the top of the 82” piece, but at a distance that the backboard can be mounted to it properly.

Step 3: Mount Backboard

With your full frame constructed, you can now mount up your backboard.

This process should be fairly easy, so long as you follow the mounting instructions for your chosen consumer backboard and hoop. In any case, you should secure your backboard to the two top-most cross support beams on your frame’s 82” side.

Step 4: Add Tarp

Once your backboard is mounted, you can begin laying down the structure that returns balls rapidly to the player.

In lieu of using a long cloth for this purpose, you can instead use a standard tarp. It can be easily attached to your frame using some tarp snaps. Once those snaps are properly placed into your tarp, you can loop its sides around the bottom backboard support beam and the top support beam on the 41” side.

Step 5 (Optional): Add Electronics 

Once you have your tarp and backboard in place, you are ready to begin a manual version of Pop-a-Shot. You can choose to optionally add electronics to your DIY game, though.

To do that, we recommend checking out this blog post.

The author includes all of the code and materials needing to successfully automate your DIY Pop-a-Shot’s scoring process.

Tips & Tricks

These steps above are just some general guidelines for making your own DIY Pop-a-Shot game that mimics the real commercial product.

However, if you want to really make your DIY iteration accurate, consider inspecting and taking pictures of a real Pop-a-Shot game. While the measurements above are based on a real unit, it may be worth your time to see a real unit so that you can plan for any modifications that you see fit.

One such modification that you should consider is adding sides to your DIY Pop-a-Shot. In many cases, you’ll be able to do this by adding a further set of wood supports between the ends of the 82” and 41” sections. Then, some type of flexible siding can be attached to that support, be that some leftover tarp or even a netting material.

Either way, you’ll find your DIY Pop-a-Shot much more manageable with this kind of siding in place.


Has reading about a DIY Pop-a-Shot game gotten you excited to play yet?

Well, you now know the steps and materials needed to make this arcade classic a reality at home. In all, you should be able to assemble this entire DIY project in a single afternoon. After that, you and your family will be able to enjoy many evenings competing against one another with your own homemade variant on an arcade classic.