Are you thinking of making your own DIY tap dancing floor? Tappers can be an extremely devoted group and you might want to build a place of your own for self-expression, fun, and practice.
But before you get started, there are a few architectural considerations and a bit of learning that should go into your floor. Leave it to the experts or go into your build not knowing and you can wind up with a poor experience or a poor dance surface.
Spend some time learning and then execute your plan with technical excellence and artistic perfection. If you want to build your tap dance floor, this brief guide will give you a good start on the process.
The Origins of Tap Dance
Did you know that tap dance has its roots in a fusion of African and European dance traditions? Originating in the United States in the 19th century, tap dance evolved as a unique blend of Irish jigs, English clog dancing, and African rhythmic influences.
Over time, it became a popular form of entertainment in vaudeville shows and later in Hollywood musicals. Today, tap dance continues to thrive as an expressive art form and a must-learn skill featured in dance teacher certification courses.
Building Your Tap Dance Floor: Materials You’ll Need
Before you start tapping away, gather the following materials:
Plywood Sheets (4×4 feet)
Choose a sturdy plywood to create the base of your dance floor. The thickness depends on your preference, but 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch plywood works well.
Hardwood Panels or Laminate Flooring
Opt for hardwood panels or laminate flooring for the top layer of your dance floor. These materials provide a smooth surface for tapping. Make sure they are tongue-in-cheek for easy installation.
To add a bit of cushioning and reduce noise, invest in foam underlayment. This will make your practice sessions more comfortable and minimize disturbances for others.
Use wood glue to secure the hardwood panels or laminate flooring to the plywood base. This ensures a strong and durable bond.
Nails or Screws
Choose either nails or screws to attach the top layer to the plywood. Make sure they are appropriate in length to secure the layers effectively.
Smooth out any rough edges on the plywood and hardwood panels with sandpaper to prevent splinters and create a polished finish.
Tape Measure and Pencil
Accurate measurements are key. Use a tape measure and pencil to mark the dimensions on the plywood and hardwood panels.
Protective Finish (optional)
Consider adding a protective finish to your dance floor for longevity. Polyurethane is a popular choice as it provides a durable and water-resistant surface.
Tap Dance Tiles (Optional)
For an added layer of convenience, you can use tap dance tiles instead of hardwood plywood. These tiles are designed specifically for tap dancing and come with a pre-finished surface.
Step-by-Step Guide: Building Your Tap Dance Space
Now that you have all the materials, let’s move on to the step-by-step construction guide.
Step 1: Measure and Cut
Start by measuring and marking the dimensions for your tap dance floor on the plywood sheets. A standard size is 4×4 feet, but feel free to adjust according to your available space.
Step 2: Preparing the Plywood Base
Begin by laying out the plywood sheets on the floor. Ensure they fit together seamlessly to create a solid base for your dance floor. Use wood screws to secure the sheets to one another, forming a stable foundation. The size of your dance floor is entirely customizable, but a common recommendation is a 4×4-foot square.
Step 3: Attach Foam Underlayment
Roll out the foam underlayment across the plywood and hardwood surface. This not only provides a bit of cushioning for your joints but also helps dampen the sound produced during tap dancing. Trim any excess foam with a utility knife to match the dimensions of your dance floor.
Step 4: Arrange and Glue the Hardwood Panels
Place the hardwood panels on top of the cut plywood sheets. Ensure that they fit snugly together. Once you’re satisfied with the arrangement, apply wood glue to the back of each hardwood panel and press them firmly onto the plywood. This step is crucial for creating a smooth and durable surface for your tap dance space.
Step 5: Smooth Edges with Sandpaper
After attaching the hardwood plywood, use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges or uneven surfaces. This step is crucial to prevent injuries and create a polished finish for your home dance floor.
Step 6: Apply Clear Polyurethane Sealer
To give your tap dance practice area a polished look and protect it from wear and tear, apply multiple coats of polyurethane sealant. This not only adds a glossy finish but also makes your DIY dance space more resistant to scratches and scuffs. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next.
Optional Step: Tap Dance Tiles
If you prefer a quicker and simpler solution, consider using tap dance tiles instead of hardwood plywood. These tiles often have a pre-finished surface, eliminating the need for sanding and sealing. Simply interlock the tiles for easy assembly.
Maintaining Your DIY Tap Dance Floor
Now that you’ve built your dance floor, it’s essential to maintain it for optimal performance. Here are some tips to keep your dance space in top condition:
Sweep or vacuum your tap dance floor regularly to remove dirt and debris. Wipe it down with a damp cloth to maintain its cleanliness.
Avoid Moisture Exposure
Wood can be sensitive to moisture, so avoid exposing your tap dance floor to excessive humidity or spills. If a spill does occur, clean it up promptly to prevent damage.
Check for Loose Screws
Periodically inspect your dance floor for any loose screws. Tighten them as needed to ensure the stability of the floor.
Reapply Sealer as Needed
Over time, the polyurethane sealer may wear off. Keep an eye on the condition of your personalized dance space, and reapply the sealer when necessary to maintain its protective layer.
Dancing into the Future
In conclusion, building your tap dance floor is a simple and cost-effective way to create your own dance space. With the step-by-step instructions and materials provided, anyone can have their custom floor in no time.
So don’t wait any longer, start building your dream dance space today! Grab your tools and get tapping!
If you enjoyed reading this article and would like more, then be sure to check out the rest of our blog today!