How to draw your own pickleball lines

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Brandon Mackie

Published on: Jan 11, 2024

Graphic of a pickleball court with the words 'how to draw pickleball lines'

With pickleball's popularity showing no signs of slowing down, the demand for court space just keeps growing. In fact, over 25,000 new courts are needed in the US alone to keep up with demand.

I know the frustration of missing out on a game because the courts are too busy. So, in this article, I'm going to explain how to draw your own pickleball lines and make a pop-up court on any flat bit of ground.

How to draw pickleball lines

When creating your own pickleball court, it's crucial to make sure the lines are accurate. "Measure twice, cut once"—or in this case, "mark once".

Accurate court lines are essential for maintaining the integrity of the game. Players rely on clear and consistent court markings to recognize the boundaries and aim their shots, so even an error of a few inches can make a big difference.

Standard pickleball court dimensions are 44' (length) by 20' (width), so the court on each side of the net measures 22" by 20". The non-volley zone (or "kitchen") is 7' deep from the net on both sides. The service areas are 15' deep and 10' wide.

Graphic showing the dimensions of a pickleball court
The dimensions of a pickleball court

It's worth noting that these measurements are made to the outside of the lines that you mark out. A pickleball court line should ideally be 2" wide, but when making a DIY court, your lines might be narrower. Just make sure the lines are as straight and as visible as possible.

Be sure to consider the space around the outside of the playing surface or the buffer zone. Ideally, the total space available will be approximately 60' by 30', but you can adjust based on the space you have.

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Preparing your space

The first thing to do is choose a suitable space to draw out your pickleball court. Any hard surface will work, such as concrete or asphalt if playing outside.

You can even use a tennis court, where there's enough room for four pickleball courts (the buffer zone for each court will be smaller than ideal, though).

Graphic showing how four pickleball courts fit on a tennis court
Graphic showing how four pickleball courts fit on a tennis court

Make sure the surface is smooth and clear of debris. The fewer imperfections the better, as the ball will bounce unpredictably if it hits dents and holes. A rough surface or small stones can cause ankle rolls and other injuries.

You should also check that the buffer zone around the court is clear of hazards and obstacles like fences and trees.

Learn what type of surfaces you can use for pickleball

Gathering your materials

Whether you're playing indoors or outdoors will affect what you use to mark your lines. If you are using tape, try to clean the surface as much as possible before applying.

Be careful of using strong tapes on wooden surfaces, like indoor basketball courts. These can be hard to remove and can cause damage, or leave a sticky residue that facility owners won't appreciate.

Now that you've chosen your location and measured to make sure it's large enough, it's time to start assembling the materials you'll need to mark out the court.

You'll need:

  • A measuring tape (the longer the better)
  • An extra large framing square (more on this later)
  • The material you plan to use for your lines (tape, markers, chalk, etc.)

What should I use to make my lines?

Here's a selection of ways and materials to mark your lines, along with various pros and cons of each method:

  • Sidewalk chalk: a simple, cheap, temporary solution. Sidewalk chalk can be drawn on and comes off easily. Once it rains though, your court will magically disappear.
  • Thick toddler crayons: another great temporary solution, large crayons are colorful and affordable. They don't come off as easily as chalk but will rub off over time. Be sure you don't need to remove after every session, as these are more difficult to clean off.
  • Builders chalk line and reel: a super useful tool, this makes drawing long lines super quick and accurate. Although the line is very thin (the width of a string), it might be an ideal method for a one-time court. Chalk line and reels are perfect for marking lines that you will then either draw over with larger chalk, or tape over.
  • Brightly colored masking tape or painters tape: this is a less expensive option that leaves little to no residue on the surface. Buy the 2" wide option if possible and a bright color like orange or blue. This tape will rip and tear with use, but in a dry climate, it can last a few games at least and is easily replaced.
  • Electrical tape: this is a cheap option, comes in bright colors, and is more waterproof than masking tape. The downfalls with electrical tape are that it can leave a residue when removed and only comes in thinner widths.
  • Green frog tape: ideally use the 2" option. It's not cheap but certainly durable and visible. It should last longer as well.
  • Gaffer tape: this is a semi-permanent option. If applied properly, it can last for months. Similar to green frog tape, this is an expensive option and comes in 2" width. Its cloth surface is not as smooth as other tapes, so players should not expect their shoes to slide over it and should use caution.
  • Pickleball court tape: this is a purpose-made, strong painters tape that is the correct thickness and comes in a neon orange color for visibility. A semi-permanent option, it will have a longer life, if properly applied and can be removed easily.
  • Vinyl court lines: these are a great temporary option for when you need to pack up your court after a session. These solid plastic pieces come in straight lines and angles that provide a visual boundary for a temporary court. Be aware that the ball will not bounce true if it hits one of these pieces, but they're super quick to set up and remove.
Photo of the 'Wilson EZ Court Lines' pickleball lines

Setting up the net

Once you've chosen how you'll make your lines, it's time to set up your net. Place your net first in the middle of your chosen area, as it makes an excellent reference point to measure from.

There's a whole range of portable and semi-permanent pickleball nets available now. In fact, I've dedicated a whole article to the best pickleball nets.

USA Pickleball regulations state that a pickleball net should be 22' wide (to allow for 1' extra over both sidelines), with a height of 36" at the sidelines and 34" in the middle. The top band should be white, and 2" wide.

Before you start to measure the lines, make sure your net is correctly set up and taut. Then, double-check that it's regulation size. Now you're ready to start marking your lines.

Marking the court lines

Before I start explaining how to mark the lines, I want to share a simple hack that I recently learned for making sure your right angles are correct (90 degrees). It's called the "3-4-5 rule" and it's really just simple geometry.

The rule says that any triangle that has sides of 3, 4, and 5 feet has a right angle opposite the longest side (the 5' side). So, when you want to check the corner of your court is at a right angle so your lines are straight, mark 3' on one side and 4' on the other. Then adjust your lines until the gap is exactly 5'.

Also, any multiple of those numbers works the same way (e.g. 6-8-10 or 9-12-15). You can also build a simple wooden right angle to use for marking out your court.

Check out this helpful guide on the "3-4-5 rule"


Using your net as a straight line of reference, you're going to first mark your sidelines. These will be your longest lines, at 44'. You can also split each into two 22' lines, one on each side of the net.

Measure 20' across the net and mark the two starting points for your sidelines. Then start drawing or laying out your lines, using that point for reference. The 3-4-5 rule ensures that you have right angles from your net.


Once you have your sidelines in place, double-check that the ends are 20' apart (measuring to the outside edge). If they are correct, then mark your baseline between them. Repeat on the opposite end and your court is starting to come together.

Non-volley zone

The "kitchen" (or non-volley zone) lines are 7' from the net, running parallel to it. Try measuring a point 7' out from the net on each sideline. Then run your line across the court between those points. Repeat on the other side of the net.

You can double-check your angles and measurements by making sure the kitchen line is 15' from your baseline.

Center line

Finally, it's time to mark your center lines, which divide your service areas into right and left. This line will be set between the kitchen line and the baseline, placed exactly 10' from either sideline.

That's it, you're done!

Accuracy, visibility & maintenance

As discussed above, some DIY pickleball lines will be more durable than others. Chalk lines may need regular maintenance to keep them visible. Tape lines can rip and move over time.

Keep an eye on your lines and get your measuring tape out every now and then to check for straightness. You should tape over or replace any broken sections.

Remember that bright colors are best, whether you're using tape, crayon, or chalk.

Bottom line

Hopefully, this guide will be helpful when a dedicated court isn't available.

If you have any further tips or hacks for drawing court lines that you'd like to share, go to our social media and let us know. We'd love to hear any tips or hacks you might have.

In the meantime, use our scheduler tool to boost your chances of finding open slots at your nearest courts.


About the author
Brandon Mackie
Brandon is an avid writer and co-founder of Pickleheads™. Once a competitive tennis player, Brandon can now be found these days honing his dinks on pickleball courts near Phoenix, Arizona.
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