What can I use as a volleyball net? Surprising ideas to make a homemade DIY net

We all have been there. You want to play volleyball but you don’t have a net or it is broken. This makes it hard to play as you can’t see if the ball went high enough. Eventually, it will lead to discussions and make the game less fun to play. What can you use instead of a volleyball net? Let’s use our creativity and think about what we can use instead of a net to play volleyball.

Photo by Stephen Baker on Unsplash

Volleyball nets are quite expensive and a hassle to store and install. Therefore you might consider using other objects if you only play volleyball once every few months. The main challenge is that you have to find an object that is wide enough. A lot of items (for example towels) can work as a net but are not ideal as the volleyball field is quite wide. You can sometimes connect these but these are points that can break if you hit them. Therefore it is better to pick things that are quite wide, to begin with.

Volleyball nets have 2 functions: show if the ball is high enough and stop the ball if it goes too low. If you don’t have a net, you should mainly try to mimic the function that shows if the ball goes high enough. Stopping the ball is only secondary as you can always do this yourself if you notice that the ball didn’t go high enough. 

How to make a homemade DIY volleyball net

Let’s look at some objects that can function as an alternative to volleyball nets: 

1/ A tarp

A tarp is a big piece of plastic. This is quite easy to install as it has eyelets. Tarps are often quite wide so you can cover a big piece of the width of a volleyball field. The drawback of this is that it can catch a lot of wind and therefore might not stay in place. It also makes it harder to see where your opponents are standing. Overall a tarp can be a cheap alternative to a volleyball net if you have a decent way to install it.

Tarps are easy to wash and have multiple uses so if you want a cheap volleyball net, this could be something to consider.

2/ A big blanket

A big blanket functions similarly to a trap but is made out of fabric instead of plastic. Blankets could be more expensive than a tarp so only use this if you have old ones laying around that can get dirty. Blankets are also not good at dealing with rain whereas a tarp is able to handle that. Your blanket might also tear more easily due to winds.

A big blanket can work as a volleyball net alternative but it is not ideal as it is quite expensive and can easily get damaged. 

3/ A rope

This might be the best option overall if you don’t have a volleyball net at hand. It is quite easy to see if the ball goes under the rope or not so there can’t be too much discussion about this. You just install a rope at the height where the top of the net would be.

This can be hung on a tree or other object. You probably won’t put a lot of pressure on the rope. It is possible that you hit it with the ball so you can’t attach the rope to objects that might fall over or could break. You have to be careful when you install it as it is quite high.

This is the easiest and cheapest way to build a net alternative. You can also hang a tarp or blanket over this rope if you think that this improves the visibility of the makeshift net. 

Photo by Josh Duke on Unsplash

4/ Water spray

During a hot summer night, you can use a water hose to direct a spray in the desired direction. This can replace a volleyball net and also create a nice visual effect and can keep you cool as well. It will be less visible after dark.

Check your local water tariffs to make sure that it won’t be too expensive to do this. This might be more suited for a short game than the whole night but can be an easy way to create a net if you don’t have one. It is also almost impossible to damage anything if you just use a hose and a splash of water. 

5/ Projector

If you are playing after dark, you could use a projector to draw a line in the air. This can lead to more discussions as there is no physical object that the ball can hit but can be quite easy to set up if you have the gear lying around.

You don’t point it at the players as the light can affect their vision. Instead, you point the projector away from the players and across the field. It can take some trial-and-error to get it completely right but could work if you want to play a round of volleyball after a movie night. You can also get a glow-in-the-dark net for this.

6/ Garden net

Sometimes you have nets left in your shed that can be used for gardening. For example, some trees need a net to make sure that birds don’t eat their fruits. You can repurpose these nets for a short round of volleyball. These nets are not that strong and are not able to withstand a big impact so don’t hit them too often with a volleyball.

7/ Towels

Big towels can work as well. Everyone has these and since they don’t last that long, you can still use them for outdoor activities such as volleyball. If you connect enough of them, you can create a net. This is not ideal as the line won’t be perfectly straight but can be a cheap and fast solution if you want to get going immediately. These are quite soft so it is not a problem if you run into them (as can happen if you focus on the ball instead of your surroundings).

8/ Bean bags or pillows:

You can stack bean bogs or pillows to build a big wall that mimics the net. The main disadvantage is that you can’t see the players on the other side of the field anymore. They can also get dirty if you hit them with the ball. This might be my least favorite option as it is a lot of work to set this up and is not that stable but it can be a lot of fun to do so if you have a lot of bean bags laying around. 

9/ Fishnet

A fishnet is very cheap and you can use a cord and just drape the fishnet over it. The net will look pretty good and should last quite a long time given that it is made out of kevlar or rope. Often you can find cheap used fish nets online or in your area. Some shops use this to ship goods as well and discard them afterward. Reaching out to a shop can help you to find a net.

10/ Just buy a net

If you decide that the previous options are not for you, it is possible to just buy a net. The following net is quite cheap. You can also use it for boulder, badminton, and pickleball since it is height adjustable. Even if you got tired of playing volleyball, you can use it given this.

You don’t need tools to set it up and it has a bag to store it in so you can just keep it inside during winter. This net probably won’t last that long so you might look into more expensive options if you really plan to play a lot of volleyball in your garden. More expensive nets use sturdier materials and should last for a long period of time.

To conclude, we can say that there are several ways to play volleyball if you don’t have a net. A lot of common objects can be used to build a makeshift alternative for a net. This will allow you to see if the ball was going high enough and makes sure that you can count the points. You can be creative and use a lot of objects for this, just be careful that you don’t break anything or that nothing falls.

You can use a lot of force on a volleyball so the makeshift net has to be able to deal with this without breaking or damaging other parts of your property. If you plan on playing volleyball often, it can be a wise investment to buy a volleyball net anyway as these are a lot stronger and this makes it easier to play.