Both tailgaters and outdoor lovers from all around the world are constantly on the lookout for the next great game. One of the current best is the game of cornhole. It's easy to play, can be set up almost anywhere, and best of all it can be played with friends, family, or even members of the competing fan base. Now, it is possible to go out and buy cornhole boards.

This is fine if you want to have a cookie-cutter design. However, if you want to make it unique, paint your own color or logos on it, or you simply enjoy building objects with your two hands, it is always possible to make cornhole boards at your house. You just need to have the tools and the know-how to do it. Here is everything you need to know regarding cornhole boards and how to make it. 

What Is Cornhole?

cornhole game board
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Cornhole is a game that is played outside. It uses rectangular boards that are propped up several additional inches on the back end. There is also a hole cut towards the back end of the board. Two of these boards are made with one placed on either end of the playing area. The game can be played with two or four people. If played with two people, each person will stand behind the same "cornhole." Each will also have four beanbags. The players will take turns tossing beanbags toward the cornhole on the opposite end of the playing field. When a player lands a beanbag inside of the hole, they score points.

Some may decide to score points for having a beanbag that is on the board or for one that is hanging in the hole but has not actually cleared it. This is up to house rules so that actual scoring may change (and should be established before the game starts).

For cornhole games that take place with four people, teams are split into two. One member of each team stands behind each of the two cornholes. This way, the two opposing teams play against each other, but instead of walking back and forth between the two cornholes, the opposite team members behind the cornhole that just received the beanbags will then toss (basically it is exactly like the two-person option, only each person stands specifically by their designated cornhole). 

Materials Needed to Make Cornhole Boards

cornhole materials
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It doesn't take much in the way of materials, but you will need some specific tools in order to make the cornholes. Due to this, it may prove necessary for you to purchase additional tools before making the game.

Regarding tools, you're going to need:

  • Compass
  • Measuring tape and pencil
  • Jigsaw
  • Clamps
  • Circular saw
  • Drill with 1/2 inch drill bit
  • Orbit sander
  • Clamps
  • Paint roller

As for the materials you'll need to make  the cornhole boards, you'll need:

  • 2 24" by 48" pieces of 1/2" plywood
  • 4 2x4 by 48" 
  • 4 2x4 by 21"
  • 4 2x4 by 11.5
  • 1 box of 1-5/8" deck screws
  • 4 1/2" x 4" carriage bolts and 4 washers
  • 4 wing nuts
  • Wood putty
  • Exterior grade paint
  • Primer

Steps to Make a Cornhole Board

cornhole board
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Cut the Wood

The first step is to cut simply everything out in the correct size. The two 24 by 48-inch pieces of plywood are for the main board of the game. The four 2x4 by 48 inches will run the length of the board, while the 4 2x4 by 21 inch boards will be used as the back and forward portion of the board, making up the secured rectangle The 4 2x4 by 11.5 inch boards will be used as the lifts used on the back end of the cornhole boards. Once you have cut everything out, you'll be ready to move forward with the construction.

Constructing the Frame

With everything cut, constructing the frame is straightforward. Take two of your 2x4 by 48" and lay them side by side. Now, position two of your 2x4 by 21" boards at each end. You will want to connect the 2x4 by 21" boards, so it is flush with the top of the 48-inch wood. Drill two of the deck screws from the 48-inch board into the 21-inch board to secure the two, then repeat this process with the other 48" and opposite side of the drilled 21" plank.

After you have done this, go to the bottom of the 48-inch plank and secure the other 21-inch plank. This will complete the frame. Repeat this with the remainder 48-inch and 21-inch planks to make the frame of the second board.

Shape the Legs

You'll need to curve the top of the legs. The legs will be able to fold up when not in use (this way you don't have an awkwardly shaped board sitting in your garage the entire time). To do this, you'll need to curve the top of the legs. Measure 1 3/4 inch down along the sides of the 2x4 by 11.5-inch boards (measure this out on the top left and top right side of the board). Now take your compass and draw a half circle that hits the left mark, the top of the board, and the right mark. This will give you a half-circle.

Use your jigsaw to cut out the half circle and then use your sander to sand this down. Repeat this on the top of all the 2x4 by 11.5-inch wood.

Now, measure a 1/2-inch from the top of the half-circle, right in the middle of the board. Use your drill and drill-bit here. It's easiest to clamp all four of your 2x4 by 11.5 together and drill straight through, to make sure everything is even.

Take one of the legs you just cut. Place the half-circle end along the 48-inch plank of your frame (it's easier to do this if the frame is positioned on a table on its side. Lay the leg flush along the plank, so the half-circle is pressing against the 21-inch plank. Clamp this down, then drill through the already made a hole and through the 48-inch plank. Repeat on the opposite side of the frame (but only do it on one end of the frame).

Secure the Top and the Legs

Take the large board and place it over the top of the frame. You have a few options for securing it. First, you can screw the board into the frame. You can then place wood putty over the tops of the screw to fill in the screw holes, giving you a flush, smooth surface. You can also secure it with wood glue, which will offer a solid hold as well. It's up to you how you secure it. Either way, make sure you clamp the board down as you drill/glue it down.

With the frame made, feed the carrier bold through the hold of the frame and through the hole of the leg. On the interior, tighten the washer and wing nut to tighten the leg in place. Repeat this with all four of the legs.

Cutting the Hole in the Platform

You can do this either before you secure the board or after (you might find it easier to do before, but it doesn't matter when you cut the hole for the cornhole boards). Measure nine inches down from the top of the board and 12 inches from each side. Now, use your compass to draw out a six-inch diameter circle from this position.

With the circle marked, use the jigsaw to cut the hole out. With the hole cut, sand around the hole and the entire top of the cornhole boards.

Paint

Now, apply the primer and then sand it down again with a fine sandpaper grate. Use a damp cloth to remove excess and apply your high-gloss exterior grade paint. Once it dries, you're all done creating your cornhole boards.

Conclusion

Cornhole is a great game to play just about anywhere. Whether you're heading out to a tailgate and want to have a fun game for everyone to partake in, are going to the park for a picnic and want to set up something for both the adults and the kids, or if you want to have an assortment of games outside of your own home. Cornhole is one of those classic games that will never become tiring. Now, you could go out and buy the cornhole board. There would be nothing wrong with that and nobody would be upset if you did.

However, if you want to personalize it, make it your own and really take pride in the fact that you made your own cornhole boards, this is the way to go. You just need to make sure you have all the equipment and objects on hand. Once you have everything it's pretty straightforward, and your friends will love the fact, you made your own cornhole boards (of course, they may also ask you to make some for them as well).

 

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