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How to Build Regulation Cornhole Boards

Make a Set of Corn hole Boards With This Step By Step Guide

Are you looking for instructions on How to Build Regulation Cornhole Boards? Well, you’ve definitely come to the right place! Our simple DIY guide will easily walk you through the steps on how to make a corn hole game.

In case you didn’t know- the game originates all the way back to 1883, where Wikipedia describes the modern game of Cornhole (using the bean, grain, or corn feed bags) as getting its start as we know it, in the Chicago area.  Shortly thereafter the 1974 article was published by Popular Mechanics;  “How to build cornhole boards”.

Our article today provides an updated version of How to Build Regulation Cornhole Boards in 2019.

Cornhole has long been one of America’s favorite lawn games, and few Midwesterners have grown up without enjoying the fun that comes with throwing that weighted little bean bag through a distant plywood hole.  The game of Cornhole (also known regionally as bagssack toss, or bean bag) and even “I drink you drink DIY boards”.

The game of Cornhole is in fact so popular now, it’s considered a national pastime for neighbors and parties and local Cornhole “leagues” have sprung up all over the U.S.

Best of all, a set of corn hole game plans are one of the easiest DIY woodworking projects you can imagine. Even if you’re a relative novice when it comes to building things, you can easily create quality cornhole boards of your very own.

How to Build Regulation Cornhole Boards - Step by Step

In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about how to build regulation Cornhole Boards, “Bag toss boards ” or my favorite “Bean Bag Boards”.

How to Build Regulation Corn hole Boards

Whatever name you want to associate with the game or the construction of these boards – if you’re decent at DIY projects – building a cornhole set should be fun!  The dimensions of cornhole boards are below – and cornhole boards are easily constructed – using only a handful of simple materials and a few common woodworking tools. Even if you’ve never looked at a set of corn hole plans before in your life, this is a project you’ll find easy and enjoyable.

Official Dimensions of Regulation Corn hole Boards

Before you get started building your cornhole boards, you’ll need to know the basic Regulation Dimensions. These dimensions are established by the American Cornhole Association, for boards used in official tournament play. Yes, I know, there actually is an “ACA” – who knew!

The basic cornhole board dimensions you’ll need to conform to are as follows:

Overall length: 48 inches
Overall width: 24 inches
Front height: 3 inches
Back height: 12 inches
Hole diameter: 6 inches

In addition to these basic dimensions, you’ll need to be sure to get the “holes for the cornhole bags” themselves properly placed. The center of the hole should be centered along the width of the board, with 12 inches on each side. The center of the hole should also be set forward 9 inches from the back of the board.

If you don’t plan on using your cornhole boards for official tournaments, you may want to cheat a bit on the front height. Because the height is measured from the ground and the board itself is at a pitched angle, getting a precise vertical height of 3 inches can involve a little more math and work than most people are willing to do. If you plan to use your cornhole boards for a backyard game, coming in close at somewhere between 3 and 4 inches should be good enough. Let’s get started!

Materials You Will Need To Build Regulation Corn Hole Boards

DIY cornhole boards are relatively simple to build and don’t require too much in the line of materials. All that goes into a cornhole board is wood, screws, a little hardware, and some optional paint. Here are the specific materials you’ll need to put your boards together:

Two – sections of 1/2-inch plywood cut to 24×48 (board tops)
Four – 48-inch sections of 2×4 (long frame sides)
Four – 21-inch sections of 2×4 (short frame sides)
Four – 11-1/2-inch sections of 2×4 (legs)
Box of 3-inch and 1-5/8-inch galvanized screws
Four carriage bolts with properly sized washers and wing nuts (optional retractable legs)

In addition to these necessary materials, you’ll also need some paint, polyurethane or lacquer to finish your board with, as the ACA recommends a smooth surface that will allow bags to slide easily when thrown.

How to Build Regulation Cornhole Boards - Step by Step

Note: The material quantities shown above are for building (2) two boards, so increase quantities accordingly, if you plan on making multiple sets.

For all you “visual learners” out there, check out this video on How to build a set of Cornhole Boards:

 

The 5 Steps To Assemble Cornhole Boards:

Step 1: Build the Boxes

Once you have all of your materials cut to size, you can begin building the main boxes for your boards. The first step in this process is to construct frames from the 48-inch and 21-inch sections of 2×4. The 21-inch pieces will form the short rails at the front and back, with the 48-inch pieces running between them to create the long side rails. Use 3-inch screws to join the rails together, being sure to screw the long rails onto the outside of the short ones, rather than the short ones onto the ends of the long ones. Repeat for the frame of the second board.

If you haven’t done too much woodworking in the past, now is an excellent time to clear up a mathematical problem that might have already occurred to you. The width of a regulation board is 24 inches, but we’re attaching two boards that are measured as 2x4s to a 21-inch board, adding up to 25 inches. Believe it or not, the problem isn’t with our math, but with the boards themselves. Despite being called 2x4s, today’s 2×4 boards are actually 1-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches. As a result, we’re adding an inch and a half to both sides of the 21-inch board for a total of 24 inches.

With the frames built, it’s time to attach the plywood tops. Align the plywood with the corners of the frame, being sure to get them as close as you can. Although you can eyeball this if you aren’t too concerned with making it perfect, using an actual square to get the alignment right will help make the process a bit more precise. Once you’re satisfied that the top is lined up correctly, grab your power drill and use the 1-5/8-inch screws to attach it. To keep the top steady while you work, you can use bar or C-clamps to hold it in place against the frame. Repeat this process for the second box, and the main bodies of your boards will be ready to go

Step 2: Cut and Attach Legs

The legs of a cornhole board can fold up inside the board and rest on the ground at an angle. To make this possible, the end of each leg that goes inside the box – has to be rounded off. (if you don’t need to have the legs be retractable – skip to Step 3 “ – However, retractable legs are handy for hauling the boards flat in your vehicle). To make the proper arc on the end of the leg, measure 1-3/4 inches down from one end of the 2 x 4 leg and make a pencil mark across the board at that point. Place the point of a compass on that mark, then use it to draw an arc that extends to the end of the board. You’re essentially just cutting a radius on one end of each 2 x 4 leg. Use a jigsaw or band saw to follow this arc and make the rounded cut for the end of the leg.

Once all four legs have been rounded off, it’s time to attach them. This is done by laying the leg down inside the box and positioning the rounded end to be flush with a corner. Use a pencil to mark the center of the board inside the radius of the arc you just cut. Using this mark as a guide, drill a 1/2-inch wide hole through the leg and the frame of the box, then repeat on the other side for the second leg.

Lastly, to make the legs fold up and down, run carriage bolts through the holes you’ve just drilled from the outside and install a washer and a wing nut to the ends of the bolts that terminate inside the box. The wingnuts will allow you to quickly loosen and tighten the legs so that you can fold them up and down conveniently. Repeat these steps for the legs on the second board.

Step 3: Angle the Legs

At this point, the legs of your cornhole boards need to be cut to an angle to ensure that they will sit flush with the ground. Use anything you can to prop the middle of each board up 12 inches off of your work table (or a hard level surface). Then Fold the legs out over the end of your table, then use the edge of the table itself to mark a straight line across each leg. If you want to be more accurate or don’t have steady hands, holding a ruler out from the end of the table can help you draw a straighter line. Detach the legs and cut across the lines you’ve drawn to finish them. If your work table is wide enough, you may be able to complete this step with both boards at once. If not, though, mark the sets of legs separately, detach all four of them and cut them all at the same time. This process sets the “height and angle” of the back legs.

Step 4: Cut the Cornholes (of course!)

By this point, your cornhole boards are nearly finished, and the only major step left is to drill out the cornholes themselves. If you recall, official cornhole plans require that the hole is centered along the width of the board and set 9 inches forward from the back edge of it. To mark the hole, measure down 9 inches from the end of the board and then 12 inches from the side, drawing small lines with each measurement. The point where those lines meet will be the exact center of your cornhole, which you can then mark out with a compass set to a 3-inch radius. Repeat these steps to mark out the hole on the second board. At this stage, it’s worth remembering the old woodworker’s adage of “measure twice, cut once.” Be sure your holes are correctly positioned before drilling because you can’t go back and move them afterward.

The easiest way to cut the hole is to drill a pilot hole along the edge of the circle you marked, just large enough to insert the blade of your jigsaw. From there, you can use the saw to cut around the rest of the circle and create the cornhole. Repeat for the second board, and you’ve got a set of cornhole boards almost ready to go! After the holes are cut out, be sure to take a piece of sandpaper to the edges to smooth out any rough areas that the saw may have left.

Step 5: Finish Your Cornhole Boards

At this point, the construction of the boxes themselves is complete. From here, all that’s left is finishing the boards in whatever manner seems best to you. As with any other type of wood finishing, there are a vast number of options out there for finishing and decorating your cornhole boards. The most common is to sand, prime and paint the boards. If you want, you can decorate the boards by painting straight stripes or other designs against a background color using lines laid out with painter’s tape. If you’re going to keep it basic, though, you can also merely paint them a solid color.

Other than paint, you can also finish your boards with polyurethane or lacquer. Some players choose to apply decals to the sanded boards, then cover them with a coat of polyurethane to protect them. This method of finishing the boards will give you quite a lot of freedom in designing their appearance. Keep in mind that you can choose to make your boards as ornate or as simple as you want. Once you have them looking the way you want it, take them out and play some cornhole to enjoy the results of your hard work!

If building your own Cornhole Boards is too much to take on right now, then check out this Ready to ship Cornhole Board set with Bags from Amazon

Bonus: How to Make Real Cornhole Bags

If you happen to be handy with a sewing machine as well as wood tools, you can take the DIY fun of cornhole a step further by making your authentic cornhole bags. The American Cornhole Association gives the official measurements for regulation bags as follows:

Size: 6 inches square
Seam: 1/4-inch on all sides
Weight: 14-16 ounces
Fill:  Corn Kernels (plastic pellets acceptable)

Since it’s the traditional fill, our instructions will assume you’re using actual feed corn. However, the process is the same for plastic pellets. To make your cornhole bags, cut two pieces of duck cloth that are 6-1/4 inches square, then sew them together with a double stitch and the recommended 1/4-inch seam on three sides, leaving the final side open for filling. Cut corners off, then turn the completed bag inside out and use your finger or a pencil to push the corners out from the inside, to ensure sharper edges and a better-looking bag.

Next, fill each bag with 15 ounces of feed corn. To make sure you don’t make a mess, it’s a good idea to use a funnel. Finally, tuck the edges of the open side in and sew the bag up, again using a double stitch for extra durability. Make a set of bags this way, and you’re ready for a game of cornhole.

To check out how the “pros” toss a bag and how to score in Cornhole check out this quick youtube video:

Conclusion

If you’ve ever wondered how to build regulation cornhole boards, this article should provide you with all the necessary information you’ll need. Who knew that tossing a corn kernel bag into that 9″ Gap, could be so much fun? Creating your own cornhole game is a fun and inexpensive way to put your DIY skills to work.

Whether you’re looking to play the game in the privacy of your own fenced yard or carry it along to your favorite park, you’ll get hours of enjoyment out of cornhole boards that you made yourself!

And now that you know how to build a cornhole game, you’re only a short trip to the hardware store and a little time in the garage – away from having your very own pair of handmade cornhole boards.

You can view download and Print the  “official cornhole rules” here.

 

Thanks for visiting BestHomeGear.Com and good luck with your Cornhole Board Project!

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Kevin

As a Homeowner, Builder, and Property Developer/Manager for 30+ years, I’ve worn a lot of “different hats”, and In that capacity, owned or used about every tool or piece of home equipment one can think of. Managing property in Michigan, Arizona, and Florida, also allows us to test many of the products we review firsthand, and in vastly different climates and conditions. Our goal at BestHomeGear.Com is to share the first-hand experience by providing exceptional Home & Garden Techniques, Product Reviews, and useful DIY Guides for our faithful readers - Homeowners like you. We trust you will find BestHomeGear.Com very informative - and extremely helpful.

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