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How to Build Regulation Cornhole Boards

Build DIY 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! This simple DIY guide guides you through the simple steps to make your corn hole boards in one afternoon.

In case you didn’t know- this bag toss game originates all the way back to 1883. Wikipedia describes the modern game of Cornhole (using bean, grain, or corn feed bags) as getting its start, as we know it, in the Chicago area. 

Shortly thereafter, the 1974 article published by Popular Mechanics, “How to build cornhole boards,” was published as well.

Corn hole 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 is known regionally as bagssack toss, bean bags, and even “I drink you drink DIY boards.”  The Corn Hole game 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.

Build your own Corn Hole Board Set

A set of cornhole game boards is one of the easiest DIY woodworking projects you can take on.  Even if you’re relatively new to woodworking or building things, you can quickly learn how to build cornhole boards with this cornhole guide.

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

How to Build Regulation Cornhole Boards - Step by Step
Tossing Cornhole Bag to Cornhole Boards

How to Build Regulation Cornhole 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 standard woodworking tools.

Even if you’ve never looked at a set of cornhole plans before, this is a project you’ll find easy and enjoyable.

Official Dimensions of Cornhole Boards

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

The regulation cornhole board dimensions are:

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 get the “holes for the cornhole bags” themselves adequately 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 is at a pitched angle, getting a precise vertical height of 3 inches can involve 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, 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. 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 if you plan to make multiple sets.

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

 

Step-By-Step Guide To Make Cornhole Boards:

Step 1: Build the Boxes (cornhole frames)

Once your materials are 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 details 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 measured as 2x4s to a 21-inch board, adding up to 25 inches.

The problem isn’t with our math but with the boards themselves.

Despite being called 2x4s, today’s 2×4 boards are 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 24 inches.

With the frames built, it’s time to attach the plywood tops. Align the plywood with the corners of the frame, ensuring you get them as close as possible.

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 a bar or C-clamps to hold it against the frame.

Repeat this process for the second box, and the main body of your boards will be ready to go.

Step 2:  Attaching Folding Legs to Cornhole Board

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 inside the box – has to be rounded off. (if you don’t need to have the legs retractable – skip to

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 extending to the board’s end. 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 inside the box and positioning the rounded end 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 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).

Next, fold the legs over the end of your table, then use the edge 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, mark the sets of legs separately, detach all four of them, and cut them all simultaneously. This process sets the “height and angle” of the back legs.

Step 4:  Cut the Holes for Cornhole Boards (of course!)

By this point, your cornhole boards are nearly finished, and the only significant 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. Another option is to use a Dremel Rotary Tool if you’re experienced with one.  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, take a piece of sandpaper to the edges to smooth out any rough areas the saw may have left.

Step 5:   Completing Cornhole Boards

At this point, the construction of the boxes themselves is complete. From here, all left is finishing the boards in whatever manner seems best to you. As with any other type of wood finishing, there are many options for finishing and decorating your cornhole boards.

The most common is to sand, prime, and paint the boards. Using lines laid out with painter’s tape, you can decorate the boards by painting straight stripes or other designs against a background color. If you keep it basic, you can merely paint them solid.

Either way, before you start, use a shop vac and clean all the dust before you paint or varnish.

Other than paint, you can also finish your boards with polyurethane or lacquer. Some players 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 a lot of freedom in designing their appearance.

Remember that you can make your boards as ornate or as simple as you want. Once you have them looking how you want them, take them out and play some cornhole to enjoy the results of your hard work!

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


Bonus Project:   How to Make Your Cornhole Bags

If you are handy with a sewing machine, you can take the DIY fun of cornhole a step further by making your Cornhole Bags. The American Cornhole Association gives the official measurements for the size of regulation corn hole 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.

  • Step 1:  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.
  • Step 2:  Cut corners off, turn the completed bag inside out, and use your finger or a pencil to push the corners out to ensure sharper edges and a better-looking bag.
  • Step 3:  Next, fill each bag with 15 ounces of feed corn. To ensure you don’t make a mess, it’s a good idea to use a funnel.
  • Step 4:  Finally, tuck the edges of the open side 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.

How the “pros” toss a Cornhole Bag – and How to Score in Cornhole – With This Video:

 

 


Conclusion

If you’ve ever wondered how to build regulation cornhole boards, this article should provide you with all the necessary information. 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 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 own pair of handmade cornhole boards.

Download and Print the  “Official Cornhole Rules” 

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

References & Additional Resources

Kevin
Kevin
Kevin is the author and editor for Best Home Gear. In addition to his work in publishing, Kevin enjoys exploring the Outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, Hiking, Cycling, Fishing, Reading, and Completing Projects for Home and Garden.

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