How to Make Custom Cornhole Boards

Cover image for article about how to make cornhole boards

Beside bags, cornhole boards are the most essential equipment that you need for playing corn hole.

Some of the best cornhole boards can be bought for relatively low price, under 100$ per piece. But today I am going to show you an in-depth tutorial on how to make cornhole boards with custom design of your choice.

If you intend to surprise your best Cornholer friend, why not build him or her a customized cornhole board with personalized design, name and messaging.

Its definitely a much creative gift than buying a ready-made cornhole board!

These boards can be made for less than 100$, so at the end of the tutorial you might even decide to make cornhole building as a side job. Who knows :)

According to official cornhole rules, basic cornhole equipment includes:

  • 8 bags (4 for each team with 2 different colors)
  • 2 wooden boards

That is why we are going to build 2 identical boards today!

If you want to make your own cornhole bags as well, then take a look at this DIY bag project. Bags can be bought on Amazon for less than 30$ (8 pieces).

Before we begin, this is the perfect time to remind you about safety measures!

safety measures

If you already have experience with DIY projects and power tools then we don’t need to explain you how to use them.

However, if you are new to DIY world, make sure to pay close attention!

  • ALWAYS wear safety glasses no matter if you are currently working with any power tools or not. This will protect you from any unwanted small pieces of material that might jump directly to your eyes.
  • Invest in high quality protective pair of gloves. These gloves should be worn whenever you turn a power drill on. Make sure you know how to handle and work with power or any sharp tools that we are going to use today.

We are not going to cover how to properly use the tools. So please educate yourself through tool manuals or politely ask your friend that has experience with DIY projects.



Ready, set, go…

Official cornhole board dimensions

Bord height and width

Board measurements

Before we get into the fun part, you need to know the exact board measurements.

According to the official rules the playing surface should be 48 inches long and 24 inches wide.

We are going to create two boards with dimensions of 48″ in length and 24″ in width.Height on both sides

Front side of the board needs to be 4 inches high from the ground while the back side must be 12 inches in height.

Cornhole hole position

The hole needs to be centered 9 inch from the top edge and 12 inches from left and right edge of the board.

Hole diameter is 6 inches.

Tools you need

Tools that you need for creating custom cornhole board

Here is a list of tools that we are going to use for this project. However not every tool from this list is necessary, but the more power tools you have the better.

  • Power Drill tool
  • Mitre saw with 12 inches blade (or you can use hand saw but with mitre box)
  • Circular saw
  • Jig saw kit
  • Compass
  • Orbital sander
  • Clamps are optional but handy tool
  • Hammer
  • 6″ hole saw for jig saw
  • Square
  • Measure tape

If you don’t have some of the mentioned tools then you can always ask your supplier to cut the woods according to dimensions that you require.

You want to make sure that the measurements are correct!

Keep an eye on anybody who is cutting the wood. Make sure that dimensions are exactly as recommended by American Cornhole Association.

Supplies you need

List of supplies for building cornhole boards

These supplies can be bought at almost any hardware or tool store, including Home Depot.

  • 2 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft. wood – Quantity of 4
  • 1/2 in. x 2 ft. x 4 ft. plywood – Quantity of 2
  • 3/8 in. flat washers, wing nuts, diameter carriage bolts – quantity of 4 for each of the mantioned hardware
  • Stencils
  • One box of 2.5 in. and 1.5 in. wood screws
  • Sandpaper (medium)
  • Paint
  • Semi-Gloss Fast-Drying Polyurethane

As you probably already know, the more quantity you buy the cheaper a material is per inch. So consider buying supplies for 2 or more boards at once, this will lower the cost per board.

If you don’t know what to do with excess material, you can always find buyers for cornhole boards. Basically  you can just prepare the boards for painting and once you get an order make a custom paint per buyers request.

Let us know if you have boards that you want to sell.

Make sure to choose excellent lumber and plywood without any defects on it. You want to have perfectly smooth board surface.

These are the supplies and tools that you need for both boards. Depending on where you buy, it shouldn’t cost you more than 100$.

QTY: 4 – 2×4 – 48″ long (Sides of platform)
QTY: 4 – 2×4 – 21″ long (Short sides of platform)
QTY: 4 – 2×4 – 12″ long (Legs, will shorten with an angle in a later step)
QTY: 2 – 1/2 thick plywood (2 feet by 4 feet) – For the Platform Top

How to build cornhole boards

Wood cutting

Man using mitre saw to cut the fram wood

The first step is to make a board frame using 2×4″ wood. With only 4 pieces of the mentioned wood you should be able to make:

  • 4 frame ends – with length of 4 feet
  • 4 frame sides – with length of 21″
  • 4 legs – with length of 16″

Depending of the tools you currently have available you can use mitre saw power tool or hand tool.

Next we move on to preparing and cutting the plywood. Use circular saw to cut the plywood into 4 by 2 foot dimensions. Make sure that you cut in straight lines. If you don’t have much experience with wood cutting, you can place another piece of plywood on top so it can guide you while cutting. This will ensure that you have perfectly straight line.

Building the frame

two board frames without playing surface attached

Now that you have prepared the wood, its time to construct the frame.

Use the 2×4’s (2 frame ends and 2 frame sides) to create the frame.

To connect the woods use wood screws with dimension of 2 ½ inches. You can use clamps to hold the frame all together while you are connecting each wood part wit screws.

You want to make sure that each wood edge to be flushed with the other board. Pay close attention to this part, because you want to put each frame piece into right place before make the holes for screws.  You don’t want to end with wrong frame size!

This is how the frame should look like:

Attaching the surface

Place the 4×2 foot plywood on top of the board frame. It should perfectly.

If the frame is a bit different in size than the plywood, then adjust the size of the frame a bit.

Using drill, make holes for screws on plywood so you can attach the plywood to the frame.

Use 10 or 12 long screws for connecting the plywood.

Also, make sure that once attached the screws go under the surface level, so you can fill the hole with wood fill. You want have perfectly smooth and leveled playing surface without any obstacles such as screws.

Cutting the hole

Board hole cutting with 6 inch diameter using drill

Now its time to create the most important part of a cornhole board, the hole!

First, you need to precisely mark where you are going to cut the hole.

exact position of cornhole hole

The center of the hole should be 9 inches from the top and 12 inches from each (left and right) side of the board edges. Use pencil to mark the hole center.

Use compass to draw the hole circle. It should be 6 inches in diameter.

Exact place where to cut the hole

Now the fun part! Its time to cut the hole. Please, be very careful and take your time for this task.

First, create a small hole using your biggest drill. This will be your starting point for hole cutting. The hole should be somewhere on the hole circle line.

Next, use jig saw to carefully cut the hole.

Any minor errors made along the way can be easily fixed with sandpaper.

Leg attachment

Board legs

If you thought cutting the hole was the trickiest part, you are wrong!

Most people agree that attaching legs is the trickiest and most crucial part. This is the make it or break it part of the project. Because you don’t want to end up with unstable cornhole board that falls down every time a bag lands on the playing surface.

The legs have two main goals:

  • To support the weight and impact of bags
  • To raise the back side of the board to standardized height of 12 inches

First you need to prepare the legs for bolts. Using pencil mark the spot where bolt is going to pass through.

Simply turn the board upside down and place the leg where it is supposed to be. About 2 inches from the top side.

Exact dimension of cornhole board leg

Mark where the bolt is going to pass through. Make sure to mark both the legs and side frame.

Use compass to create half circle at the top side of the legs. This will ensure legs to move and to be folded.

Create the holes using drill.

Cut out the half circle part that you previously marked with compass. The cut is probably not going to be perfect, so use sandpaper to perfect the edges.

Using washer, bolt and nut, attach the legs to the board frame. Once attached the legs should be freely movable without any difficulties. If its hard to move the legs, then find out what is causing the problem.

Now its time to cut the legs so that when they are extended the back side of the board should be 12 inches high.

Place the board on a table and extend the legs (legs should be hanging off the table). Under the board place something that is going to hold the whole board construction at 12 inches height.

Cut the legs exactly in the place where table intersects with legs while the board is supported by 12 inch object underneath.

If you prefer to watch and apply on a live example, then take a look at this video tutorial:

How to paint cornhole boards

Now that you’ve done the hard part, painting cornhole boards is very easy!

You can skip this part if you want to apply ready made printed decals. In this case you want to just make the surface smooth before applying decals.How to paint cornhole boards

However, you still need to be very careful because small mistakes can cause visible damages in paint and make you start all over again. Its important to be extremely accurate and not to take any shortcuts. Prepare yourself for patience and dedicate time to nicely paint them.

We highly suggest that you paint the boards using a brush or roller and latex paint. This is because latex paint has low VOC (fumes) and is more durable.

Finish the wood surface using Minwax Semi-gloss poly. This will give you beautiful and smooth finish and it will also act as a layer of wood protection.

For those who are new to painting its important to note that painting is done at the end, as a last phase. Once the whole board is assembled.

Correct building errors

Before painting you need to correct some errors that were made while building the cornhole boards.

Use wood filling to fill out surface damages, screw and knot holes.

Most wood fills sand quickly, so don’t worry if you add too much fill on a damaged spot. You can always smoothen the surface with medium sandpaper. Just follow the “how to” instructions that you received along with the wood filling product.

Make it smooth

Sanding the board wood

Next, you need to sand the wood using medium sandpaper. This will ensure smooth playing surface without any thorns that might damage cornhole bags.

Make sure to sand every part of cornhole board, especially sharp edges and spots where parts, such as legs, connect.

You can also gently sand the hole edges. Its important that hole edges don’t have any thorns that might damage cornhole bags.

Sand down every discrepancies! Make it perfectly smooth! Keep an eye on parts where different wood types connect.

Apply primer

How to apply wood primer on cornhole boards

Next, you should detach board legs and dust the whole board thoroughly. Apply a thin layer of primer on every visible part of the board.

You can do this using a roller or brush.

Once you’ve done, let it completely dry.

After applying primer your boards should be white in color.

Mark the edges and hole

How to mark board edges and hole with paint tape

After the primer has dried you need to mark the hole and board edges using semi-gloss paint.

Draw 1.5 inch wide lines around hole and board edges, then paint those spots.

After applying 1-3 coats of semi-gloss paint, let it dry.

Protect the surface lines

Now its time to paint the central part, the playing surface.

Firs you want to make sure to cover the previously painted 1.5 inch lines around hole and board edges.

You can do this by applying painter tape on top of these spots. If you want to increase your chances of getting perfectly straight lines then you can apply another layer of semi-gloss paint over whole playing surface including paint tapes. This will ensure that non of the final paint goes through paint tape and ruin your straight lines.

If you decide to add another layer of semi-gloss paint, let it dry again!

Paint the surface

Applying wood paint on board surface

Its time to paint the rest of the board surface.

Use a small roller to apply color of your choice, but make sure that the color is different from the color that you used for edges. This will ensure that the previously marked board and hole edges are visible.

Depending of the paint quality, you will probably need to apply several coats. Make sure to let it dry after each coat.

Off course, don’t touch the area while its drying!

If you want to correct one area of the surface, then simply add another coat to whole surface again. Never apply another layer to only part of the surface, you will see discrepancies when it dries.

We highly suggest that you use high-gloss paint because is very durable and you won’t have to repaint the boards very often.

Some cornholers say that you should use semi-gloss paint because high-gloss is very slippery. However, whichever you decide to use, new boards are always more slippery than used boards.

Over time and after hundreds of thrown bags it will the slickness of board will decrease! Don’t overthink about this part. Choose high quality color, we suggest high-gloss, especially if you want to use clear finish at the end.

Peel the tape

peeling paint tape

Once the board has completely dried its time to gently remove the tapes on edges and around the hole.

Carefully peel each tape, because if you do it too fast surface paint may come off.

Apply clear finish

The final phase is optional. If you have used high-gloss paint then you might want to apply varnish or polyurethane clear finish at the end.

First, dust off your boards thoroughly using duster.

Then apply the clear on edges first and then on the rest of the surface.

That’s it! Now you have high quality but cheap cornhole boards!

Care of cornhole boards

Wood waxingAlthough cornhole boards are quite large and heavy, storing and taking care of them is very easy.

These are the recommendations on how to take care of cornhole boards in order to make them last longer:

  • Store in dedicated and secure area without any sharp objects
  • Make sure that the storage place is dry, because wood absorbs water which makes it swell
  • Keep it out of dust and particles. Simple dusting with duster or damp towel will do the job of protecting the paint
  • Use wood care polishing wax, oil or conditioners if the boards start to lose shine
  • Correct the paint on places where it started to fade or where is damaged
  • Repair broken parts before storing
  • Don’t lend your boards to people who easily lose or break stuff

No matter how much you love your current boards and care about them, you will eventually need to replace them with new ones. Especially if you are using them frequently.

However, a lot of people run their equipment to the “end” without learning how to properly take care of the boards.

You can enjoy many more years if you invest just a little effort and time in simple maintenance! As you read, its really easy to properly store boards!

Repair once something is broken, take care of the paint on the surface and not only that you are going to save a few $ down the road, but you are going to enjoy your boards for many more years!

Corn hole board designs and stickers

Cool cornhole board decal and vinyl design ideas

There are many custom and unique board decals available on Etsy, at really affordable price. These decals are already cut for standard board dimension so you don’t have to worry about cutting them.

Beside decals you can use cutting machine to cut out vinyl and then use it for painting.

Use vinyl stencils to paint any design, logo or name you want. However for this you will need high quality and large vinyl cutting machine.

However, there are some affordable cutting machine options. But you can always find someone who has quality cutting machine and pay them a few bucks.

You can buy stencils at decalsextremeonline.com or vinyldisorder.com

By doing a simple Google search you will find many creative ideas on how to customize your boards.

Perfect place to find new design ideas is Pinterest.

If you are a UNC or Harley Davidson fan then look at those design ideas as well.

Lighted cornhole boards

Cornhole night light set with yellow color

Now that you have finished your board its time to add some handy features to it.

As you know, cornhole is a very addictive game, many Cornholers continue to play it even when it gets dark.

To make a board hole visible at night you can install night light LED sets on the bottom side of a board.

These lights can be installed using wood screws that you get along with the lights.

Board bottom side with night light set mounted

Once attached, the LED lights will shine your hole making it visible during night-time plays.

You can choose from variety of colors including white, green, red, blue.

All you need to run the board lights is two simple AA batteries. Most of these lights have life cycle of up to 100.000 hours.

Its your turn! 

Let us know if you have any questions in the comment section bellow…

Do you have any cornhole boards for sale? We will be more than happy to include your offer on our website!

Also feel free to share links to your own custom board sets that you built :)

How to Make Custom Cornhole Boards
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