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Build a set of Cornhole Game Boards

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Build a set of Cornhole Game Boards

It's officially summertime and that means a lot of things here in Kansas City. Sunburns, barbecue, bug bites, barbecue, tailgaiting, swimming, picnics and of course, cornhole. It is the perfect social game. The concept is easy and any age or skill level can play. We decided to make a tournament-ready set of boards to celebrate this summer with!

Listed below are all the supplies needed. All can be picked up at the local Sutherlands near you!

Materials cut and ready to assemble

TOOLS

This is a good project for all levels of DIY-ers. This was my first time making this, and the hardest part was making the foldable legs. If you want to skip that step, and make the legs stationary, that simplifies the project quite a bit! However, for storage purposes, I felt that folding legs was the way to go.

Framing the body

Squaring up the corner

The first step is to frame out the base. I did this by making sure the 21" 2x4s are on the inside of the 48" 2x4s, then putting two screws into each corner. Always make sure to make pilot holes first to make the base extra sturdy. Once you have finished the first, repeat the exact same process to make the second base. They should be the exact same size.

2 completed frames

screws are flush

The next part is to add the platform. To make sure that the platform stays flat and flush to the base, add a screw to each corner, going in diagonal pattern each time. I used 2 ½" screws to make sure that the platform was securely attached to the base. I placed the screws about 2 inches apart all the way around the board. At this point, I made sure to sand the entire board with 120 grit paper. This is just to get rid of all the sharp edges and any imperfections on the surface of the board. We want the board to be smooth so the bags don’t get stuck on anything. I like to round out the edges and corners slightly since people tend to walk close to the boards.

Next, I made the marks to center where the hole should be. I marked nine inches down from the top and twelve inches in from the side. Using my drill, I drilled into the center mark a few centimeters. This was so I could find where the center is once the hole saw is attached to my drill. This part does take a while, so it is recommended to use an electric drill for this process so you don’t have to pause to recharge your batteries. You could also use a jigsaw for this step, however I wanted to use a hole saw to be sure the hole was perfectly round, because I don’t trust myself to free hand it.

hole saw

drilling with a hole saw

When the hole saw gets about half-way through the platform, I flipped it over to drill from the other side. This just made sure that there are no sharp edges or breakage around the hole. After the hole breaks through, it’s important to sand the inside of the hole. This makes sure that there are no rough edges for the bean bags to catch on. Be sure to have some good music to play during this portion of the project.

hole is drilled

Once I was done with the board, I was eager to start staining. I would recommend building the legs first, but I didn’t. Staining is my favorite part of any project, so I just went ahead and started. Make sure your entire board has been sanded down with 220 grit paper so it is completely smooth. Then, make sure to completely wipe it free of sawdust so the stain will go on smoothly. I decided to do a duo-tone stain to give it the vintage bowling alley feel.

Creating stripes

The first step is to stain the entire board with the honey walnut stain, or whatever lighter color you choose. Gel stain is much thicker than usual wood stains, so be sure to stain and wipe it away quickly. If you let the stain sit too long it becomes tacky and thick. If you have stain that has dried to quickly, it is easy to fix. Apply more stain on top and firmly wipe away the stain quickly. It helps loosen up any dried stain. You could also paint your boards with colors or leave it unstained and just coated with Polycrylic. After staining the first color, make sure to let the stain dry completely. I let it dry overnight just to be sure.

I then started to tape off the area that I wanted to stay light so I could apply the darker color next. Because stain has a tendency to spill or leak even under tape, I used a box cutter to cut into the wood along the borders of the tape. This makes it so that the stain won’t spread beyond the tape.

setting up the legs

Once the second stain has been applied, let it dry. During this time, I started working on the legs. On the legs, I marked the center of the board, and 1 ½" down. From this point, I used a compass to mark how I was going to round out the legs. This is so that the legs can easily fold up into the board when needed. Once the boards were marked, I used my jigsaw to cut the corners off. Then, I made sure to sand where I had cut, just to make sure that there was no possibilty the legs would get stuck.

lets

On the other end of the boards, I marked up ½" up from the end, marking it on one side. I then drew a direct line from that point down to the opposite corner to make a slant in the board. This is so that the legs will lay flush against the ground when set up. I then stained the legs and let them dry.

To attach the legs, I drilled a ⅜" hole directly through the center of the rounded edge of the leg. I held it where I wanted the leg to go on the inside of the board, letting the drill mark the inside of the base. Then I continued on and drilled a hole through the base. Once this is all done, simply push the carriage bolt through the base and the leg, using a hammer to get the bolt flush against the wood. Simply add the washer and wing nut and you have a moveable leg! Continue the same process for all four legs.

The final step was to add polycrylic. This is what allows the bags to slide a little, as well as protect the stain from being damage while playing. I did one coat, sanded it with 220 grit paper, then did a second coat, sanding it once more to make sure it was perfectly smooth.

The finished product

Ready to play cornhole

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