Very simple cornhole toss construction project

finished cornhole toss board with bagsSo being Christmas time, I heard that someone close to me wanted a cornhole toss game.  This person thought that I could easily build one in my constantly-expanding shop, and casually mentioned to me that it might make a nice present.  Not being one to turn down a challenge (at least not a mechanical one) I decided I was going to make a set.  Looking around on the internet, I didn’t find any very complete plans that were simple to make, so I made my own instructions.  Here they are in a step-by-step format.  Also, if you’re looking for a tailgate game and are truly lazy or hard-up for cash, you should consider making a ladder toss game instead (really fun too).  Regardless, here are the steps to make your own cornhole toss game.

STEP1: GET YOUR SUPPLIES

To make a cornhole game set with minimal effort, you will need the following supplies from your local hardware store:

  • 3 x 8 ft 2x4s==> cut into 4 x 48 inch pieces and 4 x 12 1/2 inch pieces for 5 step construction (angled legs) ==> 11 1/2 inches for 4 step construction (no angle on legs)
  • 1 x 1/2 inch sheet of plywood ==> cut into two 2 ft x 4 ft pieces
  • 12 x # 8 FHWS (flat head wood screws) – 1 1/2 inch length
  • 8 x # 8 FHWS – 2 1/2 inch length
  • You’ll also need bean bags – I’ve listed some sources at the end of this article

Additionally, you will need the following tools:

  • Drill and 1/8 inch drill bit (or you can make your own drill out of a pencil sharpener)
  • Phillips head screwdriver (#2 bit works nicely)
  • Jig Saw, or a 6 inch hole saw (I used an older Skill jig saw model # 4395)
  • if no jig saw, you’ll need some way to cut the 2x4s (have the hardware store do it if possible)
  • tape measure
  • compass (needed for angled leg construction)
  • protractor (optional)
  • carpenter’s square (optional)
  • sandpaper (optional)
  • 3 inch or larger vise

2 cornhole boards on ground with correct graphics1If possible, have your local hardware store do the cuts on the wood listed.  As shown to the right in pink, it’s important for the grain of the wood to be in the direction of the 24 inch side.  This will give it strength in the 24 inch direction, while the 2 x 4s will give it strength in the 48 inch direction.

If your hardware store didn’t do it, cut two of the 2 x 4s into equal 48 inch lengths.  Cut the remaining one into four 12 1/2 inch pieces or 11 1/2 if you’re not going to cut an angle on the legs.

STEP 2: ATTACH 2X4S

At this point, you’ll want to attach the plywood to the 2x4s.  Line them up with the edges of the plywood piece as shown to the right.  Put the uncut sides inline with the side that will be lower when assembled (opposite the hole).  This will give you a very flat edge to hit against the ground and give you a more accurate board angle.

For each side, hold the uncut sides steady (clamp if possible) and drill a 1/8 inch pilot hole for the first #8 screw at 3/4 inch from the end and 3/4 inch from the side.  Once this is done, screw a 1 1/2 inch screw into it.  Measure 24 inches from the end of the plywood and then 3/4 inch from the other side and attach screws there as well.  Both should be 3/4 inch from the side like the first.  Screw position is illustrated with the blue + signs in the upper-right photo.wood screws for cornhole board

STEP 3: CUT THE HOLE

1 unfinished standing with graphics

The Horizontal “24″ should actually be 12 (Thanks Howard!)

Once you have this done, you will need to cut the hole.  The hole should be 6″ in diameter and is centered 9 inches below the upper edge and 24 inches from each side.  If you have a 6 inch hole saw, (yes they make them that big) just center it as shown and drill away.

If you don’t have a hole saw, the best way would be to set a protractor at 3 inches radius and draw a 6 inch diameter hole.  Drill a pilot hole somewhere in the middle and saw out the hole with a jig saw.  If you don’t have a protractor or a hole saw, put a mark in the middle of where the hole should be, then measure and mark several (8 is a decent number) points 3 inches away from this hole using your tape measure or ruler.  This will give you a good approximation of a circle while cutting; the more holes you mark, the better.  Drill it out and saw the hole formed by the marks.

STEP 4: ATTACH THE LEGS

clamping legs on a cornhole tossAt this point, your cornhole board is taking shape and you’re ready to attach the legs.  Cut the 2x4s to size if you haven’t – 11 1/2 inches if you don’t want angles on the bottom, 12 1/2 if you do).  You’ll need some sort of clamp for this with an opening of greater than 3 inches to get around two 2 x 4s (this explains why it’s 3 inches in case you were wondering).  Clamp the first leg on, aligning it with the end of the plywood piece.  Drill a 1/8 inch pilot hole for your first screw near the middle of the leg and towards the top.  If you’re confident in your clamping, go ahead and drill the second hole below it.  If not, put the first screw in while attached like this and then drill the second hole – this will give it more strength while drilling the second hole.  Tighten down the screw or screws that remain and your legs are fixed!

STEP 5: CUT ANGLE ON LEGS

two cornhole setups without cut legsIf you decided to do absolutely the simplest cornhole toss setup possible, you can use your set right now.  I recommend one more step, sawing angles on the legs.  According to the apparent official rules, the top point of the board with respect to the ground should be 12″.  After doing some trig or drawing it in a CAD program, the cut you’ll need to do on the bottom of the legs should be 13 degrees.

cornhole board and tape measureProbably the best way to figure out where to start the cut for the legs is to take a carpenter’s square and measure from the ground to foot angles marked on cornhole boardthe highest point.  Subtract 12 inches from this value and you’ll have how many inches from the floor you need to mark the edge to be cut.  I didn’t have a large square to do this with, so I instead used the remaining 2 x 4 and tape measure as an improvised square.  Mark it on the far side of the 2 x 4.  Take your protractor and mark a line from 10 to 13 degrees off horizontal that intersects the mark you just made.  Align the angle so that the inner edge is shorter than the outer.  Cut this line on all four and you’re almost done.

STEP 6: PAINT IT

As long as you’ve gone to the trouble of constructing your set, you might as well paint it.  I used “Rust Oleum Painter’s Touch” for both the primer and paint.  The nice thing about this paint is it’s already mixed and it’s water-soluble.  So you don’t have to use paint thinner to clean your brush.  This is quite a bit easier, and it’s better for the environment as far as I know (which I don’t actually know).

You should sand the plywood surface first to gcornhole board painted redive everything a smooth finish.  Then prime it (shown in gray above the red board), and wait the recommended time for your primer to dry.  Then paint it with whatever color you want.  Home Depot can apparently mix up your paint to match your preferred football team if you plan to use it for tailgating.  As this was a gift for a FSU alumni, I thought the stock red would work.  Maybe I could have gotten the paint for free if I was Peter Warrick.

cornhole board fit into an Acura TLOne neat thing about this design is that when it’s finished the two boards can be stacked together for easier storage or to fit in a car.  Although it was a tight fit, I got both of them into a 2006 Acura TL which is basically a Honda Accord if you happen to have either of those.

WHAT ABOUT BEAN BAGS?

According to the most official-sounding rules I could find, bean bags for cornhole should be made per the following:

8. The corn bags shall be made from two fabric squares with a quarter-inch double stitched seam on all four sides. The corn bags should be made from 12 oz / sq yd duck canvas and may be any color that is easy to see during Cornhole play. Each bag shall be filled with approximately 2 cups of corn feed and finished bags should be a minimum of 6″ X 6″ square and weigh between 14 and 16 ounces.

So you can make them yourself if you have the proper sewing knowledge, or buy them.  Possibly you local sporting goods store has some – I bought some “baggo” brand bags at my local store.  A quick search of Amazon.com for “cornhole bags” produced these results (generally around $20 for 8).  I haven’t tried it, but possibly these could be bleached for a totally custom bag as I did with a shirt in this post.  Or you could be a jerk and show up with some scuba shot weights disguised as a cornhole bag.  People probably wouldn’t like that too much.

cornhole toss with a puppy (Evie)

Your finished Cornhole toss boards in action

Leave a comment ?

17 Comments.

  1. Draftsight Review – Like AutoCAD, but free! | JCOPRO.NET - pingback on December 29, 2010 at 9:57 am
  2. seriously well done instructions!
    and i really like the scuba weights suggestion :)

  3. Finishing your MAME project | - pingback on January 19, 2011 at 8:05 pm
  4. Draftsight Review – Like AutoCAD, but free! | JCOPRO.NET - pingback on February 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm
  5. These look great! Thanks for the tips… I need to make 5 of these for an event coming up and your directions have by far been the most helpful and informative. Thanks!

    • Thanks so much! I hope they turn out well. If you get some good pictures based on these instructions, I’d would love to put them up!

  6. Glad you liked it! It was a fun project.

  7. Finishing your MAME project | JCOPRO.NET - pingback on March 10, 2011 at 5:07 pm
  8. Summer and Tailgating DIY Projects Roundup - Hack a Day - pingback on August 10, 2012 at 7:01 am
  9. How to Make a Cornhole Toss Set with Laser Cutter Access - pingback on August 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm
  10. Ladder Toss Game - pingback on April 10, 2013 at 5:58 pm
  11. Hi Jeremy. I liked your layout and instructions. Please don’t take my correction to one of your steps harshly. I just spot things like this in general. Your reference to the center of the hole is 24 inches from the side. It should be 12 inches as the total width is 24 inches. sorry to be too corrective! AL.

  12. What a difference 25 years make. We made the same game but our game was heavier. We used 3/4 inch plywood finished on 1 side. The game was 24″ by 38″ long with hole 7 inches from top. We had a full covered back, side and front, and they were heavy. I made about 7 of these games. My next 2 will be made with these instructions. Has to be a tad lighter because I am so much older.

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