DIY Kids: Build Your Own Cornhole Set

Looking for an outdoor game that's a real crowd-pleaser? Build a regulation set of cornhole boards, and let the games begin.

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DIY Cornhole - Backyard Game

Photo: bobvila.com

Nothing says family fun like a little bit of competition! When the weather’s nice, there are many great backyard games to choose from, but cornhole—with its traditional beanbag-toss vibe—invites kids of all ages to play and enjoy. Cornhole boards are of pretty simple construction, easy enough to complete in a weekend with the plans below. You can even make your own regulation bags if you have a sewing machine, the skills, and some extra feed corn lying around the house. That wasn’t economically feasible for us, so we found sets of beanbags on Amazon for between $20 and $40, instead. Once you’ve built your board, procured the bags, and picked teams, you might just find yourself at the start of a new family tradition—and/or grudge match!

SKILL LEVEL: MODERATE
There are some basic power tools and saws involved in this project, but nothing the average DIYer can’t handle. Smaller kids might need to take a break when the jigsaw comes out—it’s loud and too dangerous for little hands. But with your supervision, tweens and teens will be able to learn some basic woodworking skills. You can simplify the project by asking your big-box hardware store to cut the plywood and 2×4 boards at the time of purchase.

TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- 4 4-foot 2×4 boards (for the long sides of the frame)
- 4 21-inch 2×4 boards (for the short sides of the frame)
- Drill with wood bit and Phillips-head driver
- 16 3-inch deck screws
- 2 2′x4′ plywood boards, 1/2″ veneer
- Wood glue
- 1-1/4” trim screws (about 40)
- Compass and pencil
- Jigsaw
- Sandpaper
- 4 12-inch 2×4 boards (for the legs)
- Wood filler or spackle
- Spackling knife
- 3/8-inch wood drill bit
- 4-3/8-inch x 3-1/2-inch carriage bolts, with nuts and washers
- Hammer
- Primer/stain killer
- Painter’s tape
- Paint of your choice
- Polyacrylic finish coat
- 2 utility pulls (anywhere between 5″ and 6-1/2” should work)
- 8 regulation cornhole beanbags (6″ x 6″, each filled with 2 cups’ worth of feed corn)

 

STEP 1

DIY Cornhole - Step 01

Photo: bobvila.com

These instructions will walk you through building one board at a time. Arrange the rectangular frame of your first cornhole board by laying out your 2×4 lumber, placing two 4-foot lengths parallel to each other and connected at each end by a 21-inch length. The shorter sides should go inside of the long sides.

 

STEP 2

DIY Cornhole - Step 02

Photo: bobvila.com

Connect the pieces by drilling holes, two through each end of the 4-foot lengths, and fastening with the 3-inch screws.

 

STEP 3

DIY Cornhole - Step 03

Photo: bobvila.com

Run a bead of wood glue along the top edge of the frame, and lay the 2′x4’ piece of plywood on top. Then, attach the plywood to the frame with 1-1/4-inch trim screws (we used approximately 20 on each board).

 

STEP 4

DIY Cornhole - Step 04

Photo: bobvila.com

Next up: Creating the hole. For a regulation cornhole board, the hole must be 6 inches in diameter and centered in the board, 9 inches from the top. Mark a point on the board that is 9 inches from the top and 12 inches from each side. With a compass set at a 3-inch radius, draw a circle from that point as a guide for cutting the hole.

 

STEP 5

DIY Cornhole - Step 05

Photo: bobvila.com

Now, drill a hole large enough to accommodate a jigsaw blade somewhere along the edge of the circle. Then, insert the jigsaw, and cut along the guide line to create the hole. Sand the edges of the cut smooth with sandpaper.

 

STEP 6

DIY Cornhole - Step 06

Photo: bobvila.com

Set your board aside to work on the legs. One end of each 12-inch leg will be rounded off. To make this happen, mark a point that is both 1-3/4 inches from the top and 1-3/4 inches from each side. Set your compass at 1-3/4 inches and draw a half circle from that mark. Cut with a jigsaw, and sand smooth.

Then, place the leg inside the top of the cornhole board (rounded side at the top), up against one side of the frame, and drill a 3/8” hole through the center point. Continue through to the outside of the frame—this will be where you attach the leg with the carriage bolt, washer, and nut. Repeat for each leg.

 

STEP 7

DIY Cornhole - Step 07

Photo: bobvila.com

Fill all the screw heads—as well as any scratches or pits—with wood filler or spackle. When that dries, you can sand it smooth.

 

STEP 8

DIY Cornhole - Step 08

Photo: bobvila.com

Apply a coat of stain killer/primer to the board’s top, sides, and all legs. While it dries, dream up how you will design your backyard game. The traditional decoration for cornhole includes a triangle that points up toward the hole in the board, but you can customize it any way you please. Use painter’s tape to mask out your design, and paint with colors that suit you. Finish it with a top coat of polyacrylic so that the beanbags slide well across the board’s surface.

 

STEP 9

DIY Cornhole - Step 09

Photo: bobvila.com

Attach the legs to the inside of the frame, fitting the carriage bolts, washers, and nuts through the holes you drilled. Then, attach a utility pull to the center of one side of the frame’s exterior so you can easily tote this game from the garage to the backyard come game time.

 

Repeat Steps 1 through 10 to make your second board, and you’ll be ready to play. Regulations require that there be exactly 27 feet between each board’s bottom end, but feel free to make accommodations for kids (and maybe even some of the grownups!). So what are you waiting for? Just call up your extended family or neighbors, and let the games begin.

DIY Cornhole - DIY Backyard Game Set

Photo: bobvila.com


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