How To Build A Backyard Cornhole Set

If you have a great outdoor kitchen and seating area, your backyard just might be your favorite place to be while at home. And who could blame you?

Outdoor living spaces are perfect for enjoying meals, playing games, and having fun any day of the week. It’s no wonder that you want to be out there as much as possible — especially on crisp autumn days when the sun is shining!

If your family loves cooking in your outdoor kitchen and spending time together in the backyard, a cornhole set could be an awesome addition to your current setup. Cornhole provides hours of entertainment and is loved by kids and adults of all ages. You can set your game up in the grass or right on your patio.

All you need to play is two wooden boards and eight bean-bags. You can even build your own cornhole set if you’re up for a DIY project! If that sounds good to you, keep scrolling for a full list of materials, what tools you’ll need, and step-by-step instructions.

Tools:

  • Jigsaw
  • Circular saw
  • Random orbit sander
  • Drill with drill bit and Phillips-head screw bit
  • 1/2″ drill bit
  • Tape measure
  • Compass
  • Clamps

Materials:

  • Two 24″ x 48″ pieces of ½” thick plywood
  • Four 2×4 x 48″
  • Four 2×4 x 21″
  • Four 2×4 x 11-1/2″
  • 1-5/8″ deck screws
  • 3″ deck screws
  • Four 1/2″ x 4″ carriage bolts
  • Four flat washers
  • Four wing nuts
  • Wood putty
  • Primer

Step 1: Construct the boards.

According to the American Cornhole Association, each board should be 47.5 to 48 inches in length and 23.5 to 24 inches wide. The surface of your board also needs to be made of smooth plywood that is at least a 1/2-inch thick.

To build a cornhole board, you will need two 2×4 x 48″ and two 2×4 x 21″ pieces for the frame. You will then use your 3″ deck screws to fasten the 2x4s into a 2’ x 4’ box with the 21” pieces inside the 48” pieces. Then you will lay the ½” plywood on top of the box and fasten it using 1-5/8” screws. Repeat this process to build the second board.

Step 2: Cut and attach the legs to the board.

Cornhole boards do not lay flat on the ground, so you need to attach legs that will position the board at an angle. The ACA’s official rules state that the back of the cornhole board needs to be approximately 12 inches from the ground to the highest point of the deck.

For the legs, you’ll need your two 2×4 x 11-1/2″ cuts of wood and will use your jigsaw to make a 3-1/2″ radius cut on one end of each leg. You can do this by measuring 1-3/4″ down the length of the 2×4, marking it with a straight line, and using your compass to draw an arc from the center of the line.

Clamp the legs into place by turning the board over and laying each leg parallel against the corner with the radius side facing inward. Vertically inside the radius, mark the center of each 2×4, and then drill a 1/2″ hole through the legs and the sides of the board. Use your carriage bolts, washers, and wing nuts to attach the legs.

To make sure your legs meet regulation, flip the board back over, measure 12 inches from top to bottom, and mark the legs. Use your circular saw to cut off any extra length from the ends.

Repeat this process to attach the other two legs to your second board.

RTA2-Cutting Hole in Cornhole Board DIYStep 3: Cut a circular hole into the board.

The hole where you toss your bean-bag needs to be six inches in diameter with its center nine inches from the top and 12 inches from each side of the board’s edges. Measure the center point and mark it, then use your compass to outline a 6″ diameter circle around the center point. Drill a hole along the circle’s edge, so that you can cut it out using a jigsaw. Repeat this step on the second board.

Step 4: Sand the board down.

Once you have cut out the hole in your cornhole board it is time to use your random orbit sander to smooth your project down. After you sand down your boards, putty your screws. Next apply your primer and wait for it to dry. Once your coat of primer has dried, sand down your board a second time to ensure there are no rough edges.

10-20-20 RTA3-Cornhole GameStep 5: Paint your cornhole boards.

Painting your cornhole boards is not necessary, but it allows you to add your own personal touch to the game. Cornhole boards can also be hung on a wall when not in use, so they can double as cool art!

When painting your cornhole boards, use exterior-grade paint to ensure it will stand strong against outdoors elements. Since you will be playing cornhole outdoors, also consider purchasing weather-proof bean-bags rather than the traditional ones stuffed with corn feed. These versions are made with plastic pellets, so they are safe to use and store outside in a kitchen pantry cabinet or storage box.

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