How to Build a DIY Cornhole Set

finished half of a cornhole set

The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $50 to $100

Take your tailgating to the next level (or simply boost your backyard BBQ's fun factor) with a set of made-from-scratch Cornhole boards. This no-fuss DIY version features fold-in legs for easy storage, lightweight construction for effortless transport, and loads of personal styling potential. Once finished, complete your personalized Cornhole set with some custom bean bags for a perfect pairing.

This tutorial has been broken up into sections to make construction a simple process.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Pencil compass
  • Circular saw
  • Jigsaw with wood blade
  • Drill-driver with piloting-countersink bit and screwdriver bit
  • 3/8-inch drill bit
  • Drill bit for leg bolts
  • Miter saw or miter box

Materials

  • 3 8-foot-long 1x3 boards
  • 2-by-4-foot piece of 3/4-inch sanded (AC) plywood
  • 2 5/16-inch bolts with washers and nuts
  • 1 5/8-inch wood screws
  • Wood filler
  • Sandpaper
  • High-gloss paint and painting supplies
  • Polyurethane or other wood finish (optional)
  • 1/2-inch-tall-by-3/4-inch-diameter round rubber bumpers

Instructions

materials for building a cornhole set

The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

Build the Board Frames

  1. Cut Lumber

    According to the American Cornhole Association, a regulation cornhole board's dimensions are 48 inches long by 24 inches wide. To create a regulation-sized board frame, use a miter saw to cut a 1 x 3 board into two 47-inch pieces and another into two 21 1/2inch pieces.

    cutting plywood with a circular saw

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  2. Make Rectangular Frame

    Place the two short pieces over the longer piece's ends to create a rectangular frame.

    rectangular wooden frame

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni 

  3. Drill Pilot Holes and Fasten Pieces

    To prevent splitting, drill small pilot holes through the short boards, near each end, and into the long ones before screwing, then tightly fasten with 1 5/8-inch wood screws. If you desire to hide the screws with wood filler, use a countersink bit.

    Tip

    Drill the pilot holes and drive the screws so that the screws are countersunk about 1/8 inch below the wood surface. This allows you to hide the screw heads with wood filler for a finished look. 

    drilling pilot holes

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  4. Repeat for Second Frame

    Repeat this process to build the second frame.

    marking plywood

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

Attach the Cross-Braces

  1. Cut Cross-Braces

    For added strength, each cornhole board needs one cross-brace. Cut a 1 x 3 board into two 21 1/2-inch pieces.

    marking a piece of wood

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni 

  2. Fit Cross Braces

    Fit one of the cross-braces across the middle of each frame so it is centered end to end on the frame.

    fitting cross braces

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  3. Pre-Drill and Fasten Cross-Braces

    Center the cross-brace on each side's mark, drill pilot holes, and fasten on both sides with two 1 5/8-inch wood screws. Repeat on the second frame. Countersink if you plan to hide the screws with wood filler.

    drilling pilot holes

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

Add the Playing Surfaces

  1. Cut the Pieces

    Cut two pieces of 3/4-inch plywood to 47 1/2 inches long by 23 1/2 wide.

    using a circular saw

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  2. Center the Plywood

    Center each plywood piece over one of the frames so the plywood edges overhang the frame by 1/4 inch at all sides.

    placing a board over one of the frames

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  3. Drill Pilot Holes and Fasten Plywood

    Drill pilot holes and fasten the plywood with 1 5/8-inch wood screws along each edge.

    drilling pilot holes

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

Fill the Screw Holes

  1. Fill Screw Holes, Then Smooth Filler

    Fill the screw holes with wood filler or putty, then smooth the filler with a putty knife. Let the filer dry as directed. 

    using wood filler

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

Cut the Cornholes

  1. Mark Center-Points

    Mark a center-point 8 7/8 inches down from the top of each playing surface, and centered side to side.

    marking a piece of plywood

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  2. Draw Circle for Hole

    Use a pencil compass to draw a 6-inch-diameter circle around each center-point.

    cutting a hole

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  3. Drill and Cut Hole

    Drill a 3/8-inch starter hole just inside the circle. Insert the blade of the jigsaw into the starter hole and cut along the inside of the circle to complete the cornhole cutout. 

    Alternatively, if you own a router, you can cut the holes with a straight bit and a circle-cutting jig. Make the cut in four or five passes so as to not overwork the router or cause the bit to burn.

    Tip

    The smaller and sharper the jigsaw blade, the easier it will be to make tight turns when cutting wood.

    completing the circle cut out

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

Create the Legs

  1. Cut Piece, Mark Center-Point, and Cut Semicircle

    Cut one piece of 1x3 to at least 13 inches long. Mark a center-point about 1 1/2 inches from one end of the board, and centered side to side. Using the compass, draw a semicircle at the end of the board, pivoting on the center-point. Cut the semicircle with a jigsaw. 

    Warning

    Jigsaws can be jumpy when cutting near the edge of a board. To be safe, clamp the board down to a work surface, avoid loose-fitting clothing, and wear appropriate safety gear.

    drawing a semi-circle on wood

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  2. Drill Hole at the Center-Point

    Drill a hole for a 2 5/16-inch bolt (to attach the leg assembly to the frame) at the center-point, using a bit that is slightly larger than the threaded shank of the bolt. 

    drilling pilot holes

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  3. Cut Angles Into End of Leg

    Measure from the semicircular end and draw a line across the leg at 11 3/4 inches. Using a miter saw or miter box, cut the end of the leg at a 25-degree angle; the angle should start at one end of the marked line and angle upward toward the semicircular end of the leg. 

    marking and cutting wood

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  4. Cut and Drill Remaining Legs

    Repeat this on the remaining three legs, using the template as a guide to speed up the process.

    cutting the rest of the legs

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni 

  5. Sand the Edges

    Sand all of the legs and the cornhole boards so all edges and surfaces are smooth and free of splinters. 

    sanding wood

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

Drill and Attach Legs to the Frames

  1. Make Marks and Drill

    Make a mark on each long side of each frame, 1 1/8 inch down from the underside of the plywood and 2 inches from the top end of the frame (nearest the cornhole). Drill a hole at each mark, using the same bit you used for the bolt holes on the legs. 

    marking holes

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

Attach Leg Braces

  1. Cut Braces

    Adding a brace between the legs is optional, but will add strength to the board when opened. To do so, cut a 1 x 3 into two 20-inch pieces.

    cutting out legs

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  2. Place Legs on a Flat Surface

    Place two of the legs on a flat work surface, with the long side edge on the surface.

    placing braces on the wood

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  3. Position Braces

    Position one of the leg braces between the legs about 2 inches up from the pointed ends.

    gauging where the braces should go

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  4. Drill Pilot Holes and Fasten Brace

    Drill pilot holes, and fasten the brace with two 1 5/8-inch screws at each end.

    drilling pilot holes in the braces

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  5. Repeat Process

    Repeat the same process to complete the other leg assembly. If desired, fill the screw holes, let the filler dry, then sand the filler smooth. 

    cutting out legs

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

Complete the Project

  1. Fit Leg Assembly Inside the Frame

    Place each cornhole board upside down on your work surface. Fit a leg assembly inside the board frame so the angled ends of the legs are pointing up and the long points of the angles are closest to the top end of the board (the end with the cornhole).

    attaching braces and legs

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  2. Add Washers and Tighten Lock Nut

    Add a washer to each leg bolt and insert it through the outside of the frame and through the leg. Add another flat washer and a lock nut to each bolt. Tighten the lock nut so that the leg assembly is secure but the legs can still fold up easily into the board frame. 

    tightening the lock nut

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni 

  3. Turn Assembly Over

    Turn the assembly over on your work surface and open the legs so that your new board appears ready for play. (Note that the bottom of the legs won't be quite parallel with the ground because you still need to attach the 1/2-inch rubber bumpers to the legs after applying the finish.)

    flipping the project over

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

  4. Finish Boards With Paint or Stain

    Finish the boards as desired. At the very least, paint the playing surfaces with high-gloss paint, which will allow the bean bags to slide somewhat on the surface. If desired, finish the remaining wood parts with paint or with a stain and/or a protective topcoat, such as polyurethane. Let the finishes dry as directed.

    adding stain to the wood

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni 

  5. Add Rubber Bumpers to Legs

    Add the rubber bumpers to the bottom of the legs to complete the project.

    adding rubber bumpers to the legs

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni 

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. "Official Cornhole Rules." American Cornhole Association.