How to Build a DIY Cornhole Set

DIY cornhole lawn game
Kevin Trimmer / Getty Images
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
  • Small drill bit for pilot holes
  • Screwdriver bit
  • Countersink bit
  • 5/16-inch drill bit
  • Miter saw or miter box
  • 4-foot level
  • Chalk reel (optional)
  • Sawhorses or safe cutting surface

Materials

  • 5 8-foot 1 x 3 boards
  • 4-by-8 foot sheet of 1/2-inch sanded (AC) plywood
  • 4 3-by-1/4-inch bolts with washers and nuts
  • 5/8-inch wood screws
  • Wood filler
  • Sandpaper
  • High-gloss paint and painting supplies
  • Polyurethane or other sealer (optional)
  • Round rubber bumpers

Instructions

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 46 1/2-inch pieces and another into two 24-inch pieces.

  2. Make Rectangular Frame

    Place the two short pieces over the longer piece's ends to create a 48-inch by 24-inch rectangle.

  3. Drill Pilot Holes and Fasten Pieces

    To prevent splitting, drill small pilot holes through the short boards 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.

  4. Repeat for Second Frame

    Repeat this process to build the second frame.

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 22 1/2-inch pieces.

  2. Mark Center Points

    Use a tape measure and pencil to mark the middle of each long side. The mark should fall at exactly 24 inches.

  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.

Add the Playing Surfaces

  1. Measure and Mark Playing Surface

    Just like the frame, the playing surfaces will measure 48 inches by 24 inches. This will ensure the edges of the plywood remain flush with the frame to prevent damage and splintering while maintaining regulation Cornhole board dimensions. Use a measuring tape, a 4-foot level, and a pencil to mark straight lines for cutting or a chalk reel if you have it.

    What Is a Chalk Reel?

    A chalk reel or chalk box is a tool that uses chalk and string to mark perfectly straight temporary lines for cutting and other applications.

  2. Cut Rectangular Playing Surfaces

    Use a circular saw to cut out the rectangular playing surfaces.

  3. Attached Surface to Frame

    Align the plywood playing surface on the frame until flush on all sides with the smooth side facing up. Drill pilot holes and fasten with 1 5/8-inch wood screws along the sides, countersinking if you plan to hide the screw heads. Repeat process on the second frame.

    Tip

    For added strength and durability, run a bead of wood glue or construction adhesive along the top of the frame before fasting the plywood playing surface with screws.

  4. Fill Screw Holes

    If you chose to countersink your screws, fill and hide any unwanted screw heads using wood filler and a putty knife. Allow the filler to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions, then sand until smooth.

Cut the Cornholes

  1. Mark Cornhole Center

    Just like the dimension of the boards, the position of the Cornhole itself is also regulated. A properly placed Cornhole is centered from left to right, 9 inches from the top of the board. Use a measuring tape and pencil to mark this point.

  2. Draw Circle for Hole

    The hole itself has a diameter of 6 inches, so a pencil compass should be set at 3 inches and positioned on the pre-determined point for accurate marking.

  3. Drill and Cut Hole

    Once the circle is drawn, use a drill fitted with a spade bit to open up a starter hole for the jigsaw, then cut out the circle. Repeat this process on the second board.

    Tip

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

Create the Legs

  1. Cut Rough Leg Pieces

    The easiest way to create four identical legs to is make one and use it as a template for the remaining three. However, you can precut all four leg pieces out of 1 x 3 boards to a length of at least 13 inches before starting on your template.

  2. Mark and Cut Rounded End

    The legs will swivel in and out of the frame for easy storage and transport, which will require one end to be rounded. To mark the circle, first, measure and mark a point 1 1/2-inch down from the top, centered side to side. Using the mark as a pivot point, use a compass to draw a semi-circle that reaches from one side of the board to the other. Cut along the semi-circle using 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.

  3. Drill Hole for Mounting Hardware

    At the marked center point, drill a 5/16-inch hole to allow for a 1/4-inch bolt. This will be used to attach the leg to the frame.

  4. Cut Angles Into End of Leg

    Because the board sits at an angle, the bottom of the leg will be cut at an angle. To find the length, measure 11 3/4-inches from the end of the semi-circle and make a mark. Using a miter saw or miter box, cut the end of the leg at a 25-degree angle, with the long side of the angle positioned on the mark.

  5. Use Template for Remaining Legs

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

Drill and Attach Legs to the Frames

  1. Mark the Frame

    To quickly mark the frame for bolt holes, place the legs inside the frame in the "closed" position and use a pencil to mark the frame through the leg's bolt hole. To ensure the legs freely open and close, you can slightly adjust the leg away from the corner before marking.

  2. Drill Hole

    Drill the frame at the mark using the same 5/16-inch bit that was used for the leg. Repeat this process on all four legs.

  3. Attach Legs

    Attach the legs using 1/4-inch nuts and bolts and washers on each side. Snug until tight but loose enough to swivel. The legs should be positioned to where the angle sits flat on the ground when opened.

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 21-inch pieces.

  2. Mark Legs and Drill Pilot Holes

    Mark a line about 2 inches up from the long side of each leg, place the brace on the line and drill pilot holes on each end. Countersink if you plan to hide the screw heads.

  3. Attach Cross-Brace

    Fasten the cross-brace on each side using 1 5/8-inch wood screws. Repeat on the second board and fill holes with wood filler if desired, sanding smooth once dry.

Complete the Project

  1. Sand Until Smooth

    Sand all surfaces and edges with sandpaper until smooth and splinter-free.

  2. Finish With Paint or Stain

    Paint or stain and seal with your desired finish. If painting, use high-gloss, exterior-grade paint to allow the bags to glide freely across the top. If staining, finish with a protective sealant like polyurethane, following the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.

  3. Add Rubber Bumpers

    Add rubber bumpers to each leg as a final step.

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.