Cornhole Boards to Reduce Boredom

Will Browar playing the drums

Will Browar

July 19, 2020

These days we're spending a lot of time at home. A lot. Pretty much all of it really.

To give the kids a reason to get outside and have a little fun, I put together a cornhole set using some 2x4s, plywood, and spray paint. It's a pretty simple build and there are lots of plans available online, so I found one and got to work.

The Hole in Cornhole

It starts with two 2x4 foot plywood boards with a six inch hole centered nine inches from the top edge. I picked up a six inch hole saw bit and drilled a hole into each board.

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The hole saw bit did a good job at creating the holes but the edges felt a little rigid, so I used a rounding bit and routed out the top and bottom edges. I also routed the top of the plywood to soften the edges and smooth down the corners.

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The frame was made up of 4 pieces of 2x4. I screwed the frames together and then screwed pilot holes into the plywood tops.

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I countersunk the screws to keep them from poking out and affecting gameplay.

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Feeted

The feet are where I strayed from the instructions a little bit. I didn’t have bolts on hand to create the foldable feet many of the guides included, and while a ten minute drive to a nearby hardware store is usually how I would remedy this situation, I wasn’t going to throw on a mask and make a trip in this case. Thanks, SARS-CoV-2.

Now worries. I cut the feet down and screwed them in without using any glue. This way I could replace them when I have the bolts handy.

I know I could use geometry to figure out the correct angles needed to cut the feet so they'll lay flat on the ground. Several plans noted the correct angle, as well, but I used this method that involve a spool of twine and a pencil:

  1. Flip the board upside down and place one of the 2x4s that will be cut for the feet into one of the corners of the board.
  2. In this case, measure 12 inches from the bench and mark the side of the 2x4 closer to the corner of the frame.
  3. On the same side of the frame, but at the other end, place one end of the string under the board and pull the spool up and over to the mark on the 2x4.
  4. Mark where the string intersects with 2x4. From here you can put the string away.
  5. If you have a miter saw that’s angle can be adjusted, you can use the markings to adjust the saw to make the cut.
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After cutting the feet down to size I screwed them into place. I flipped the frames over and sanded them down to remove any rough spots on the top and the sides.

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Paint, My Nemesis (but Maybe Not So Much This Time)

I wanted to paint the boards but didn’t want to go with the triangle pattern I’ve seen in many of the plans. I got the idea to do a racing stripe from some Matchbox cars the kids have around the house. I had some red and black spray paint around along with some leftover white paint and primer.

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I painted the top and sides of each of the boards with the white paint/primer mix. I had just enough for one coat so I didn't do the bottom or the feet.

For the racing stripe I wanted to alternate black and red on each board, so I taped up all of the sides and taped off the areas where the black paint would eventually go.

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I started with the red paint because I thought that Black paint would do a better job at covering up any stray red paint.

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After a couple of coats with the red paint, I peeled the tape off of the tops and took a look at the results.

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After the red paint was dry I covered it up with masking tape in preparation for the black paint. This was an easy thing to do because I was working with straight lines. I can see needing to take a different approach if you were to create more complicated shapes or curves.

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I sprayed the boards with two coats of black paint and waited for them to dry.

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Shortly after the second coat, I took the tape off and took a look at the result.

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I’m not always a fan of working with paint, but I’m happy with how these turned out. There are a couple of places where the lines didn’t match up correctly, but for the most part they achieved the look I was going for.

Now the black and red paint wasn’t an accident. Thanks to the Wirecutter, I found a set of eight cornhole bags in red and black. These are pretty simple bags but they seem durable enough to withstand the wear and tear my kids will surly bring to them.

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After letting the boards dry over night we gave them a quick play test.

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Fin

Being such a simple build it was nice to work on a quick project in these times where my free time is at an a minimum. This is the first project I’ve done this year and it was nice to take some time away from programming and thinking about work to build something for my family. I also got some help from my older son and it was awesome to spend some time showing him a thing or two about paint and woodworking.

I’m really looking forward to spending more time in the shop and I have several projects in mind that I want to tackle when I can get to them. For now I can’t wait until our lives can go back to normal and when the risk of getting COVID-19 is behind us. Until then we have a new outdoor game to help us pass the time.

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