How To Choose The Perfect Material For Your Cornhole Boards

The perfect Cornhole boards for one person might not be the same for another. There are two core material types that Cornhole boards are made from. They each have their advantages. It just comes down to choosing which benefits are best for you. Take a look at the ideas below. They should help you find your ideal fit. Choosing wrong could cost you time and money.

How do they play?
Most Cornhole enthusiasts would agree that wooden Cornhole boards are preferred over plastic when it comes to playing the game. This is usually because of the way bags slide on plastic. It is pretty tough to keep the bags from sliding off plastic boards. I’m sure there is a knack to it, but for those that are used to playing on wood, the plastic boards are a truly different game. With wood boards, you have a lot more control over how they play. You can make the surface more or less slick by considering different finish types. From bare wood to high gloss paint, there are many choices finish choices.

Portability
Cornhole boards are usually toted from one place to another. Whether it’s a party, camping trip, or just pulling them out in the backyard for fun, they usually have to be moved around. This is where plastic has an advantage. It’s lightweight and the plastic sets being retailed are collapsible. Wood on the other hand is heavier. Also, many wood sets big and bulky. There is however, an exception to this. Foldable wood game sets take care of the size issue without trading off anything really. This being said, they will still never be as light as plastic sets. You just have to decide if it is worth the tradeoffs.

Personal Satisfaction
If you choose plastic boards, you will most likely purchase them rather than build the set yourself. With wood you will have a choice either build or buy your set of Cornhole boards. This all depends on how you view building a set yourself. If you don’t want to mess with it, you will still have to choose between plastic and wood. If you see the value in looking back and being proud of what you have built, then you are probably better off building your own wood set. There is some real value in this personal satisfaction.

Weather
Plastic Cornhole board sets are going to fare better if left out in the weather than wood. When I say this, I am speaking about being left out in the rain or overnight to be covered in dew. Wood can still be protected very well though. If a wood set is left bare, it will take some time but eventually you will see the wood start to wear. If your wood boards are covered with a protective clear coat, stain or paint, it will take a whole lot of rain to have much effect. Either way, it’s best to keep your boards out of the weather.

Cost
The cost of plastic or finished wood board sets are really about the same. With either, you will probably get what you pay for. If you buy expensive Cornhole boards they will probably be better made and finished than the less expensive. The only time wood has an advantage here is if you choose to build your boards yourself. A well built set of either type of Cornhole boards will most likely cost you over $100. You could spend as little as $25 if you make them yourself.

319 Responses to How To Choose The Perfect Material For Your Cornhole Boards

  1. Jamie August 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Hey thank you for responding! I recently opened the decals that were shipped to me and they were super sticky! Wooh, good! They applied nicely to the boards and tomorrow I plan to buy the Minwax Polycrylic clear high gloss finish that’s water based. I saw this on YouTube! Well, just wanted to say I appreciate all your feedback on this site and take care :).

  2. Matt L. August 25, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Hey guys, I have a painting question. My first cornhole boards are going to have a three stripe border (orange, black, orange) each half inch wide. I wanted to have the same look around the hole but I’m not sure the best way to paint three different circles would be. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks

  3. lauren September 8, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    I have completed my first set of cornhole boards in which i used a primer, krylon spray paint and then acrylic paint to hand paint the design. It all looks perfect. However, I need to still seal it but i dont want to bubble, yellow, etc. Minwax is slightly expensive and i origionally bought a krylon clear gloss acrylic spray sealer. I am nervous to use it. I want to know what would be the best deal sealer to use on my boards with out screwing them up. Please help! :) thanks!

  4. robyn September 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Polyacrylic blue can doesn’t yellow and seals it. Look up thru the previous posts u will see this is what the boss says to use!!

  5. william October 24, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    were do u shop for wood and paint 25,00 to make a set get real

  6. TJ November 25, 2011 at 11:06 pm #

    Choosing the right materials for your boards is so simple. If you want to make a great set of boards, you MUST use 3/4 decks. It can be oak, birch, blondewood or pine. Obviously a hardwood will finish much better than pine, so if you will have exposed wood grain I recommend birch, then blondwood and finally oak. Oak actually has the nicest look, but its deep grain doesn’t look good on a cornhole set in my opinion. The frame material is inconsequential. You can use 2 by 4s, 2 by 3, or 1 by pine or even hardwood. You WILL NOT be able to tell a difference in play from one frame to the other. Now switch from 3/4 to 1/2….big difference. The bags bounce off the boards like trampolines even if you brace it from underneath halfway. Also, the

  7. AJ December 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    I have built numerous sets of cornhole sets to sell. Here are my suggestions.
    1) Use 3/4 plywood. I use cabinet grade plywood because it is usually perfect and free of any defects. Be choosy when selecting. I dig to the bottom of the pile if I have to, to find the perfect one. The advantage of the 3/4 over the half is that the bags do not bounce on it like they tend to do on the 1/2 ones. You can usually get a good deal on cabinet grade plywood at Home Depot. 3/4 Sanded plywood also works.
    2) Use decent paint. I usually use exterior water based semi gloss. This will protect it somewhat from the weather IF they were left outside. Prime the boards first with Kilz or undercoating. I water it down just a tad so that it really fills in all the cracks and crevices of the wood. After this has dried, I use a palm sander to make sure that the wood is totally smooth and it helps alot when it’s time to paint.
    3) Tape off what you want to paint. Don’t skimp on tape. I learned this the hard way after having to go back repeatedly and repaint lines that I had already painted. Paint lines first, then tape off the lines. Right beside your tape line, paint along the tape line with the same color as the stripe. That way, what bleeds under the tape is the same color as what you already painted. Very Important step!
    After the paint has completely dried, you are ready for whichever sealer you choose. I have used the clear coat in the spray can the most and overall I’m pretty happy with it. I just started using the Minwax polycrylic in the blue can and it does make a huge difference. It gives the boards a very glossy appearance and most importantly, it doesn’t yellow your boards like polyurethane. I hope this info was helpful. Happy Corn Hole building!

  8. Debbie December 28, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    My aqua blue can of Minwax water based Polycrylic protective finish says in the instructions use on interior wood surfaces. So, I called minwax to ask about use on my cornhole boards. They told me if exposed to extreme temps it would crack, blister and peel. I told them I live in North Carolina and would store them under my deck and was told that wouldn’t work. I was told only if taken outside for a couple hours occasionally and stored in the garage would this prodoct ‘probably’ work. It would be best if I waited until the end of January the begining of February when their new product, Helmsman Spar Urethane, a water based product, in the hunter green can becomes available. Do I not have the same product (Minwax Polycrylic in an aqua blue can) you talk about in previous posts? I am very confused. If I do have the same product, How long have you used your cornholes protected with it, are you happy with it? Where do you store your boards? How are they holding up? It does get to 100 degrees sometimes here. I have already painted and applied decals to my boards I’m worried about waiting to use the poly as my decal looks like it might start lifting. Please share your thoughts and ideas.

  9. robynseavers December 28, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    I live in Indiana and store my boards in my garage and they have never blistered or peeled or cracked. I use the poly in the blue can.

  10. Ted December 28, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    Debbie,

    I have been building cornhole boards since 2007. I have always used the aqua blue can of Minwax Polycrylic. My personal set has the same finish on them that I put on my customer’s boards and no problem. I usually apply 6-8 coats of poly on all my boards. Spar urethane will leave an amber look to your boards. Polycrylic will not.

    Trust me….polycrylic will not crack or peel in extremem temperatures once it’s cured. It’s in the 20’s and 30’s at night here right now and when I get a set of boards done, they go in my storage building til the customer can pick them up and there is NO heat at all in my storage building. Never an issue.

    w w w DOT mountainstatecornhole DOT com

  11. TJ December 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    @Debbie: Robyn is right. I have used indoor water based urethane for YEARS now. Actually, I use indoor semi gloss paint as well. I have intentionally left sets outside, just to see what happens. Trust me, you will be fine with the indoor urethane. I have several loaner sets that are stored in a stand alone shed all winter and summer. I live in Northeast Ohio, and temperatures range from -5 to 95…all of my boards are fine. They have been stored in this fashion for years now with no problems. What concerns me is your comment about the decal. If it is peeling up now, something went wrong in the application process. Urethane is not going to keep your logo from peeling up, unless you use 15 coats I suppose. We use urethane to even the look and playing surface of the boards. If the logo peels, it will bring the urethane up with it. Perhaps you should bite the bullet on the logo and get a new set. If you apply it right, there is NO way it is coming up without a major fight! If you would like tips on applying graphics properly, visit our site below. You will find tips and tricks to finishing boards properly. If you decide to move forward with those logos, you are going to want to try to adhere them better. Put some heavy paper over the logo and heat them with a heat gun on LOW while pressing down firmly with a blunt object on the areas just heated. I actually prefer to use a cut paint stirrer! Works the best for me. Once you do this, apply a few extra coats of clearcoat for good measure, just to be safe! Hope this helps!!

    TJ
    BG Boards
    buckeye gameboards dot com

  12. Robin Broocks May 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    I am getting ready to build my second set of boards. The first was birch, stained mahogany, with a cream colored border and rails and her monogram in gold. I wanted portability so went for 1″x31/2″ rails with 1/2″ cabinet grade plywood ( which is denser than a/ b). By using two 2″ battens across the back I avoided the ” bounce” associated with 1/2″ boards. I further lightened and added to the portability by putting three 6″ long carrying slotted holes on both sides at the third points. Everything was finished off with six coats of semi-gloss polyurethane.
    The results were quite nice, especially for my first attempt.
    For my second daughter I’m doing something different, at her request. She wants a Lilly Plutzer print. I contacted them and they recommended I get some of their gift wrap. I am wondering if anyone has attempted a large scale decoupage like this. I’m thinking I will prime the boards, spray paint the rails, edges( I intend to have a solid color border on the sides and at the hole) and hole the solid color, let it cure a couple days, then apply the wrapping paper, precut to leave 1″ borders, using a 50/50 diluted mix of Elmer’s white glue and water, on both the board and the paper. I intend to “slide” the paper around into position, then squeegee out the excess glue from below, being careful to wipe off the excess with wet towels. I’ll let this cure for two days then begin the application of six to eight coats of liquid poly acrylic using a 6″ foam cabinet roller. I’ve heard some negative comments on using a roller with poly but in my experience refinishing antiques I’ve found that if you thin the poly with about 20% water it does not bubble (unless you go too fast) and gives w very uniform finish. Takes more coats but it’s worth it.
    Since I’m very new at this, any helpful suggestions, especially regarding the large decoupage, would be appreciated.

  13. Andy# June 16, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

    Hey guys this information had been awesome I wish I found this site a couple weeks ago when I started my boards.
    I am in the final stages of my new decal boards. I bought some larger fathead NFL deals and applied then to my board. I decided to use a spray clear poly from min wax and after 20 minutes the decal started running. I ripped it off before it stained the board. I’m not sure how to proceed from here and I can’t buy $40 decals for each board. Also as an FYI I used the spray because some other sights suggested it. If you have any suggestion PLEASE let me know.

  14. TJ June 17, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    @Andy: The fact that you used spray finish has nothing to do with it. Obviously Fathead logos are junk and not “printed” with quality colors or materials. If you contact me (just use the website) I can put you in touch with someone whose graphics are top quality. Don’t feel bad though, its nothing you did wrong…

  15. Rick August 27, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    Can you use Fatheads on boards? I plan to clear coat over the logos and have seen others say you can across the internet… just wanted some additional input.

  16. kristie August 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

    We just got a print with adhesive back for our board’s but the printer company laminated it. Can we still put a clear coat over that or will it not stick to the laminate?

  17. Bev Khajenouri September 18, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    Where can I go to buy IU decals fir my cornhole board set? I live in Indianapolis, In.

  18. melin58 September 28, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    I am using oil based Minwax Poly Shades Classic Black Satin (2 coats) for base coats on my boards. I am then applying a decal. What is the best product to use for the protective coats? I purchased the decal off of ebay as a “cornhole board decal” but the seller recommends rustoleum clear coat and Home Depot didn’t know if that would be compatible over the Poly Shades Stain and Polyurethane. Any help will be appreciated!!!

  19. TJ October 30, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    you are definitely going to want to use a water based clear coat overtop your logos. If it is a digitally printed cornhole decal then an oil-based product can degrade the logo. If it is simply die cut vinyl then you can use any type of clear coat. Keep in mind that an oil based product may yellow over time causing your decal to look old and weathered. Hope this helps!

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