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.

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

  1. linda June 18, 2007 at 12:48 am #

    thx lots for this site, we never played but trying to build one,thx to this maybe we can get it right

  2. Eric June 18, 2007 at 6:50 am #

    Glad you got some good info Linda. Enjoy your building!

  3. Teresa June 28, 2007 at 5:29 pm #

    Do you have the dimensions for building? We just shopped around and found some not so great ones at the store. I don’t thin I like the bumps I saw on the plastic one. Anyway, I want to build ours.

  4. Eric June 28, 2007 at 8:56 pm #

    Hi Teresa,

    Sure, take a look!!

    http://www.cornholecornhole.com/cornhole-plans/

  5. Tom June 28, 2007 at 8:59 pm #

    Should 1/2″ or 3/4″ plywood be used for the boards?

  6. Eric July 4, 2007 at 9:38 am #

    Hello Tom,

    1/2″ plywood is suggested. It wouldn’t hurt to use 3/4″ , but your boards would be pretty heavy. 1/2″ does the job while keeping the weight manageable.

  7. Rick July 14, 2007 at 3:23 pm #

    What is a good surface finishing product for slickness. I like the wood finish, but want a pretty slick suface.

  8. Eric July 16, 2007 at 9:41 pm #

    Hi Rick,
    You could try just a clear lacquer. I have never used it myself, but if you want a slick alternative to a high gloss painted surface, it would probably do the job.

  9. Robyn Seavers July 22, 2007 at 10:01 pm #

    Hey Eric, I am building my corn hole board and want to put stickers on it after I prime and paint it with high gloss latex paint. What can I put over the entire surface so the stickers will stay put?

    Robyn

  10. Eric July 23, 2007 at 6:45 am #

    Hello Robyn, You really don’t need to put anything over the stickers. They should stick to the paint fine. They might wear over time though. If you are worried about the wear, you could paint a clear coat over top of the whole top surface.

  11. Robyn Seavers July 24, 2007 at 6:03 pm #

    Hi Eric, yeah I was thinking of something clear to protect the wear on the stickers, any suggestion on what would be best to use? that would still be good for the board as far as the slide of the corn bag goes?

  12. Robyn Seavers July 24, 2007 at 6:04 pm #

    oh Sorry I see you told Rick to use a clear lacquer, I will look for that when I go to Lowe’s tonight :o)

    thanks!

  13. Eric July 24, 2007 at 7:20 pm #

    No problem Robyn!

  14. Robyn Seavers August 10, 2007 at 10:53 am #

    Hey Eric, I finished my boards and I used high gloss latex paint but my bags are not sliding……what’s up with that? Can’t wait to get the bags broke in they are so stiff!

  15. Eric August 10, 2007 at 4:20 pm #

    Robyn,

    Your boards are build, that’s great to hear! The slide problem could be with your bags being so new. If you added the stickers, that could slow them down some.

  16. Robyn Seavers August 10, 2007 at 6:14 pm #

    Wish I could send you a picture! if you want to email me I will!!! I haven’t put the stickers on yet…….I am thinking they are too small, trying to find a stencil of the numbers 2 and 0 (we are tony stewart fans) but having no luck and I have tried to make a stencil and it looks dumb! lol…….. I hope it’s just the newness of the bags…….

    Robyn

  17. Eric August 13, 2007 at 9:38 pm #

    Hi there Robyn,

    I’d love to see your boards. I sent you my email. I wish I could help with the stencils. I’ll keep looking around and let you know if I find any!

  18. Matt August 15, 2007 at 7:20 pm #

    Will twill fabric work for the bags? I have seen that duck canvas is preferred but I was wondering if there is a difference between the two fabrics.

    Matt

  19. Eric August 24, 2007 at 2:14 pm #

    Hi Matt,

    I haven’t used twill before but it seems like a strong enough fabric. I have seen denim used as well.

  20. Robyn August 24, 2007 at 2:19 pm #

    Hi Everyone and Eric!! I can’t find very nice colors in the duck cloth but I’m still looking. Eric my bags broke in rather quickly and slide great now. We’ve had such extreme heat here in IN or rain that I haven’t been able to play in over a week and I want to!! lol I bought my first set of bags online, they said they are double stitched but they aren’t! I can see them busting open anytime now. I have been sewing some and I am triple sewing mine. They will never come apart!
    Have fun playing!!!

  21. travis September 20, 2007 at 10:11 pm #

    ya i used 1/2 in particel board and i used can paint and can clear to put over it when i toss my bags on it and they slide a little what do i put on hit to make it slide better.for my corn hole board

  22. travis September 20, 2007 at 10:15 pm #

    i just what to now is particle board ok to use for corn hole board

  23. Robyn September 21, 2007 at 8:32 am #

    The best board to use is untreated plywood, the better grade cost me $18.00 and change at Lowe’s. They cut it for me and I got 6 boards out of it. (s0 three corn hole sets) It’s already sanded, however after sinking the screws and filling the holes, I filled a couple of areas on the board and sanded them. No need for a clear coat of anything after using High Gloss Latex paint. Slides perfectly!

  24. travis September 22, 2007 at 10:45 am #

    thanks

  25. travis September 22, 2007 at 10:47 am #

    can you used clear out of a spray can after putting high gloss paint on it

  26. travis September 22, 2007 at 10:49 am #

    never mind i see that you wrote you dont need clear coat

  27. Eric September 22, 2007 at 8:37 pm #

    Hello Travis,

    The can of clear coat will work fine. Just keep a look out for runs. Make sure you use even strokes.

  28. Dave September 22, 2007 at 10:14 pm #

    Hello everyone, i have just built a set of boards, painted white with some red and black on it, they look very nice. However i went to the local hardware store and the guy working recomented a clear finish used for decks. It has worked well for a protective coating but i would like to see it a little slicker, i was told to use gym seal by a freind. anyone ever used gym seal before?

  29. Robyn September 23, 2007 at 3:25 pm #

    If you go to any corn hole sites and as Eric has stated before you are to use HIGH GLOSS LATEX PAINT and the end result is a great sliding board! that way you don’t have to add anything on top of your paint to get a nice slide. That along with the dust that comes out of the bag from the corn, you’ll have a great slick board!

  30. Pam September 25, 2007 at 9:43 am #

    Just constructed our corn hole boards. We would like to stain them instead of painting them. Can you tell me what kind of stain, and should anything else be applied on top of the stain? We have Sikkens stain left over from doing our deck. Would it be appropriate to use that type of stain?

  31. Eric September 26, 2007 at 7:12 am #

    Hi Pam,

    I’ll start by saying I’m no expert on stains. You might check with store where you bought your stain. Either way, the deck stain sounds like it will work fine. That should give you the protection you need. You shouldn’t need to apply anything else on top of the stain as long as your boards are smooth. I would stain first and just try them out. If you do not get the slide you want, you could add a clear coat. Since there are are all types of deck stains (solid, semi-transparent, etc), it’s tough to tell without trying it out.

  32. Mark September 26, 2007 at 10:04 pm #

    Hello everyone…1st of all Robyn…no offense intended here…but your perfect slide might differ from other people’s perfect slide. Case and point. I painted my boards with semi-gloss paint and sprayed a can of clear coat on them. Still not enough slide!!! I used 2′ x 4′ birch wood for the decks. We played on them prior to painting them. And game play was awesome. You needed great skill to even keep the bag on the board. I want that slide back.

    Eric…I actually purchased a can a clear lacquer gloss . Now the can says no yellowing on it. But I have white on my deck and I am wary of using it because I don’t want yellowing on my board. Is there anything else that might work? Do you think the lacquer would be fine? Thanks for the reply in advance.

  33. Eric September 27, 2007 at 8:54 pm #

    Hi Mark,

    I think the lacquer would get you the slide you are looking for. Not sure about the yellowing.

    Has anyone else had more experience with lacquer?

  34. Robyn September 27, 2007 at 9:54 pm #

    well all I know is that Eric and every other site I’ve looked at and all the directions I’ve read say HIGH GLOSS LATEX PAINT you get the slide. I’ve never seen anyone complain of not having the right slide when using High Gloss Latex Paint. I didn’t come up with that, it’s in print everywhere. The slide is perfect and you don’t have to go looking for OTHER things to put over what you painted to try and get a good slide when you get THE slide with the high gloss latex paint. YOU said yourself Mark, you used semi gloss and STILL NOT ENOUGH SLIDE, why go through all that when just using what the experts say will do the trick.

  35. Pat October 13, 2007 at 11:07 am #

    I made my own, and frankly, I wish I had just bought a set. It was fun doing the work, but it didn’t turn out as well as I hoped, and the cost in materials was almost as much as if I had bought a set.

  36. Eric October 14, 2007 at 9:13 am #

    Hi Pat,

    I think most people build their own sets mostly for the satisfaction of it. It really should have been much cheaper too, if you had all of the tools. Not sure if you had plans, but they help quite a bit. Either way, sounds like you are up and running with a set. That’s all that matters. Have fun playing!!

  37. James March 31, 2008 at 7:04 pm #

    I have a set of corn hole boards made from particle board…

    the top surface is pretty rough, can i sand it down and what grit of paper would you recommend?

    thanks.

  38. Eric April 5, 2008 at 10:23 am #

    Hi James,
    That’s hard to answer without seeing the degree of roughness. You should start with a very coarse grade if it’s that bad. After knocking off the really rough stuff, you can then use a medium or fine grade.

  39. Colin April 20, 2008 at 9:02 pm #

    I built my wood set last summer and now am ready to paint it and get it ready since the warm weather is finally here! I am looking for a nice professional paint job but im not artist…therefore, I am looking for a couple stencils (St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals). Do you have any idea where I can get a nice big one that will fill up the board? I have looked around but havent found any. Anyones help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks y’all and enjoy!

  40. Jerry May 4, 2008 at 8:46 am #

    This site has college football stik-ables, if you look at ohio state they even show them on a cornhole board.
    http://www.teamstencils.com

  41. Mauxe May 7, 2008 at 9:16 pm #

    I used a semi-gloss paint that I got at Lowes. I have had to go back at times and rough up the paint a bit to keep the boards from sliding TOO much. I like to work the slide on my boards but there was a time when you just had to go high arc on every throw and forego any sliding (unless a couple of bags had built a backstop) because you were definitely going to fly off the back with even a light touch.

    I had even gone back and repainted last year to try to get some of the tack back. I think the issue came from a combination of heavy play coupled with storing the boards in my hot, dry garage.

    Another thing is that playing in the sun really keeps the boards slick. Once we get the spotlights out and get a little bit of moisture in the air things get back to normal a bit.

    The point being: many factors can…. er… factor into how your set plays. Some people even have such slide issues that they go so far as to mix a little grit into their paint to provide texture.

  42. Justin May 17, 2008 at 10:47 pm #

    What’s up everyone. I made my third set yesterday for some friends of mine, and did the same as I did in the past. Used a spay-gun to prime,paint, and then used a paver sealer to coat them. They have not chipped faded or needed any sort of matinence. You can wash them off with a hose and the are fine. This sealer is completly impenetrible. FYI I’m from michigan so just made a set with big Detroit D’s on it and the color scheme is that of the tigers.

  43. Colin May 18, 2008 at 1:34 pm #

    Justin…how did you put the big Tigers “D” on your board? Stencil? If so, where did you get it or how did you make it? Thanks!

  44. Robyn May 25, 2008 at 6:22 pm #

    Hey Justin!! Love your idea of the spraying the paint on, I’m sure it’s must easier and nicer than using a brush. Hey what is that Paver Sealer?

  45. Chris May 29, 2008 at 9:33 am #

    Just thought I’d put my two cents in on materials and finishing. Birch plywood is a great material; stable flat, smooth and free of voids. A great alternative, that was 6 bucks for a 1/2″x2’x4′ pre-cut sheet, is MDF(Medium Density Fiberboard.) It is absolutely flat, the precut board is square, a flatter surface than Birch and paints really well. Pre-drilling is a MUST! Unlike plywood, you can very easily tear out and break the screw holes if you just drive the screw in. When making the six inch hole, the absolutly easiest way is a router on a compass. I digress…

    Finishing… If you want the flatest surface possible, start with a sanding sealer before your final sanding. If staining continue with a wood coditioner to keep the stain from staining more poreus parts too much and causing a blochy apperance. Or not if you don’t care. Stain per ther directions. Gel stains work really well.

    There has been disscussions about clear finishes. True lacquer will yellow in time. Though any clear, in time, will yellow some. Your best bet would be a gloss polyurethane. PolyAcrylic by Minwax is a great product for it’s ease of application. Apply several coats, lightly sanding in-between dried coats with #0000 steel wool or 220 sand paper. Wipe off any debris left by sanding with a tack cloth. Sanding helps the next coat stick better and takes out any imperfections in the previous applications. If you want a slick surface 3 or 4 coats will do it. Be warned it may be too slick! If you want to clear but don’t want as much “slickyness” try a semi-gloss. If you stain rather than paint, you will need to clear it. I haven seen or used anything that is considered a stain than left a smooth finish. Most stains will even raise the grain of wood slightly. When it’s all said and done, you can improve the slide by using carwax if it’s still not slick enough or imrove a sticky board. Paint will get stickier in humid weather so a coat of wax will keep it slick.

    A neat trick to put graphics on your board is to print out what ever you like on your injet printer on regular paper, cut them out with a craft knife or scissors, spray the back with spray adhesive, stick them where you like on the board then put a few coats of clear on. Wholla! You will need to use an oil based clear because water based products, such as the PolyAcrylic, will make the printing run. Have fun! Hope this helped!

  46. Drew June 2, 2008 at 2:14 am #

    Eric, my question is that im about to paint my cornhole set and i kno to use a primer and then either a semi-gloss or high-gloss paint but i wanted to hand draw the UK wildcat in the middle of the board and then put a clear coat over it, will the paint from that cause the bags to stick to the board and if so how should i go about painting the wildcat??

  47. Eric June 3, 2008 at 8:53 pm #

    Hi Drew,
    I wouldn’t worry about the bags sticking. Your hand drawn/painted parts won’t be thick enough to have a noticeable affect. The clear coat will also help blend it.

  48. Drew June 4, 2008 at 5:56 am #

    thanx i appreciate it

  49. Selina June 8, 2008 at 11:23 pm #

    Hey there! My husband and I just made our first set of boards. We painted them using high gloss paint. One board is white and one is a darker gray. They are going to be Cubs boards when our stickers arrive. My question is that the white one dried nicely and the bags slide great,however the gray one looks great but is sticky and the bags don’t slide so great. Any suggestions???

  50. Robyn June 9, 2008 at 12:35 am #

    Hey Selina!! I want to do Cubs boards too, where are are you getting your stickers from?

    thanks!!

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