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. Selina June 9, 2008 at 3:11 pm #

    We are getting ours off of ebay. They have a few cubs designs. You should check them out! Not too expensive either.

  2. Justin June 9, 2008 at 9:34 pm #

    Wait till you put the decals on then poly-urethene the boards. They will both be the same slickness and help to keep decals looking great.

  3. Milky June 13, 2008 at 12:00 pm #

    I spent the last two weeks designing and building my boards. I used the pre-cut 2′ x 4′ panels of 1/2″ birch that they sell at Home Depot. My boards are Jimmy Buffett themed, for his concert this weekend. I’ve made them as a surprise for my friends and none of us have ever even played Cornhole. I didn’t prime. I used high gloss Rustoleum colored paints and no kind of lacquered finish or anything. My bags came in the mail yesterday and I’m filling them tonight. I am very worried that the slide won’t work and that all my hard work will be a failure. I’ve read every post here and everywhere online, and it seems like a good solution would be to use a paste wax, like a bowling alley wax or something like that. I sure could use any thoughts/help/ideas right now. Thank you in advance to anyone who can offer some help. 20 hours and counting until we throw our first bags ever, and I am worried…….

  4. Wilbur June 14, 2008 at 4:31 am #

    What is the best method of applying graphics to a cornhole board. I want to print my own graphics. I have a computer and inkjet printer. Would waterslide decals work?

  5. Eric June 14, 2008 at 10:47 pm #

    Hi Milky,
    Don’t know how far you got but I would skip the paste wax. Try them first. The high gloss Rustoleum should do the trick. If you don’t get the slide you want, you can add a coat of gloss polyurethane.

  6. Milky June 16, 2008 at 10:53 am #

    Thanks Eric. So, to put an ending to the story: I ended up using the minwax paste wax. I put on two light coats and it took me a total of about 1/2 hour. The boards were perfect. I mean, I couldn’t have asked for better results. I do have a question though. My boards seemed to be a little “bouncy”. This is my first set and my first time playing, so I don’t know if that’s proper or not. What I mean is that many times prople would put the bag directly in front of the the hole and it would bounce over and off. Is that normal? Anyway, I had 6 people ask me for help in building a set and everyone was excited. We played for hours until the stupid rain came. I’m officially addicted. Thanks again!

  7. James June 17, 2008 at 4:52 pm #

    Hi,

    Can somebody give me more info on making logos using your own printer…

    do you use regualr paper?

    just cut out put on board and paint?

    thanks in advance.

  8. wilbur June 17, 2008 at 5:16 pm #

    I was having the same problem getting a graphic and putting it on my board. So I decided to practice. I printed my graphic on photo paper on high resoulution. I then took it to office max and had it enlarged in grayscale. I went to the local craft store and bought transfer paper. Put the graphic on the transfer paper and lay the two of them on your board where you want the graphic. Tape them so they don’t move. Using a ball point pen I traced the graphic onto the board. After you are done you can paint the graphic with paint from the craft store. I am not an artist but I had very good results. After painting onto the board I will spray with an acrylic clear spray to protect.

  9. joe June 17, 2008 at 6:42 pm #

    I put some stickers on my boards before anything else. Can I spray on a clear coat to protect them and then go over it with lacquer or poly? Or what should I do so i don’t ruin my stickers? Thanks

  10. Matt June 22, 2008 at 3:56 pm #

    I used stickables and they work great. Just paint the clear coat directly over the stickers. I’ve applied seven coats so far to even out the playing surface since the stickables will raise the surface a few millimeters.

    http://www.teamstencils.com/

  11. matt June 23, 2008 at 5:33 pm #

    i have made my own boards, painted just how i want them> however they are so slick that if you was to just drop a bag standing over them the bag would slide off. Way to slick.. Anybody got an idea to fix this without messing up the paint job?? thanks

  12. Eric June 25, 2008 at 10:26 pm #

    Matt,
    Without getting in to roughing up your boards and such, you might give your bags a chance to break in. Take a look at some of the slide comments above. Most of the time, when your bags get broken in, they slow down. It’s that new, stiff fabric that is so slick on the boards.

  13. Your Best Friend June 26, 2008 at 6:12 pm #

    Matt,
    you could add another layer of clear coat and sprinkle on a little finely ground sand while the boards are still wet. Grip tape theory.

  14. kyle July 10, 2008 at 2:26 pm #

    i was thinking bout buying some boards online that were the natural wood look with a clear coat on them but i was wondering if i would be able to paint over that?

  15. Patrick July 14, 2008 at 7:54 pm #

    Im doing mine just like Matt said on 6/22. I got reusable 16″ adhesives of the CLeveland Browns at Giant Eagle for $6 each. They are a little thick but im just going to layer over with clear. Im trying Decopauge instead of polyurethane. I got it at Joann Stores. Someone I know used it and I like his boards alot. Anyone try that stuff?

  16. Eric July 15, 2008 at 7:18 am #

    Kyle,
    Short answer, yes. You first have to dull, by sanding, and then prime the boards before painting. If you have plans to paint though, I would contact the seller and ask if you can buy them without anything on the boards. You might even be able to save a buck or two.

  17. Susan July 15, 2008 at 11:49 am #

    Hi everyone, you have provided such valuable information as I start to paint my first board. No one has talked about how to paint two or more colors and how to keep them from running into one another. I am thinking that painters tape may let one color bled onto the other. Any suggestions? Also, should the primer be high gloss, also? If so, can I use this coat as my final white coat and not paint on an additional high gloss white? Thanks!

  18. Robyn July 15, 2008 at 2:07 pm #

    Hi Susan, I have used the higher grade plywood for all the sets I have made (sanded on one side) and found that the painters tape does let the paint bleed under it because even though it is sanded it is not perfectly smooth. It’s a pain to have to touch up the paint that bled onto the color next to what you are painting. And even though it is a pain I have found it’s better than trying to free hand. However you might be better than free hand painting than I am, so you might not mind doing it that way?? Good luck!!!

  19. Susan July 15, 2008 at 4:35 pm #

    Thanks Robyn! Anyone else have some pointers? I am definitely not good at free hand painting!

  20. Eric July 16, 2008 at 7:07 am #

    Hi Susan,
    Painters tape is really the easiest way I think. Here are a couple of tips. Go over the tape to make sure it is pushed down very well. Use only a little paint around the seam. The more paint you use the more it will run under the seam. Brush from the tape to the wood and not the other way around. This should keep your paint form bleeding.

  21. Ben July 19, 2008 at 12:24 pm #

    I built my boards with 1/2″ birch and then used high gloss spray paint. They looked great but I needed to add PolyAcrylic to get a better slide.

  22. Mike July 20, 2008 at 12:10 pm #

    When painting with two different color paints or stripes you could use auto pin striping to cover the bleed over of the two colors left when taking off the tape . This will make a clean line and a custom look. After your paint colors, Decals and pinstripe are finished then clear the entire board to smooth the finish. My decks are done in flames.

  23. Wilbur July 20, 2008 at 1:00 pm #

    If you want to stop bleeding when using two colors, go to home depot and buy frog tape. You will then make a perfectly straight line. No bleeding. The tape is green and costs around $11.00 a roll. It will go a long way. Good luck.

  24. Fred July 22, 2008 at 1:26 am #

    For those that have used stickers, has the Poly Acrylic worked ok as a finish over the top? Im interested as I just bought a couple 11×17 stickers I’d like to use.

  25. jim July 27, 2008 at 6:49 pm #

    So if I paint with semi gloss I should put a coat or two of PolyAcrylic to seal the deal? I am thinking about doing what chris said and print out my graphics and glue them on. Should I do this or stencil them on and paint them and can I cover the paper graphics with a clear coat??

  26. Justin July 28, 2008 at 9:32 am #

    I think it isn’t a good idea to glue stickers on, the glue has the potential release from the board. I feel the best thing to use for a decal is some good quality vinyl. I have done both in the past and the vinyl has held the test of time.

  27. Matt August 2, 2008 at 11:39 am #

    I had the same problem about having a glossy surface and bags that wouldn’t slide. I just wiped some Pledge on the surface, and it slickened them right up (maybe even a bit too much). Over time, the pledge will wear down, the bag surfaces will smooth up a bit, and the surface should be just right.

  28. Tim August 5, 2008 at 10:32 pm #

    First time on this site and saw a couple of questions that I thought I might be able to help with. First is painting more than one color without any bleeding. First is to use a painters tape. To keep paint from bleeding first take a spoon and press the edge down. Second take a painters latex caulk put it on your finder and wipe it alone the tape edge(very thin). It is a lot thicker than paint and will no pull under tape. Paint and carefully remove tape while paint is still wet. This will help any peeling and keep a smoother edge. Let dry thoroughly according to paint used. Next retape for next color. At this point I use Scotts delicate surface tape to avoid any chance of pealing the paint up. Caulk, paint and peal tape. The trick is the caulk and pulling the tape while paint is still wet.
    Second is how to get stencils. One if you look in the phone book for places that do them for cars and trucks but it can be a little pricey. If you print a design in black on a inkjet printer you can put that on your board and and put heat to it and it will trasfer it to your board and you can then hand paint it on the board. I got a wood burner and a bit for it that does just that. Just have to be careful not to burn anything down. Good to practice on something else first. It takes a special touch depending on just how much ink is on the paper to be transfered. Hope this helps.

  29. cristina August 16, 2008 at 9:58 pm #

    Hi Eric! I built my first set of boards and am ready to paint! I got a high gloss latex paint to paint all over and then I want to put my last name with stencils in the middle with a different color and I got a satin finish by accident. Can I still use that and spray Rustoleum crystal clear enamel all over the board and it’ll be great or should I get the paint I want to stencil with in high gloss instead? and. .when using a primer is there a certain kind that is better?

  30. Eric August 18, 2008 at 7:05 am #

    Hey Cristina,
    Yeah, I’d just use what you have. Depending on the board prep, semi-gloss or even satin would even work well for the whole boards without much noticeable difference, even though high gloss is suggested. That little bit for your name won’t even be noticeable. As for primers, any brand will work fine. Because it’s not the final coat you really don’t need to be too picky.

  31. Alison September 2, 2008 at 6:05 pm #

    hello – i just started painting my first cornhole set this weekend, without doing my research..b/c i used oil based paint! i read everyone’s posts and i see i should’ve used high gloss latex. have i ruined my boards? i primed them and put two coats of maroon oil-based paint. i bought a can of clear spray enamel and was going to use that as a topcoat.

    does anyone know if oil-based paint works on the boards? thanks in advance! these are a gift, so i’m hoping i haven’t messed up!

  32. Jason Roberts October 7, 2008 at 11:33 pm #

    I have been making several cornhole boards. My only problem has been the paint. I first started off using oil based gloss paint. I really dont like using it because the gloss shows so many dents. I have also tried using a flat latex paint. i have been putting designs on my boards but putting a layer of tape down and appplying my design over top of it. after having my design laid out, i use a knife to cut around that needs to be painted. once i cut out what needs to be painted i will pill up the sticker and begin painting. when i am finished painting the design, the latex paint will come up when i pill up the stick. any ideas on what kind of painit i cant use that is not a glossy or latex paint?

  33. Eric October 10, 2008 at 10:36 pm #

    Hello Alison & Jason,
    High gloss latex is preferred by most because it gives the ideal slide and cleans up easily. Oil based paint should work fine too. It’s all about the easy clean up. As for the stickers Jason, latex should works fine for that too. The key is just giving it enough time to fully cure. If your adhesive is pretty strong on your stickers, you’ll have to wait it out. Painters tape for instance only does its job well because the adhesive isn’t to strong. No real standard dry time because of humidity differences, but you should be able to tell just by tackiness. If you push your fingernail into it and it’s soft, give it a little more time.

  34. Pam C. October 25, 2008 at 5:09 pm #

    Hubby is making game board out of 1/2 inch birch plywood. I will be finishing and want to leave the wood grain exposed but protected. My plan is to apply sanding sealer, then I will be stenciling the VT logo and name using outdoor acrylic paint, and finishing with a few coats of gloss polyurethane (minwax polyacrylic?). Am I on the right track or should I put a clear coat finish between the sanding sealer and the stencil? Cornhole rocks!!

  35. Vickie November 12, 2008 at 3:41 pm #

    Eric, you seem to be the pro here and I thank you for your expertise. A quick question. We are making our first cornhole games for Christmas gifts. We are making them two color with two color stencil. If we use primer, then high gloss paint for the board and stencil, would we still need to us a polycrylic clear coat on top to finish? Please email me – thanks!

  36. Aaron November 17, 2008 at 10:33 pm #

    I am a bit stumped here…. We built our first set with vinyl (it is a good strong quality vinyl) and we are using a latex paint. My question being how can we seal the sticker , I cannot find any type of clear latex paint (except a 25$ CAN of clear latex)
    To me it just seems the stickers going to lift off/ peel up…….
    Thanks for the read!

  37. Eric December 5, 2008 at 10:54 pm #

    Hi Pam – Your plan sounds great. I don’t see any need for the clear between the stencil and sealer.

  38. Eric December 5, 2008 at 11:01 pm #

    Hello Vickie – No you shouldn’t need the clear top finish. After two or three coats of your paints, you wouldn’t get much benefit from it.

  39. Eric December 5, 2008 at 11:07 pm #

    Aaron – Depending on how your stickers were printed it would be safest to use an oil based clear coat. Many print shops use commercial ink-jet printers. Water based clear coats could cause the print to run.

  40. Ladona December 10, 2008 at 9:44 pm #

    We built are first two sets for xmas gifts. Didn’t do our research well. Purchased gloosy enamel paint, by mistake they gave us semi-gloss. I did not notice until I got one coat on. Can I paint over now with high gloss either enamel or latex.

  41. Eric December 10, 2008 at 11:08 pm #

    Hi Ladona – Many people use semi gloss and it generally works fine. While I would suggest high gloss latex if you are buying from scratch, you might test out what you have first with some broken in bags. If they have enough slide, just go with another coat of semi. If not you’ll want to use high gloss enamel since you already used enamel paint. Latex won’t adhere very well to enamel.

  42. Shiloh March 27, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    Question- I know it’s not “regulation” but I ended up using 1/4″ thick plywood for the boards. Has anyone else used that? They bounce a bit but it makes things more interesting I think because it can either work for or against you. I used the latex paint and the bags slide great! Also, do you have any recommendations on how I can “brace” the center so that it doesn’t bounce so bad? Thanks!

  43. Colin March 29, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    I am ready to decorate my boards and want to make them St. Louis Cardinals themed. I am NOT an artist at all so I was looking for large stickers to stick the board then put a sealer over. Could someone let me know where I can get stickers of old school Cardinals logos or how I can make my own large stickers/decals? I really appreciate the help. Thanks!

  44. Shiloh March 29, 2009 at 5:49 pm #

    I made boards with Va Tech and UNC logos. I went online to find the logos, then printed them out “poster” style. I cut them out then traced them onto my boards and used the latex paint to paint them. Hint: painter’s tape really helps with the straight lines!

  45. Milky March 30, 2009 at 11:32 pm #

    Colin, you can find some SWEET old school and different Cardinal decals on eBay. Just type in St. Louis cornhole decal or Cardinals cornhole decal. Plus, most of these guys do custom work for the same prices you see posted for specific items. Just hit the “ask seller a question” button. You’ll see…

    Shiloh, it’s all about the blue painters tape! Just make sure you’re pressing down those edges with all your might, and you’re good to go.

  46. Eric April 4, 2009 at 8:26 am #

    Hey Shiloh – I’ve never used 1/4″ but if you brace it in a couple of places you should be fine. Just run a 2×4 from side to side on the backside of your top board. Screw it from the sides since you have your on there already. You might even split the area and run two of them. Hope that helps.

  47. John April 14, 2009 at 10:20 am #

    Hi all! I have just completed painting my corn hole set using the high gloss latex paint as my research showed. I have run into a little bit of a problem regarding the paint chipping/being too soft after 2 good coats. Should i apply a coat from a spray can of Polyurethane?? I have some fears that that will make the boards too slick; however i want to protect the hand-painted design that i created. i have had to touch up the paint a few times and i don’t want to keep on “babying” my boards every time i take them out. Suggestions?

  48. Stevo April 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm #

    THE HOLE….
    I thought I would also add a comment. I just built 2 sets and the easiest way to cut the hole is a 6 inch holesaw. (big drill bit) Its the same way the cut the hole out of a door for a door knob. I found it at Lowe’s, but it was $39.00. So I kept my receipt and the package. Well you can guess what I did next. A friend of mine also bought the holesaw, but decided to keep it and build a few more sets to sell to make the money back for the holesaw.

  49. Robyn April 14, 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    Hi John, I used a brush and painted on the poly, for an even coat. Once you get playing the game you’ll eventually like the “worn in” look of your boards. LOL, I have chips and stains on mine but they are mine and I love them…….

  50. mILKY April 14, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

    Regarding the question about polying or not polying, too slick/not slick enough…. Well, since I first posted here back in June of 2008, I’ve done over 100 sets of boards. I’ve played on official ACO boards and ACA boards. They are ALL polyed. It doesn’t make them “too slick”. In fact, it gives them the slickness that they are supposed to have. An added bonus is that it does protect your artwork/decal and protects your wooden boards from the elements. In my opinion, the best results come from using Minwax Polycrylic in the light blue can. Aplly 6-9 coats using a cheapy foam brush. Allow at least 1 1/2 hours in between coats. Sand lightly with high grit sandpaper after coat number 5, brush away the dust, and re-apply the poly. Your boards will shine, have the perfect amount of slide, and will last forever. Also, be sure to use polyCRYLIC, not polyEURATHANE, and you will never have a yellowing problem, ever.

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