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. John April 15, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    Milky,
    That is some great advice! I will be sure to take on of my days off and do just that. Thank you very much for all your advice!

    John

  2. Milky April 15, 2009 at 11:29 am #

    No problem, at all. Feel free to ask anything you want. I’ve become very good at building sets and I love helping people out.

  3. John April 17, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

    Milky,

    I quickly went to the store and looked at the Polycrylics..there were about 10 different cans ranging from Semi-Gloss, to Gloss and Satin Finishes. Which particular style poly do i want to use exactly?? Let me know of the exact name.

    Thanks,
    J

  4. John April 17, 2009 at 12:31 pm #

    Here are the different types:
    1. Minwax Polycrylic Finish, Semi-Gloss
    2. Minwax Polycrylic Gloss Finish, Clear Gloss
    3. Minwax Polycrylic Gloss
    4. Minwax Polycrylic Satin Finish
    5. Minwax Polycrylic Semi-Gloss Protective Finish
    …ok so there weren’t 10 but 5 was still a good variety. I’m being extra careful beacuse this is my first board and i want to keep it in good shape for a long time. Thanks for you help!

  5. Milky April 17, 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    John. I always use #2. Minwax, Polycrylic, Gloss, Clear Gloss. The can is light blue. Then, go one aisle over, grab a few of the cheapy 4″ foam brushes for like 75 cents per piece. Go home, pour the crylic into a paper plate, and go from there. DO NOT SHAKE UP THE CAN OF CRYLIC. This will cause air bubbles and you don’t want that, obviously. Don’t overbrush either. My technique as desribed above will fill in the majority, if not all of the “stroke lines”(lines left in the poly by the foam brush.) Then, after the sanding at the 5th coat, be sure to wipe away all the dust before applying more crylic. Hope that clears things up! You should share pics afterwards. I’d love to see your boards.

  6. John April 17, 2009 at 2:57 pm #

    That’s great Milky, i will do exactly that. i would share pictures although i have no camera at all!!

  7. Corey April 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm #

    I have made several sets of boards and am excited to use some of the techniques listed on this site. Thanks for all of the input. I see people requesting to see pictures of the boards that they have made, and would like to post mine. Where can I find the picture post area?

  8. Milky April 23, 2009 at 4:50 pm #

    Corey: I’d love to see some pics of the boards you’ve made, and the rest of the folks on here. I’m not sure if there is a picture posting area on here. But, you could put them up on http://www.photobucket.com, and then share the links here. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

    http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w62/mmiehlke/CopyofGold_Set.jpg

  9. Corey April 27, 2009 at 9:25 am #

    I don’t have a photobucket account but hope this works. These are a few of the boards I have made, they are the “baggo” size, 3’X2′.

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/album.php?aid=2070653&id=211701968&ref=mf

  10. Milky April 27, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    That worked fine. Love the Sox set! Great job!

  11. D_dub May 5, 2009 at 8:42 am #

    Milky,

    I am building a cornhole set and I bought Satin or flat latex paint (I can’t remember which). I am using the Glidden Team colors. Will this finish be ok if I use the Minwax Polyacrylic? Also, the Polyacrylic says on the label “Indoor use only”. Is that ok? And it also comes in spray or in the can, which one should I use and how many coats? And did I read that you said to use a foam brush? Also, do I have to sand in between each coat? Sorry for all of the questions, but thanks in advance for your reply!

  12. Corey May 5, 2009 at 9:13 am #

    D-dub,

    I use the Gliddden Team colors on all of my boards. I do not use any Polyacrylic finishes. Paint them with at least 3 coats, play a game or two on the boards, and they will have all the necessary slide. I normally do not sand between coats of the paint.

  13. Milky May 5, 2009 at 9:19 am #

    D_Dub:
    No problem with the questions. Ask as many as you want to. I love being able to help.

    –The paint can be any sheen you want, from flat to gloss. Once you poly over it, the sheen of the paint is a non-factor. Glossier paints will leave your boards looking more shiny, but will not affect the slide of the bags at all. So, it all comes down to personal preference as far as paint choice.

    — Be sure to use the Minwax POLYCRYLIC in the light blue can, in either clear gloss or clear semi-gloss. The spray doesn’t work. It’s goes on so thin that you’ll need 6-7 cans(not exagerrating) to make it work. Just use the stuff in the can and brush it on thin with those foam brushes. Wait until the first coat is dry, then brush the second coat in the opposite direction. this will help to fill the gaps that your foam brush isn’t getting. You do not need or want to sand in between every coat. Wait to sand until at least the 5th coat, and when you do, sand lightly, and be sure to remove all the debris from the board surface before applying another coat of crylic. Again, be sure to wait until the prior coat is dry before adding another coat. It should take about an hour, but does vary depending on where you are. If you don’t wait, you’re gonna get a white haze all over your boards.

    I personally try to do 7-9 coats every time.

    Hope this helps! Hit me back if you need anything else.

    Milky

  14. D_Dub May 5, 2009 at 9:59 am #

    Milky,

    Thanks a lot. That really helps. One other question I have after reading your reply is you said to brush the second coat in the opposite direction. So, do you mean for example brush the first coat length wise then the next coat width wise?

    Thanks again!

  15. Milky May 5, 2009 at 10:12 am #

    Yep. Exactly. Brush your first coat running the diretion of the 48″ part of the board. Then brush the 24″ direction.

    Milky

  16. D_Dub May 5, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    Milky,

    I have a friend that made a cornhole set also. He used some sort of clear coat on it, but I’m not sure which kind. At any rate, the finish has yellowed over time. Do I have to worry about this with the Minwax Polycrylic? Because that is something I was trying to be able to avoid, and I also wanted something very durable.

  17. Milky May 5, 2009 at 11:18 am #

    If you don’t ruch it, you’ll be fine. Your friend used polyEURATHANE, not polyCRYLIC. The difference is that the crylic is water based and the eurathane is oil based. The CRYLIC will go on a little white or milky looking, but then dry clear as glass. The EURATHANE will go on amber looking, and dry yellow, especially over light colors. Recently there has been a new product added to the market: Water based polyerathane. That’s exciting, but I haven’t used it yet.

    As far as durability: Put 7-9 coats of poly on there, and your boards are good for years and years. Don’t rush it. The biggest mistake that folks make is being so anxious that they rush the project. If you want to have these boards for the next ten years, playing all the time, and keeping them in great shape, why not take the extra 3-4 days of production time to do them right? You know what I’m sayin’?

    Milky

  18. D_Dub May 5, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    Milky,

    Sounds good. Thanks again for all of your advice!

  19. Ted May 15, 2009 at 3:55 pm #

    Hello! I am a friend of Milky’s and trust me…he knows what he’s talking about!

    I did use the polyurethane on 12 boards recently. My partner decided to start polying them before I got there. The ones he did are yellowed bad! The ones I did, didn’t yellow because I took my time and put the coats on thin! That’s the secret to all this. Take your time, do it right the first time! I would not reccommend polyurethane on light colors though. I bought a can of polycrylic semi-gloss today for another set of boards and so far so good after 1 coat.

    If any of you want to test your cornhole skills, then come to Parkersburg, Wv June 13th! We are having a cornhole tournament to benefit the Auguste’s Memory Care Center at Eagle Pointe nursing home. Follow the link to my website for more information.

  20. Milky May 15, 2009 at 4:55 pm #

    Ted, look at you popping up this site! Haha! Over here I’m like a genius. Where we come from, I’m a small fry…LOL

    Guys and gals: Listen to Ted. He knows what he’s talking about with the poly. With what he just went through, he’s basically a poly expert at this point!

    Milky

  21. Milky May 15, 2009 at 5:59 pm #

    Me too, buddy. I came here, the other place,and a few other places while I was trying to figure everything out.

    Anyway, your website will not show up until it is approved by the moderator of this site. I don’t think they want to approve posting of anyone else’s website though.

    Of course, you can always just do this:
    http://www.Phillycornhole(dot)webs(dot)com

    It’s sneaky, but it works.

  22. Brian May 18, 2009 at 9:35 pm #

    I am finishing up my first set of boards. They are turning out really nice, I sanded and choose to stain them rather than paint. I am going to apply plenty of sand and seal, then a couple coats of poly. My concern is after I stained them I noticed the grain of the plywood was running from side to side of the platform other than from front to back. Is this going to affect my gameplay much of does it not make much differance. Worst case senario I can make new deck, but hope I dont have to. Any input would be appreciated, thanks. Brian

  23. Milky May 18, 2009 at 9:44 pm #

    Brian, you’ll be just fine. Have you already started staining yet? If not, I would highly recommend using a product called sanding sealer. It is used before and during the sanding process, and help “seal” in the grain that is raised while sanding, and more importantly, while staining. Stain seeps into the wood, and raises the fibers of the grain up. The sealer keeps those fibers in. Then you stain, and then you poly, and then you’re good-to-go! Trust me, it’ll work! Be sure to share your pics when you’re done!

    Milky

  24. Brian May 18, 2009 at 9:47 pm #

    Me again, g-ma in law is kind enough to help me sew my bags. I am using 12 oz duckcloth from my carhartt workpants that i’ve outgrown the waist. 🙂 One sets gonna be light tan, the other hunter green. A penny saved is a penny earned. Anyway, i have seen conflicting info on bags. I know 6×6 when completed weighing right at a pound. My guestion is what size do I cut my fabric squares, and what size seam? I’m thinking is I go 6.5×6.5 squares, sew a half inch triple seam turn inside out fill with corn(whole corn feed I think) sew remaining side. Does this sound right? Once again thanks for any info. I know if i get something wrong my friends will call me out first time we throw on these boards, I just wanna make sure there correct as possible. Thanks again. Brian

  25. Brian May 18, 2009 at 9:52 pm #

    oops, first coat of stains on but it was applyed very light so i could alternate between stain and sand and seal. Hopefully I havent messed up to bad, I’ll put a good coat of sand and seal on in the morning. I’ll post some pics tomarrow night. It’s no frills, but I’m proud of em so far. thanks for the info. Brian

  26. Milky May 18, 2009 at 11:07 pm #

    6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ should be fine, but a triple stitch is overkill, except for the final stitching. Sew the bags at 6.5 x 6.5, and leave a 2″ space in the middle of one side open. That’s where you’re gonna fill the corn. If you have any doubts, sew one bag first, fill it, and then see.

    Here’s the BIG thing about Cornhole boards and bags. You can’t rush it, man. Take your time, do it right, and before you know it, you’ll be a pro. Let me know if there’s anything else I can help with.

    P.S. I find it fabulous that you’re using an old pair of Carhartts to make bags from. That’s funny as hell, man.

    Milky

  27. Eric May 19, 2009 at 6:38 am #

    Hey Brian – 7″ x 7″ fabric with a 1/4″ seam works best. This give you a final, filled bag size of 6 x 6. The extra room is for the thickness of the bags.

    Milky – Thanks for all of your contribution! You’ve given everyone a ton of great info!

  28. Milky May 19, 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    No problem. I love helping!

  29. Brian May 19, 2009 at 10:06 pm #

    havent forgot about you guys, still working on the boards and have 4 bags made as of tonight. I cut the fabric 7×7 as per eric, and when filled with 160z. of corn I have a prefect 6×6 bag. I got 3 coats of sand and seal on today and am going to apply 2 coats of polycrylic a day until friday morning. I like a SLICK SLICK board. That way the boards should be ready to use by saturday. i will post pics soon as they are done, thanks for all the help guys.

  30. David May 21, 2009 at 1:36 am #

    Looking to make my first cornhole set. What is the best material and what sizes? I want to do a Milwaukee Brewers theme and want to paint it on? What kind of paint do I use? What is the best way to seal them so they are completely water proof?

    Thanks
    DAve

  31. Corey May 21, 2009 at 8:46 am #

    David,

    If you go to Home Depot, they have a sports team color match system. I have used this for all of the boards I have made and they turn out great. Where are you located? I’d be happy to show you pics of the my Brewers set. Go Crew!

  32. Milky May 21, 2009 at 9:34 am #

    Dave:
    Use 1/2″ plywood at the minimum. Paint with semi-gloss or gloss. Seal with Minwax polyCRYLIC.

  33. Pam C May 21, 2009 at 9:51 am #

    I would like to send you a photo of the cornhole boards my husband and I made with the Virginia Tech logo…for first timers, they turned out pretty darn good. What address can I use to send you the photos? Thanks

  34. Corey May 21, 2009 at 9:56 am #

    Pam,

    Who is your message directed at?

  35. Corey May 21, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    I am trying to think of new ways to paint custom design on the boards I have been making. Has anyone used contact paper on boards that have already been painted with the base color? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  36. Milky May 21, 2009 at 11:32 am #

    Corey: here’s the technique I use, and it works flawlessly.
    –Paint your background color and wait for it to dry completely.
    –Blue tape off the entire section where your design will be.
    –Find the image you want online, or draw it in and art program of your choice.(I use regular old Microsoft Paint. Every computer has it pre-installed).
    –Open your image with paint and go to edit–>stretch/skew, and blow up the image to a few 100 times it’s regular size.
    –Print out the image. It should print on several pieces of paper, with a piece of the design on each sheet of paper. You need to put these papers together like a puzzle, taping them together where the design matches up.
    –Get some cardboard and securely tape your assembled paper design to the cardboard.
    –Carefully cut out the design with a razor blade. You know have a cardboard template.
    –Tape the template to your board in the blue-taped off area. Trace the design with a pencil and then remove the template.
    –Using a paint-by-numbers technique, code all of the sections that are now drawn on your board. For example, B for blue, R for red, X for areas that are going to stay covered and end up being your base color.
    –Paint one color group at a time, and then remove all the tape.
    –Voila, you’re done.

    A few notes:
    1st: Some areas mays be very close to each other, and you don’t want to risk getting one paint color in another paint color’s area, obviously. Wait until that first color is 100% dry, the re-tape over that area, and paint the second color.
    2nd and most important: Make sure your blue tape is pressed down very firmly! If not, you will experience bleeding and running and ruin your colors for sure. Press that tape doen until your fingers hurt!

    This should do the trick for you.

    Milky

  37. Dave May 21, 2009 at 11:58 pm #

    Located in greenfield right off of west beloit. If you could I would like to see pictures.

    Thanks
    Dave

  38. Peter June 3, 2009 at 7:58 am #

    I painted some boards, but now I need to know the best material for a clear coat? I bought some polyurethane and realized it says “indoor use only” AND “all paint must be removed.” Any suggestions on a clear coat?

  39. Milky June 3, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    Peter:
    Use Minwax polyCRYLIC protective finish, clear gloss or clear semi-gloss. It is in the light blue can. It can be found in the paint department, right next to the stuff you got. It will work on any paint or stain, and will not yellow, because it is water based, not oil based like the polyURETHANE.

    Milky

  40. Aaron June 5, 2009 at 9:29 am #

    I just built my boards. I have aplan for the paint scheme, nothing to outrageous. After I got the paint down, is there any reason to not protect it with polyurethane?

  41. Milky June 5, 2009 at 9:47 am #

    I always recommend polycrylicing. Always. There are several reasons:

    –It helps acheive and maintain the proper slide
    –It protects your boards from the elements
    –It protects your boards from scratches and scrapes that may occur during transportation
    –It helps to shield your board from damage from any debris the bags may pick up in their travels (rocks, sticks, sand, etc etc)
    –Most of all, it protects your precious paint job. Without that coating, your paint will wear off. It’s not a question of if, it’s only a matter of when.

    Even if you don’t want to go through all of the proper steps to seal your boards, at least put a layer or two of poly on them. It’s worth it.

    Good luck.

    Milky

  42. Aaron June 5, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    Thanks man, I was looking for reassurance that using the poly was the way to go.

  43. Colin June 8, 2009 at 10:18 pm #

    So has anyone purchased and installed the LED lights that go around the hole? I was wondering if it really works or if anyone had any other lighting ideas to be able to play at night. Let me know! Thanks!

  44. Milky June 8, 2009 at 10:51 pm #

    I bought two sets. They work fine. A little on the pricy side, but they get the job done.

  45. MSW June 13, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

    Milky,
    Should you use the same process (Polycrylic) if your using a decal on the board? I bought some decals for my boards. Im going to paint the boards, then put the decals on them then finish it up with the minwax polycrylic 7 to 9 coats..Sanding it after the 5th coat. Is this correct? Thank you for all the info!

  46. Milky June 13, 2009 at 11:01 pm #

    Yes, absolutely use the same techinque and the same product. I would be a little more careful about the sanding around the decals, but other than that, what you described is dead on! Please post pictures when you’re done!

    Milky

  47. MSW June 13, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    You got it ! Thanks again for the info!

  48. paul June 17, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

    i just made a set of boards and used polypropolene for the finish. my boards are so slick the bags will not stay on. can i go over them with some polycrylic and take care of this?

  49. T.Warren June 18, 2009 at 8:43 pm #

    Several sites claim that a person can make their own boards much cheaper than buying them, even as low as $25/set. This is not the case for me, as I have spent well in excess of $200 to make 2 sets. This includes all lumber, hardware, primer, 3 quarts of different colored paints, sandpaper, urethane finish, and several sets of stickers/decals. However, I should have a very awesome University of Illinois set when I am through. I plan to break my set in at my family reunion, which will be held at a area campground.

  50. Milky June 19, 2009 at 1:37 pm #

    Well, there’s a difference between building sets and building then finishing two sets. I don’t want you to scare people away from building their own boards. Here’s the facts:

    1–4 x 8 sheet of 1/2″ birch/maple plywood———–$44
    8–2 x 4 x 8 “two-by-fours”——————-$1.89 x 8 = $15.12
    Box of 3″ exterier decking screws———————– $7.99
    Tube of Gorilla Glue——————————————-$5
    8 3/8″ x 4″ carriage bolts———————$1.10 x 8 = $8.80
    16 zinc washers to fit carriage bolts——-.61 x 16 = $9.76
    8 3/8″ wing nuts, sold in bags of three for $1.17—–$3.51
    Small container of Elmer’s wood putty—————–$2.99
    1 gallon of interior/exterior primer————————$14.99
    8 quarts of paint, 4 colors per set————————-$127.92
    2 quarts of poly———————————$16.95 x 2 = $33.90
    2 packs of roller covers(5 in each pk)—$7.99 x 2 = $15.98
    4 black foam brushes(4″ wide)—————-.41 x 4 = $1.64
    1 roll of 1 1/2″ blue tape—————————————$5.97
    1 set of decals—————————————————-$30.00
    Total—————————————————————–$326.57
    This makes you two sets of boards, completely decorated and finished. This breaks down to $163.29, per set. You need to keep something in mind here, too. For this model, I went on the high side with everything listed. For example, you don’t need the birch/maple plywood. Regular 1/2″ ACX will be fine. Also, your probably will not need 8 different colors of paint. That’s just in case your design calls for that much. I also estimated high on all the prices.

    Realistically, doing your own boards would breakdown like this.

    1–4 x 4 sheet of 1/2″ plywood—————————–$12
    4–2 x 4 x 8 “two-by-fours”——————-$1.89 x 4 = $7.56
    Box of 3″ exterier decking screws———————– $7.99
    Tube of Gorilla Glue——————————————-$5
    4 3/8″ x 4″ carriage bolts———————$1.10 x 4 = $4.40
    8 zinc washers to fit carriage bolts———–.61 x 8 = $4.88
    4 3/8″ wing nuts, sold in bags of three for $1.17—–$2.34
    Small container of Elmer’s wood putty—————–$2.99
    1 quart of interior/exterior primer————————–$8
    3 quarts of paint, ————————————————$47.97
    1 quart of poly————————————————— $16.95
    1 pack of roller covers(5 in each pk)——————–$7.99
    2 black foam brushes(4″ wide)—————-.41 x 2 = $.81
    1 roll of 1 1/2″ blue tape—————————————$5.97
    1 set of decals—————————————————-$30.00
    Total—————————————————————–$164.85

    Now, if you’re just talking about building the boards themselves, and filling in the screw holes, you can get away with:

    1–4 x 4 sheet of 1/2″ plywood—————————–$12
    4–2 x 4 x 8 “two-by-fours”——————-$1.89 x 4 = $7.56
    Box of 3″ exterier decking screws———————– $7.99
    Tube of Gorilla Glue——————————————-$5
    4 3/8″ x 4″ carriage bolts———————$1.10 x 4 = $4.40
    8 zinc washers to fit carriage bolts———–.61 x 8 = $4.88
    4 3/8″ wing nuts, sold in bags of three for $1.17—–$2.34
    Small container of Elmer’s wood putty—————–$2.99
    Total—————————————————————-$47.16

    Now, to continue: If you’re not a builder, and you just want a nice set of boards for yourself, you can do a ton of things to save you money.
    –Go to the post office in your town. They will have a “change of address” packet, and inside of there is a 10% off coupon for Lowe’s, that you can even use at Home Depot if you want.
    –Look at the “oops” paint section at the hardware store. Lots of people get paint mixed, then return it, and it sells for $1, rather than $17.
    –Buy your blue painters tape at the dollar store.
    –Consider stain as an alternative. This saves you at least one quart of paint, and looks amazing when it’s one. Stained middles with painted borders are really sharp looking.

    Basically, yes, you can build a set of boards very inexpensively, but you have to shop smart, and be smart while you’re building.

    Milky

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