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. Bobby June 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm #

    I built my boards, painted, polycrylic, and put on a decal, no problems up until now…. I purchased a decal from a corn hole dealer on the web, the directions say to to put the decal on and put a thick layer of poly on the edges on the decal and feather it out about 6″, I did this, and now I have an edge of poly at the 6″, should I sand this edge or just wait to sand it just before the last coat? what grit sand paper should I us? The boards looked perfect until the decal problem popped up! thanks

  2. T.Warren June 24, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

    Milky, you’re cost estimates were spot-on! Counting buying my bags, all my materials (I spent a LOT on decals!) and buying a cheap sander when mine quit on me before I could finish sanding the second set of boards, I spent about $320-$340 to make 2 sets of boards (University of Illinois theme, with alternating orange and blue triangles, and the Illin Block-I). I used Varathane’s spar urethane ( water-based) for my finish coats. I was afraid that a gloss finish might mnake my boards too slick, so I went wth a semi-gloss. I ended up not having enough slide, so I put a coat of Maguire’s auto wax on the boards. It’s a bit slick now, but after a few games (and after my bags get broken in), it ought to be perfect! The boards will have their inaugural run this weekend at my family reunion. I can’t wait!

  3. Milky June 24, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    T-Warren: Thanks.

    Bobby, as long as you have at least three coats down, you should be able to lightly sand that poly edge you’re describing. Use high grit, at least 400. LIGHTLY is the key. You may want to even add a little bit of water to the boards before sanding the area down. I don’t know where you bought your vinyl, but for the record, that person is wrong. In the future, and for other’s reference:

    Apply your vinyl decal. Brush your poly right over it. Don’t worry about feathering or edging or anything like that. After 3 coats of poly, properly applied, you won’t be able to lift the edge of the decal, even with a razor blade. Look at it this way, most vinyl cornhole decals are made from exterior vinyl with a 7 year warranty. This material is at the most 2 millimeters thick, we’re talking like the thickness of 3 sheets of paper. After polying over that, or for this example, even without polying over it at all, do you think a 1 pound bag of corn, thrown from 27 feet away, is going to be affected by the lip this vinyl creats? No. So, just poly as usual and you’re good-to-go.

    Milky

  4. Bobby June 25, 2009 at 4:15 pm #

    Thanks Milky, I put a coat on today and it seems that the “poly edges” are disappearing slowly after each coat, I think I’m going to put one more coat on and call it a day! and I think I’ll be ready to play this weekend!!! thanks again.

  5. matt June 30, 2009 at 12:25 pm #

    Milky,
    Got my boards done! I want to send you a pic. Email me @ matt@simihillsgolf.com I will send it to you. Anyone on this blog reading this…Milky knows what he’s talking about. My boards came out SWEEEEET!

  6. Milky June 30, 2009 at 1:37 pm #

    For the record, I just saw Matt’s boards, and they are DOPE!!!!! He really did a great job. Thanks for the compliment, also, Matt.

    Milky

  7. Milky June 30, 2009 at 3:05 pm #

    Here are the links to Matt’s boards that he is talking about above.

    http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w62/mmiehlke/Matts_Boards_1.jpg

    http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w62/mmiehlke/Matts_Boards_2.jpg

    Great job Matt!

  8. Matt June 30, 2009 at 4:44 pm #

    Thanks for putting them up Milky

  9. mcfads July 9, 2009 at 9:51 pm #

    thanks for all the comments. I’m nearly finished with my first set of boards. Applying the poly finish now. Can’t wait to post the pictures.

  10. T.Warren July 9, 2009 at 10:23 pm #

    My “Fighting Illini” boards were a hit at the family reunion. (They actually got a brief workout with my summer school students a couple of days before the reunion.) My son asked if I had any paint left over, as he wanted me to build him a set of Chicago Bears boards for his BD on the 13th. I just completed them today. I’d like to send Milky pics of my boards. My email is warrent@teacher.com.

  11. Milky July 9, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    I LOVE seeing pics of the boards you guys make. Please, feel free to send them to me. My email address is mmiehlke@comcast.net

    You guys are building some really bad-ass boards lately! Great job!

    Milky

  12. Warpig6 July 27, 2009 at 12:58 pm #

    Milky/All,

    Built my first set of Cornhole Boards before seeing this site…actually I built two. Thought I was done but was looking for something else to “seal” my paint job. Saw your advice on PolyCrylic and will be getting some at Lowe’s in a few. Will let all know how it turns out….thx for the advice!

    Also, for those that have questions about keeping paint from bleeding through onto another color, here is another option I have not read in this chain….in my “previous” life I was a painter and this worked perfectly:

    ***My board is Navy Blue w/ a Crimson Red 3.5″ stripe running right down the middle. This is how I did it:
    -Painted board w/ primer
    -Painted my boards w/ 3 coats of navy blue semi-gloss interior/exterior paint (Lowes could not mix my color in a high gloss).
    -Placed two strips of 3″ painters tape (wide tape allows for better overpainting mistakes…don’t want the secondary paint to go onto the already painted sections) all the way down the board (each about 3.5″ apart). Make sure you FIRMLY PRESS the tape onto the board to ensure as tight a seal as possible.
    -THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP…I took a brush and painted a light coat of the same NAVY BLUE paint over the the edges of the painter’s tape (this will seal BLUE paint to Blue paint…and if any bleeding occurs, it won’t be seen because it is the same color). Let dry.
    -Once my “sealing” coat of navy blue paint was dry on the painter’s tape, I then applied 3 coats of Crimson Red paint in between the 3.5″ area I taped off. As soon as it was dry…maybe even a bit tacky still (DO NOT WAIT TOO LONG), I peeled off the tape, and BOOM, a perfect 3.5″ crimson red stripe down the middle of my board w/ NO BLEEDING. I also did this w/ a Duke set. Painted the edges white, then put painters tape on the edges, then painted (sealed) the top of the tape white, then painted the board blue, then pulled off the tape….result….nice clean white boarder w/ no bleeding.

    Bottom line, if you are painting over a painted area of different color, just make sure you seal your tape job w/ the same color that is UNDERNEATH. Once that is dry, then apply the new color you want, let dry, then peel off tape…no “special tape” or special tools needed…nice, cheap, and absolutely effective! Good luck.

    Here is a link to what I have already done:
    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2014747&id=1105037625&saved#/album.php?aid=2014747&id=1105037625

  13. BigJuicy August 3, 2009 at 9:48 pm #

    WOW!
    Great info here.
    I have made a set for my kids school for their fairs and game days. I am inthe process of making 3 sets for the family Christmas gifts. I have one thing to note about cost. If you plan on making more than one set then buying larger containers of paint will make the per unit cost go down. Also, once the screws, sander and paper are purchased they will last for a few sets and the cost is divided. I figure I am saving approx $60 by building these myself and also having a lot of fun doing it.
    My 10 year old daughter can give most of the local college kids a run for their money…it’s great.

  14. Rick August 3, 2009 at 10:28 pm #

    Milky,

    Check your e-mail and give me your opinion please.

    Rick

  15. Milky August 5, 2009 at 11:20 pm #

    Rick, they are simply beautiful! You should share pics of them on here, bro, seriously.

  16. Milky August 7, 2009 at 11:45 am #

    Hey everybody! T.Warren from a few posts up wanted me to share his pics with the group here. So, here they are:
    http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w62/mmiehlke/Bears.jpg
    http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w62/mmiehlke/Illinois_2.jpg

    Great job on these! Keep those pics coming folks!

    Milky
    wwwdotPHILLYCORNHOLEdotWEBSdotCOM

  17. T.Warren August 10, 2009 at 9:30 pm #

    Thanks for posting pics of my boards, Milky. If anyone checks out the Illini boards, I made the set with alternating triangles; that is, one orange board with a blue interior triangle and one blue board with an orange triangle.

    A bit of advice – if you can’t find a large enough decal for your boards, consider cutting out images from posters and decoupaging them onto the boards, then apply your varnish coats. That’s what I did to make the Chicago Bears boards that Milky posted a pic of. I made the Bears boards for my son’s birthday – now his father-in-law wants me to make him a set, too!

    I hope other people decide to post pics of the boards the have made. Thanks to everyone who has shared comments, problems, solutions, and ideas.

  18. gr8tful1 August 30, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    Eric or Milky,

    First I built a set of boards for myself and followed the ACA specs. They came out so well and being from the north where cornhole is everywhere I decided that these southeners needed CORNHOLE!!! So I am almost finished with about 10 sets (black and red for all the Falcon and Bulldawg fans) and I have a few questions. I am looking to make a little money selling sets so any advice would be appreciated. Second if I put a Georia Bulldawg or Falcon sticker on my boards before the acrylic will I be in copyright infringement? Third any advice on how to market and sell my boards?

  19. Milky August 30, 2009 at 9:45 pm #

    Gr8ful:
    Get a website, but the best way is word of mouth. Donate a set to a local Fire Department, or YMCA. Make sure you do a nice job on those sets, and your phone will be ringing off the hook with orders. Spread the word. Get business cards and hand them out. Put an add in the paper.

    Make sure you price your boards right, too. That might be the most important part. You might want to start out with lower prices, and then gradually raise them when business starts coming in.

    The trademark question is a sticky one. Technically, unless you pay licensing fees, you can not sell anything with a trademarked logo on it. Not a sticker, not a t shirt, and not a set of cornhole boards. If you look around the internet though, and on eBay, there are a million people doing it. I am not advising you to break any laws. I personally contacted the MLB, NFL, and the NCAA about licensing fees. They are suprisingly reasonable.

    Good luck!

    Milky

  20. gr8tful1 August 31, 2009 at 3:52 pm #

    Milky,

    Any ideas on where to get some nice decals cheap? I have been looking locally lately and not having great success.

  21. Milky August 31, 2009 at 5:00 pm #

    Gr8ful:
    I have just the guy you want to talk to. Go to wwwDOTcornolinaDOTcom Sorry I have to write it out that way, but this site doesn’t allow you to list links to other sites for whatever reason. It has to be approved by Eric, the admin. I’ve actually chatted with Eric, and he’s a really cool guy, so I don’t know why we can’t link back to other sites.

    Whatever. Point is, go to the site I just gave you. Shoot the owner a message, and tell him “Milky” sent you. He does amazing work, and has the best prices around, period. Even less expensive than those cheap pieces of crapola you find on eBay.

    Let me know how it works out. This goes for the rest of you, too. If you need great decals at a great price, go to the above listed site and tell him Milky sent you. You will NOT be dissappointed.

    Milky

  22. Chad September 5, 2009 at 6:00 pm #

    What about using a semigloss latex paint

  23. gr8tful1 September 5, 2009 at 8:14 pm #

    That is what I use

  24. Eric September 18, 2009 at 6:59 pm #

    I just put on 6 coats of Minwax Polycrylic on my boards. yea i know that’s a lot but hey can never be too much when you wanna protect your new boards. i used a foam brush but can still see the streaks in the direction i “painted” the clearcoat on. should i sand or wet sand this at all? feedback would be awesome, thanks.

  25. scott September 18, 2009 at 7:07 pm #

    sand it lightly with 320 or 400 grit and make sure you wipe of all the dust and put one more coat on and you should be good

  26. Eric September 18, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    thanks, Scott. that seems to be what everyone is saying.

  27. Kelli October 3, 2009 at 10:43 pm #

    We just finished “custom painting” our board designs and realized we did not do due dilegence in research and failed to use the recommended “high gloss latex paint” – what can we do as far as a clear coat finish to help seal our painted design work, but more importantly, get the proper “slide” back to our boards? Will the PolyAcrylic by Miniwax so many write about help us out? We put in a lot of time and work and don’t want to ditch our boards!

  28. Scott October 3, 2009 at 11:03 pm #

    first of all I always use a semi gloss paint on all my boards. but yes use the polyacrylic. put on 6 coats lightly sanding with 320 or 400 grit sand paper on the 5th coat and your set will be perfect.

  29. Milky October 4, 2009 at 4:07 pm #

    Yep, poly those boards, and they’ll be at the right speed, PLUS, you’ll protect all the har work you put into your artwork.

    Milky

  30. Carolina Girl 04 October 14, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    Hi, question for Milky – I am planning on putting 2 coats of primer and then semi-gloss exterior paint on my new boards. I was going to use a small fathead decal (self-adhesive vinyl that is inkjet printed) that I already have and then put poly over that. I have heard that if I put polycrylic over inkjet printed decals that the ink may run. Is this true? Is there a different type of topcoat I should use? Should I not use the decals I already got?

    Also – how weatherproofed will these be by the time I’m done – could they be left outside, or is that a bad idea?

    Thanks!!

  31. mILKY October 14, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

    Carolina Girl 04:

    From my experience, you can put polycrylic over a Fathead® decal. They are sealed and scrubbable and essentially self contained. However, if it is not an actual “Fathead®” decal, and it is one of those generic removable/reusable vinyl cling things, it may indeed run.

    If that is the case, and you can financially handle it, I would recommend buying a small, inexpensive decal from the same company, applying it to scrap wood, polying over that, and seeing what happens. That way, there is no doubt how your decal will react to the poly coat.

    About the weatherproofing: Never leave your boards out overnight, or in rain, or in high moisture areas. Heck, try not to leave them on the back porch overnight even. While your poly will provide a very firm protective layer, if it’s one thing the history of the universe has taught us, “Water will find a way.” Constant or excessive exposure to moisture will, not maybe, WILL, ruin your boards, no matter how much poly you slap on them.

    Now, say you’re outside playing some cornhole, and it starts to rain. Ni big deal. Grab your boards and bring them in out of the rain, and wipe the water off as best as possible. They’ll be fine. Just make sure that before you go running for cover yourself, you grab your boards, AND your bags. Bags will swell up like fat little pillows when they get wet, and they’ll never be the same.

    Let me know if this answered all of your questions.

    Milky

    wwwDOTPhillyCornholeDOTwebsDOTcom

  32. Carolina Girl 04 October 14, 2009 at 4:13 pm #

    Hi Milky,

    Thanks so much! Your info really helped. It is a real Fathead decal I will be using, so glad to know you’ve tried it with polycrylic and had it work out ok, I was a little nervous about that.

    As for the weatherproofing – per your advice I will store them inside, but I live by the beach and it gets really humid here, even indoors. Would it help to poly the entire set (underside too) or is it ok to just do the top and sides?

    Thanks again!

  33. Charley October 17, 2009 at 12:53 am #

    Hello! First of all, let me say the above info has been WONDERFUL! Just threw a coat of primer on my boards, and taking them out for their initial tailgate party tomorrow. My plans are to use vinyl decals to decorate, then clearcoat them. This is no problem for one board, since that’s going to be college related (Georgia Southern Eagles). However, the remaining board is going to have my fraternity as a theme (Phi Mu Alpha). I’m running into dead end after dead end with that! Any ideas on where to find something for that board? Keep in mind that I’ve googled until I can’t stand it. So, if anyone has some experience with the hard-to-get decals, please fill me in! I promise pics when the set is finished. The set I have pictured in my mind is awesome and can’t wait to see (and play on) the finished product! Thanks!

  34. Milky October 17, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    Charley:
    Very simple. Go to www . cornolina . com and talk to Bill, the owner. He can make you any decal you can imagine, and Greek letters are nothing new to him. Tell him Milky sent you.

  35. Edluv October 25, 2009 at 8:40 pm #

    I have read ALL of the posts and have really learned a lot about making cornhole boards. I plan on painting my board white and trimming in blue (UNC Tarheel Fan) and then putting on a sticker or decal. My question is that everyone reccomends using polycrylic so that the board doesn’t yellow, BUT they also say DO NOT use polycrylic on inkjet prints, use oil based clear. My board is going to mainly have light colors so what is the best thing to do? I was thinking that maybe I could paint, then apply one coat of polycrylic, let it dry, apply the sticker, then apply a coat of polyurethane to the sticker, then finish out the board with 5 coats of polycrylic? Is this what I should do to be on the safe side, or does someone have a better solution?

    Also, I know everyone says to use vinyl, but will any kind of sticker work?

  36. Ted October 25, 2009 at 9:19 pm #

    Edluv,

    I would reccommend using Minwax Polycrylic over anything that is going to have light colors in it. If not, you’re running a chance of yellowing your boards.

    My 2 cents worth!

    Ted

    mountainstatecornhole DOT com

  37. Ted October 25, 2009 at 9:27 pm #

    Like Milky said…..

    For all your decal needs go to www . cornolina . com

    You will not be disappointed!

    mountainstatecornholeDOTcom

  38. Edluv October 28, 2009 at 10:03 pm #

    I have seen cornhole boards that look like basketball courts, and that are stained and have the free throw and three point lines. I have done numerous searched for these decals. Does anyone know where I can get those from?

  39. Scott October 28, 2009 at 10:14 pm #

    www dot carolina dot com

  40. Ted October 28, 2009 at 10:47 pm #

    Edluv,

    Go to cornolina DOT com and tell him Milky and Ted sent you.

    You will get exactly what you want!

  41. Scott October 28, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

    sorry I meant cornolina

  42. Edluv November 2, 2009 at 6:28 pm #

    I got Bill from cornolina working on my decals for my basketball court cornhole board. There is going to be some painting on the board also.

    Now, I built my boards yesterday…. Based on the UNC Tarheels basketball court tint, do you know what kind of stain I need to use? They have so many different kinds… (honey comb, natural, oak, clear, etc.)

    Also after I finish staining the boards, do I put some kind of seal on it before I start painting?

    Then, after I paint, do I seal it before I put the decals on? This way, I can go ahead and purchase everything I need at one time.

  43. Ted November 2, 2009 at 6:43 pm #

    Edluv,

    Most Lowes and Home Depot’s have got a swatch for the Minwax stains on display by their Minwax products. Go in, look at them and decide what shade you want for your court.

    I’m building a set right now that I stained. I started painting over the stain today and I did NOT use any sealer. So far, so good!

    Apply your decals right over the stain. You do not have to put a sealer on before applying your decals.

    Basically…..stain, paint,decals and then several coats of poly. I prefer 7 coats of poly myself.

    Hope this helps!

    Ted

    mountainstatecornholeDOTcom

  44. Edluv November 5, 2009 at 10:27 pm #

    Ted or Milky,

    I now have my basketball court cornhole board stained and painted and it looks really good. I just finished giving Bill my final measurements for a few decals I need. But I was looking at my board and thought that it would be pretty neat if I could draw lines on the stained part of the court to make it look like a real hardwood gym floor!! If I do the lines with a pencil, will it hold up after I apply the polycrylic or will this not be such a good idea? Or can I do the lines with something else pesides paint. I would hate to use some kind of pen or marker cause this may be too dark and over power the look of the board. Thanks Again.

  45. Milky November 6, 2009 at 12:48 am #

    Edluv (awesome name by the way!):

    I do not think that graphite or lead from a pencil will hold up. However, I have learned that a Sharpie will hold up after applying poly. They do make a fine point Sharpie marker, too.

    Personally, I think you may be trying to do too much with it. No offense meant by that, and just my opinion. I’ve seen folks who have done basketball court boards and just used he grain of the wood to represent the court, and I think they look awesome. I’d love to see you go through with it because that would be a truly original and unique set of boards, but I don’t think you have to do all that much to attain the look you’re going for. Here’s a set that will show you what I’m talking about.

    http://www.cornholeplayers.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=3325&p=16879&hilit=basketball#p16879

    Also, if you just go to cornholeplayer dot net and search for “basketball”. you’ll find many other examples. Whatever you choose, please let us know, ok?

    Milky

  46. Ted November 6, 2009 at 2:41 am #

    Personally, I have not tried using a pencil then applying poly over that. I can’t give you an accurate answer. However, I can give you an accurate answer on using a Sharpie and applying poly over that. Sharpies work fine with polycrylic. I havent had anything go wrong….yet. Maybe Milky can help you with the pencil. I’d say get you a scrap piece of wood, draw some pencil lines on it and put a little poly on it to see how it will react. That will give you your answer real quick and you can see with your own eyes.

    Please let us know how it works out in case we want to try it sometime.

  47. Edluv November 6, 2009 at 8:31 pm #

    Thanks for both of yals input. I will let you know what I end up doing.

    Milky, Those Kansas boards really LOOK GREAT. I ended up painting my out-of-bounds, 3 point lines and my half court line. This was a real pain in the butt trying to get that 3 point line done, with sharp edges. Does anyone have a simpler solution or the actual mearsurements to get these markings made as a decal?

  48. Milky November 7, 2009 at 1:30 am #

    Getting them made as a decal would NOT be a problem. Go talk to Bill at cornolina . com and tell him Ted and Milky sent you. Your decals will blow you away.

    Another option that you might consider, that I personally have just started playing around with is automotive pin-striping. I did a football fiedl set the other day and used white pin-striping for the line marks and such. Straight as an arrow, easy to use, and cheap as dirt. They also come in several colors and widths.

    Like Ted said, please let us all know how it works out. Part of the beauty of this thing is that people try new things, then share the results, and we all learn together. Thanks.

    Milky

  49. JeffM November 9, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    automotive pinstriping over paint, then do your poly coats? sound right?

  50. Milky November 9, 2009 at 2:36 pm #

    Absolutely right. You can poly right over pinstriping. Auto pinstriping is about the same thickness as vinyl decals are, a little less thick if you ask me. After 5 coats of poly you’ll barely be able to tell it’s there. After 8 coats, it’s GONE! lol.

    Good luck, and please share the pictures.

    Milky

    www dot phillycornhole dot webs dot com

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