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. Ken Jury November 10, 2009 at 3:07 am #

    Milky, Do you apply finish to the underside on the board? Thank you, Ken

  2. Ken Jury November 10, 2009 at 3:08 am #

    Milky, Do you apply finish to the underside of the board? Thank you, Ken

  3. Ted November 10, 2009 at 7:06 am #

    Ken,

    I am Milky’s friend and I’m sure he does the same as I do and only apply a finish to the underside IF the customer asks for it.

    Cornhole boards aren’t meant to be left outside all the time and that’s why I don’t apply a finish or poly the underside unless the customer asks for it.

    Hope this helps!

    Ted

    www dot mountainstatecornhole dot com

  4. JeffM November 10, 2009 at 10:42 am #

    Milky, thx for pin striping idea…..wood filling and priming boards today…but have a decal question.
    I like the idea of printing my own and then getting them laminated..seems like a good idea. But, when you print a nice color pic on white paper and then cut out design to get laminated you still have the white background where there is no color in your pic. would love to print on a transparency like surface. Do they do that at a Staples like place? Any ideas? Would love to get some decals through Jim at cornolina but trying to save some cash….have about $80 in this one set so far

  5. Milky November 10, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    Ken: Ted got it right. You can tust anything he shares on this board, except when he starts talking about Ohio State having a good football team. BURN!!!!! I don’t seal the underside of the boards unless the customer wants it done. I am very responsible when it comes to NOT leaving my boards outside overnight and such. You should do the same. The fact is, even boards that are sealed underneath should not be left outside. If it’s one thing that history has prooved, it’s that water will find a way through anything.

    JeffM: Yes, they sell transparencies at Staples and Office Max. HOWEVER, those tranparencies are often very high gloss, and I would be very worried about the ink running off when you poly. I do know that many people have used a technique involving making their own “water slide” decals. Honestly, I have no clue what that means. lol. You can get further info on that technique from the
    www . cornholeplayers . net website if you do a search for “water slide”.

    Sorry that’s not the best help. Let me know if there’s anything else.

    Milky

  6. JeffM November 10, 2009 at 2:12 pm #

    how about laminating the transparency….or would that get too thick? will check on the water slide thingamajig….thx

  7. Milky November 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

    You could definitely laminate it. If you laminated it, and made sure the ends were really sealed properly after you trimmed it down, then applied some adhesive to it, I imagine you would not have any problem. The only issue may be, like you said, the thickness. Enough coats of poly and that lip won’t be any issue at all.

    Milky

  8. Ted November 22, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    I’m sorry to see you have been living under a rock for many years. Or is it a jail cell? LOL!

    Anyway. The sex act you are talking about is spelled CORN HOLE. Notice the space between CORN and HOLE. The game we play on this forum is spelled CORNHOLE with no space. It is so simple that a kindergartner could figure it out. You take a bag of corn and throw in a hole. Hence the name CORNHOLE.

    Thats lesson 1.

  9. Edluv November 24, 2009 at 9:44 pm #

    Ted / Milky

    Just wanted you guys to know that I got my boards done (Basketball Court with the lines drawn to get the look of a hardwood floor). I did end up drawing these with the fine point Sharpie that yal mentioned. I wanted to post some pics for you to look at, but I’m not sure how. AND both of you were right!!!!! Bill is the man when it comes to decals. He did my center court symbol, and I was amazed. Thanks Again for yals help.

  10. Ted November 25, 2009 at 12:00 am #

    Just send them to my email. wvcornhole @ suddenlink DOT net

    I love looking at other peoples boards! I’m glad they turned out great for you! It’s kind of addicting now isn’t it? LOL!

    Thanks!

  11. Milky November 25, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    Ted, if he sends you those pictures, post them on photobucket and then share the link here. I’d love to see them too.

    EdLuv, glad they came out good. Can’t wait to see them. You could also upload the pictures to photobucket and then share the link here for us to see.

    Milky

  12. JeffM December 2, 2009 at 3:14 pm #

    Finally get them done!!! Thanks to Milky and others commenting on the board, they came out perfect, at least to my standards. 9 coats of Poly on each, poly on legs too. Thanks again for all the help!!

    http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t65/fishingrockspics/Cornhole%20boards/cornholeboards001.jpg

    http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t65/fishingrockspics/Cornhole%20boards/cornholeboards002.jpg

  13. Milky December 2, 2009 at 4:30 pm #

    Jeff, seriously, they look awesome. Great, great job. You should be very proud.

    Milky

  14. JeffM December 5, 2009 at 7:07 pm #

    Thanks again Milky…take care

  15. Anatnerce December 6, 2009 at 5:34 pm #

    Hello,
    Please, give me some info about actual now dating sites.Thanks,
    Anatnerce

  16. Ben December 6, 2009 at 11:56 pm #

    Hi Everyone,
    Looking for some advice. I’ve made a set already, and was fairly pleased with the results. I painted the boards complete w/ no sealer of any sort. I have been asked to make a set and will be making another set as a gift. One will be the Tennessee “power T” and the other the main Ohio State logo. I am really anxious about the Ohio State one.

    I would like to use a contact paper method for the ohio state logo, but am concerned about the intricacy of the boards. Any advice? What should I even use as a base color? I was thinking red on one and white on the other.

    Final question. Since I am completely painting both of these sets, should I use a sealer on the paint. Most advice seems to be that I use a High Glass Latex. Most sealer advice I’ve seen calls for a polyacrylic. Is this the route I should take. I plan to start priming in two days. Thanks!

  17. T.Warren December 7, 2009 at 6:47 pm #

    Ben,
    Sorry to notice that you feel compelled to make an Ohio State Buckeye set. lol. I think that if you have a good primer coat, you could go ahead and use contact paper over your paint coats. BTW, both Home Depot and Menards can mix paint that are the exact university colors, as I did this with my Fighting Illini set.
    I would definitely finish it off with several coats of polyacrylic, as several others have stated in their posts above. I used Varathane’s spar urethane ( water-based) for my finish coats, but other brands, such as Minmax, will work fine, also. I used a water-based finish, as I figured that an oil-based top coat would give an amber or yellowish cast to any white paint.
    Good luck!

  18. Joe December 8, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    Hey there,

    I have a major project underway.

    I am about to start making 10 sets of boxes that I am going to give to my groomsmen for my wedding as groomsmen gifts. I have the materials and measurements and I still had a couple questions. I understand that this will probably answered somewhere above but being at work, I cannot read everything…lol…

    What would be the best primer to use before painting the boxes, and I understand to use the polycrylic sealant thereafter. I also want to purchase decals for all the boxes as I dont think I will be good trying to stencil anything. Where would be a great place to puchase a bunch of decals in bulk, as every decal will be different and some customized as I am making them personized to each person. Also at what level do I sand the boxes?

    Thanks so much for all your help!

  19. Ted December 9, 2009 at 1:01 am #

    Hi Joe! Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

    I don’t think there is such a thing as “best primer”. It’s all preferences from one person to the next. I always use the Zinser 1-2-3 primer. That stuff covers everything! There is another option you have. Instead of 2 coats of primer and 2 – 3 coats of paint, why don’t you just do 4-5 coats of paint and NO primer? I started doing that recently with my boards and it works fine.

    Decals. I can point you in the right direction with that for sure! Go to wwwDOTcornolinaDOTcom and tell Bill that Ted sent you. He will work with you on whatever decals you need. The more you order the more you save since he combines shipping. He only uses the 6 year UV rated vinyl for his decals. Once you cover the decal in 4-6 coats of poly, they will last you a life time!

    Sanding. I sand after the last coat of primer and after the 4th coat of poly. Both times I use a 320 grit and sand REAAAALLLL light. Just enough to take the burrs off and smooth things up.

    I hope this helps out some. You gotta post pictures when youre done!

    Ted

    wwwDOTmountainstatecornholeDOTcom

  20. JeffM December 9, 2009 at 1:03 am #

    Hey Joe,
    Hope your wedding is a month or so down the road. Doing 10 sets is gonna take some time. I just finished my first set but I learned alot and got alot of advice. I used Zissner primer…I think any primer will do…but there is white and gray primers…so use each according to your top coats. Home depot has Gripper primer for Glidden paints that seems to be good.
    I did two primer coats and sanded with 220 grit after each coat. Painted with Glidden team color paints using latex high gloss. I didn’t sand my paint but you might need multiple coats as you need to cover the primer and any other colors if you are taping, etc. Used 9, count ’em, 9 coats of Polycrylic by minwax, the high gloss in blue can. Sanded with 220 grit after coat 5 and coat 7. You will need two coats after you sand irregardless of how many coats as you can still see light scratches after only one coat of poly. Use the cheap 4″ foam brushes to apply poly…do not shake the can. Box fan will decrease dry time….I waited at least 1 1/2 hours between coats. Also, if you screw up any lines you’ve taped, you can get auto pin striping to cover the whole line. Poly over it and you are good to go.
    Decals…friend made mine. Go to ‘Cornolina dot com’ and you can email Bill who does decals and boards, just click the about us section on left to get his email…he will set you up..tell him Jeff ‘dog ate my cornhole bag’ sent you over. Whatever decals you get, make sure they are good quality and laminated if possible so the ink won’t run during poly coats. I got the vinyl decals on 3mm and then 1mm polyester laminate over the top. You will need the multiple poly coats just to lessen the lip on the decal. After my 9 coats, there is a slight rise from paint to decal but not enough to affect game play at all. I am pretty picky and they are fine. Good luck. Here are some pics of my boards.
    http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t65/fishingrockspics/Cornhole%20boards/cornholeboards001.jpg
    http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t65/fishingrockspics/Cornhole%20boards/cornholeboards002.jpg

  21. JeffM December 9, 2009 at 1:08 am #

    Ted,
    That was weird….posted like two minutes after you did. I think I repeated almost everything you said. I was just in a typing mood…lol. Good advice for sure……Bill is the bomb!!

  22. Joe December 9, 2009 at 10:35 am #

    Ted and Jeff,

    Thank you so much for all your tips! I know that these boxes are going to take a while so this is my winter project. The wedding isnt until July of next year and I dont want to rush the boxes at all so thats why I’m starting now. I will contact Bill to find out about the decals. That was both great advice from both of you guys! One more question, what type of gloss finish should I use for the paint? Some say semi gloss, some gloss, and some say high gloss…what would be the best to maintain the slide but nothing too crazy where everything is flying off? haha

    I will definately post ALL the pics of ALL the boxes together when completed. btw, nice boxes jeff!

    Thanks again guys!

  23. JeffM December 9, 2009 at 11:53 am #

    Joe,
    As far as I know it is really your preference. I like the shine. Once you do the poly coats the slickness of the paint is irrelevant. I’ve read that if the boards are not slick enough people have used wax, corn starch, etc. I threw brand new bags on my boards and they slid just right. The corn dust helped them too. Good luck!!

  24. JimmyCliff December 26, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

    I have a set of boards… they are red and white… with a Clifford the Big Red dog decal on them…

    not sure what type of paint was used on them but i know there is not a sealant…

    just curious what would be the best that would seal it and keep them from weathering.

    Also, i was told the decal had a sealant on it but not the paint. when sealing should i go ahead and go over the decal as well?

    Thanks!

  25. BobyElMan December 26, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    sorry, wrong category
    delete it
    2A33B4628B2A788BC43DC896EA1

  26. T.Warren December 27, 2009 at 1:08 am #

    JimmyCliff,
    I definitely would use a sealant over the decals as well. This will avoid a “lip” from the decal. I used Varathane’s spar urethane ( water-based) for my finish coats. Especially if you have white or light colors on your board, avoid oil-based cover coats, as that may cause an amber or yellow cast.

  27. Jan March 7, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    I want to know if covering the boards in fabric with a lacquer or clear coat over that is possible.

  28. Russ April 8, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    I built a really nice set of corn hole boards, the only problem is, they are too slippery. The bag will actually slide down the board with the slightest vibration of another bag hitting the board (that’s if you can get one to stay on). I used about 8 coats Minwax Polyacrylic. I even tried to put a coat of Polyacrylic on, leaving brush strokes to try and slow the bags down.
    Is there some way to dull this finish without ruining it? I have 2 sets of different style bags that both do the same thing.

  29. Ted April 9, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    Russ,

    Are your boards 12″ from ground to the top on the back of your boards? It sounds like your slope may be to high. If it’s more than 12″ off the ground in the back, then that’s probably why your bags are sliding back down? Just guessing. I use Gloss Polycrylic on all my boards and have never had a problem of the bags sliding back down.

    Another thing you may want to try, go buy a spray can of Minwax Satin Polyurethane. About $7 at Lowes and Home Depot. Stand back about 10″ – 12″ from the boards and spray several coats on the boards. Kinda like a mist coat. Let each coat dry first of course. I did this on a slick set of boards and worked like a charm! It’s going to dull your finish just a little if you used a gloss polycrylic before but, it’s better than the bags not staying on the boards.

    Ted

    www DOT mountainstatecornhole DOT com

  30. Russ April 9, 2010 at 7:39 am #

    Thanks for the info. The boards were built to specs, the problem is, the finish is like glass. That is a good idea and I will try the Polyurethane spray.

  31. Bob April 9, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    I had the same problem Russ, I just took a 400 grit sand paper to “scratch” the surface, it worked great… just go very lite, and one pass… you will not notice the slight scratches after one game… just a suggestion, hope it helps.

  32. Russ April 11, 2010 at 10:46 am #

    Hey Ted
    I picked up a can of Minwax Satin Polyurethane, I’m am a little concerned it says interior use only. I don’t leave these boards out in the weather, but living in Florida we do catch those unexpected afternoon showers now & then. The Polyacrylic will withstand outdoor elements. Your thoughts on this ???
    Thanks
    Russ

  33. Ted April 11, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    I’m sure there is nothing that’s meant to be put on cornhole boards. You know what I mean? I would say the polycrylic would be the worse to put on boards if I were to guess without experience. Polycrylic is water based. Polyurethane is oil based. I have used both on cornhole boards. If you want your light colored boards to stay light after poly, use polyCRYLIC. If you have dark colored boards, you have the option of using polycrylic or polyURETHANE. Urethane will leave a yellow tint to your boards but if they are dark anyway, it won’t matter.

    I could go on and on. Bottom line is, you want to slow your boards down. I recommended the poly satin to SPRAY on your boards to slow them down only. I don’t care what your poly’d your boards with, I would not recommend leaving them outside no matter what. Avoid as much rain as possible. When it rains, bring them under a roof. The satin poly will be fine. Promise!

    Send me an email if you want. wvcornhole @ suddenlink DOT net

  34. Russ April 11, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    I’m sold, I will give it a shot (no pun intended).
    Thanks
    Russ

  35. D_Loomis May 1, 2010 at 9:30 pm #

    I made some boards out of 1/2″ dry erase boards . they are awesome…

  36. T.Warren May 2, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    Would like D_Loomis to post pictures of his dry erase boards and maybe talk about the slide, especially after he has played 30 or 40 games on them.

  37. Andy May 8, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    I’m hoping to cover my cornhole boards with photos or printed photos on paper. What would be the best thing to cover the board with?

  38. Nick June 2, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    I can’t thank you guys enough. I have recently started building my first set of cornhole boards, and this website has helped immensely. There is so much valuable information on here as long as you take your time to read it.

    I cannot put into words how much this website helped. Thank you!

  39. Ted June 2, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    I hope I helped out in some way for you Nick.

    Any more questions….ask away!

    If you made a custom set of boards, you gotta show us the pictures!

    Ted

  40. Nick June 2, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    Im still working on the paint. There not going to turn out too great, I messed up the striping. Its my first time though, I anticipate giving it another go sometime and seeing how they come out.

  41. Kirk June 3, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    The Pledge works to make them slicker, but tends to wear off quickly. I used carnaruba car wax, and it works great. Just put it on, so I’ll update later with how long it lasts.

  42. Jon June 8, 2010 at 12:29 am #

    I am not wanting to paint my entire board. My plan is to paint the end of a runway, with the number and centerlines on the board. I can just use painters tape for the straight lines. Whatever is not painted will be stained. How do you go about working with both stain and paint when it comes to not getting stain on the paint? Should I stain or paint first? And what about the sealing process?

    Thanks!

  43. T.Warren June 8, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    Jon, I would stain first, then paint; but I am by no means an expert. You might want to read other suggestions, if there are nay more forthcoming. Different people have different preferences for sealing their boards. I use Varathane’s spar urethane ( water-based) for my finish coats. Especially if you have white or light colors on your board, avoid oil-based cover coats, as that may cause an amber or yellow cast. You may wish to read the other comments about seal coats. I would certainly pay attention to anything Ted or Milky have to say.

  44. Ted June 8, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    Jon,

    Definately STAIN first then paint. Stain the entire board, tape off what you want painted, stain over the edge of the tape to seal the tape from paint bleeding through (we call that the “shaggy method”), paint. Then….use Minwax Polycrylic to “seal” everything. NOT polyURETHANE. Polyurethane is oil based and will cause your boards to get a yellowish tint to them. Polycrylic is water based and will never yellow. I always give my boards 6-7 coats. They will last you a life time!

    Keep us posted on the progress!

    Ted

    www dot mountainstatecornhole dot com

  45. Jon June 9, 2010 at 12:37 am #

    Ted, can you write more about “staining over the edge of the tape to seal the tape from paint bleeding through?” My thought is that there would then be a strip around all of the things I paint of not as stained wood.

    I’ve got everything, taking care to get polycrylic. I went through all of the messages so that was ingrained in my head.

    The other question was how many times do I need to stain and what’s that process? Stain, sand/wipe with cloth (?), stain, repeat…how many times?

    Thanks for the help, I’m taking my time on this so they’ll look great.

  46. Ted June 9, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    Paint or stain the boards the base color that you want.

    Then tape out the design/pattern that you want.

    Next, with the tape still in place, add one more coat of your base color over the edge of the tape to “seal” the tape.

    Finally, still leaving the tape in place, paint over with your next color going over the tape and all.

    Now you can remove your tape and have super crisp lines. What happens is, any bleed through you get will be with the base color and not show. That bleed through also clogs any areas to prevent any future bleed through with the next color.

    THATS WHAT WE CALL THE “SHAGGY METHOD”.

    Now, back to your staining question. I only put 1 coat of stain on. Max 2 coats. I apply a coat of stain to each board and then wipe them down with the same rag. Let it dry. (read instructions on your can) Apply 2nd coat. Let that dry at least 24 hours before painting over the stain. I have never sanded down between coats of stain. I make sure my boards are sanded smooth before I start staining. If I do get any rough spots after first coat of stain, then I will lightly sand that area.

    Let me know if you have any more questions.

    Ted

  47. Jon June 10, 2010 at 1:04 am #

    “Next, with the tape still in place, add one more coat of your base color over the edge of the tape to “seal” the tape. ”

    Am I right when I assume you mean to seal the side where I’ll be painting? And then I assume I need to let that dry for ___ hours?

    This is hard to understand…bear with me. I appreciate it.

    Another question, I’m doing a runway on my boards and everything but the numbers are white rectangles. Each number will be about 4 inches high and 2 inches wide. My brother’s idea was to use wide painters tape and then use an exacto knife to cut out each number.

  48. Ted June 10, 2010 at 4:41 am #

    Yes….you assumed right. Send me an email soI can send you a few links to pictures. I can’t do that on here.

    wvcornhole at suddenlink dot net

    Ill be at work all day but I will help you later tonight.

    Ted

  49. michelle July 7, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    does anyone know how to make a JR. cornhole set? everywhere I look they say they are the exactly half the size of regular cornhole sets even the bags are half the size so what would the size be for the sides and length?

    Thank you in advace.

  50. Ted July 7, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

    A regular cornhole set is 2ft wide x 4ft long. So, a junior set would be 1ft wide x 2ft long.

    I started making these myself. Not sure what kind of price to put on them yet. I made the hole bigger though. It’s 5 inches. Gotta keep in mind…these are for kids. You dont want to make the hole small and the bags small and the kids not get the bags in the hole. Wouldnt be any fun for them.

    Ted

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