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. Randy July 13, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    Ted,

    Should i use a sealer on my baords before painting. I made one set and the grain of the wood seemed to bubble up.

  2. Ted July 15, 2010 at 12:31 am #

    Randy,

    If I am leaving the wood grain showing, I seal it with a Sanding Sealer. Either Minwax or Cabot brand. Sand boards completely smooth. Apply 1 coat….let dry. Sand wood again because the sealer will raise the grain. Apply 2nd coat of sealer. This should be plenty. If there is any wood grain still coming up, repeat steps.

    I have never had a problem with painting over a sealer. The paint always sticks.

    Let me know if you have any more questions.

    Ted

  3. Randy July 15, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    what do you recommend if i am painting them and you are not going to see the grain, mine are red and blue and you can barely see the grain but you can see some raised spots

  4. Ted July 16, 2010 at 12:35 am #

    I always prime my boards before painting. If the grain raises during the priming stage, you can sand it down and apply another coat of primer.

    If you haven’t painted your logo’s or applied decals yet, go ahead and sand your boards LIGHTLY with a 220 grit or higher to knock down the rough spots. Then, paint another coat or two.

    Let me know if this works!

  5. Thel August 10, 2010 at 9:25 pm #

    I just finished my first set of boards. I thought I had used the right Polycrylic but my boards have no slide. Then I discovered that I had picked up Satin finish in the poly….I did the 8 coats like Milky said. Should I sand them some and put on a few coats of the Poly Gloss…..I am so tired of painting and polying but I want them to play right since they are a gift. Thanks!

    Thelma

  6. Ted August 11, 2010 at 12:36 am #

    Thelma,

    How many bags did you throw on them before you said to yourself, ‘They won’t slide!”? If you were throwing corn bags, keep on throwing them. The corn will start breaking down and putting a fine layer of dust on your boards which will let the bags slide. Trust me…I have played on boards with NO POLY and the bags were sliding.

    If you want them to slide right away, maybe do a real light sanding with a 220 and wipe all the dust and debris off really good. The apply a coat or two of semi gloss or gloss.

    I really believe your bags will slide if you continue throwing on them the way they are now.

    Let us know how it goes.

    Ted

  7. DB August 17, 2010 at 11:39 pm #

    I just got done building and painting my set…I added an ohio state decal onto the dried painted and then painted a clear coat over the decals. Everything seemed fine, but after a couple hours i went to check on it and the decal had bubbles and looked like someone was cooking it…it almost looked like the plastic on the decal was melting. Any ideas?

  8. Ted August 18, 2010 at 1:20 am #

    DB,

    I may be able to help you better if you give me full details about the decal. Name brand of decal?

    Ted

  9. Bob August 25, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

    Great posts here! Read the whole thing. I have built about 7 sets now and always hand paint the logo. It’s a pain, because I have to print out the logo, trace it on the painted surface with carbon copy paper, buy the paint and put on at least 2 coats of each color, sometimes retrace, and outline with black if necessary.

    My first set was a Minnesota Wild set with team colors and logo(enlarged to fill an 8×11 sheet of paper). Then a Golden Gopher hockey set for brother-in-law with team colors and Goldy the Gopher in hockey gear. Then a plain set for my Mom. Then a set for my brother with his favorite establishment’s logo and colors. The last two I finished were both Minnesota Vikings boards(one for me, one for brother-in-law), all hand painted logos….ugh, but am very proud of them as I’ve been told people thought they were stickers.

    Now I am in the process of finishing a set of Minnesota Twins boards(for brother-in-law’s friend), …but this time….we are going to put fathead vinyl stickers on and will be using clearcoat for the first time. I was researching what to use and that is how I ended up here. My wife just purchased the spar clear coat. I know minwax polycrylic seems to be the way to go, but I need to finish these by Friday and would like to be reassured the spar urethane will work just as well.

    I am conflicted on whether I should now clear coat over my existing boards to protect the logos. I’ve had to touch them up a time or two, but I really don’t want to risk changing the slide of the boards. I have to vouch for plain high gloss interior/exterior acrylic paint. Your slide will vary by environment. Dry hot sunny weather, fast boards. At dark when the humidity starts to roll in, slow and sticky boards. That’s part of the game! Makes it challenging and makes you make adjustments in your throw.

    Also, we make our boards a little different in Minnesota. The hole is centered 12″ down from top of board rather than 9″. I use 1×2’s for the board frame and legs and half inch plywood. Very portable and easy to move around. Also use brad nailer and ‘construction adheisive’ to attach plywood to frame. I always paint a 2″ border around the board rather than the runway stripes and usually a 3/4″ border of another color inside of that and so far have always had a white center with the logo about 6 to 9″ below the hole. I will come back and post pics sometime. Sorry to ramble on, but love this game and love making new sets of boards and am always looking for a better way.

  10. Robyn August 26, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    Sounds Awesome Bob…. 🙂 tell us why you decided to move your hole down 3″. I might try that sometime. I am finishing up a set for someone in Colt’s Colors. I just do the painting and let the person that is buying them from me get their stickers/decals or whatever they want to put on them. I am not an artist and would suck painting any kind of logo. I do enjoy making them though. I’ve had one lady buy 3 sets of boards and 5 sets of bags off me. She likes how sturdy they are compared to getting them at a sporting goods store. Can’t wait to see your pictures!!!

  11. Chris August 26, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    Hello All!

    I have just started on my first set and want to let you all know, this place is awesome for information! I do have a question though, I have some Alabama Crimson Tide window clings I would like to use and am wondering if these will hold up under a spray on Clear Coat?

    When you google “cornhole decals” most of what I found were things like window clings or sticker sheets, even on ebay. Are these going to work?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated!
    Chris

    PS: Even though I’ve just started them, I have a drawing of what they are going to look like and would love to post them!

  12. Chris August 26, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    Hello All!

    I have just started on my first set and want to let you all know, this place is awesome for information! I do have a question though, I have some Alabama Crimson Tide window clings I would like to use and am wondering if these will hold up under a spray on Clear Coat? The set I have are Wincraft Sports Ultra Decals, removable/reusable.

    When you google “cornhole decals” most of what I found were things like window clings or sticker sheets, even on ebay. Are these going to work?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated!
    Chris

    PS: Even though I’ve just started them, I have a drawing of what they are going to look like and would love to post them!

  13. Chris August 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    Sorry for the double post! : (

  14. Ted August 27, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    Chris,

    Window clings are not meant to be used on cornhole boards. They are suppose to be put on something smooth…like glass. They are meant to peal off later.

    I have heard of people having these window clings start shrinking or doing other crazy stuff after putting them on their cornhole boards and coating them with poly. I would just stay clear of window clings on cornhole boards. Just not worth the worry of them coming back up and ruining your boards.

    I get all my decals from Bill at cornolina DOT com. He can make any decal you want! Tell him Ted sent you!

    Ted

    mountainstatecornhole DOT com

  15. Bob August 30, 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    Here is our scoreboards. Not a great pic, but one I have available right now. We have a cartoon skunk next to the 11. If you make it to 11 or greater while the other team has zero, we call that a skunk at that’s game. We don’t play ‘win by 2’ or ‘go out exactly’.

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=479021&l=88889aabe7&id=100000218230266

  16. Chris September 1, 2010 at 8:47 am #

    Thanks Ted!

    I have one other question, what would you use to put a picture on the cornhole board to hold it in place? Or will just enough coats of the clear coat do it? Any help would be appreciated!

    Chris

  17. Ted September 1, 2010 at 10:46 pm #

    Chris,

    What kind of picture? Like a photograph? I havent done that but sounds like a disaster to me!

  18. Chris September 2, 2010 at 7:25 am #

    Ted,

    It’s not a photograph, but a pic that was printed from a print shop. They just didn’t have the capabilities to print to an adhesive backing but it’s printed on photo paper.

    Chris

  19. TWarr September 2, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    I agree with Ted. Photo pic sounds like it could be problematic. I have, however, cut images from commercial posters and successfully applied them to my boards.

  20. Chris September 6, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    Thanks Guys. I appreciate the feedback!

    Chris F.

  21. Charley September 6, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

    Got one of my boards pretty much done this weekend! Now to get the decals for the other one!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/12623911@N07/4966528772/

  22. Ken September 20, 2010 at 8:14 am #

    I’m getting ready to paint my corn hole boards. Do I have to use primer. Are can I just use a high gloss/any gloss paint and a clear coat.Should I put a coat of :
    1.Primer
    2.Gloss paint
    3. Clear coat
    Is this right .

  23. Ted September 20, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    Primer is NOT a must. It sure wouldn’t hurt to use a primer either. Think about it, people usually apply 2 coats of primer then 2 coats of paint. Why not just apply 4 coats of paint?

    I will tell you that if you are using a red or yellow paint, DO USE a gray primer first. Red’s and yellows do not cover very well. Gray is the best primer for those colors. Not white primer.

    Other than that, your steps are correct.

  24. Like Cornhole November 4, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    Should you always use a clear coat on cornhole boards? Can you use spray paint clear coat? Thanks! : )

  25. Ted November 4, 2010 at 11:13 pm #

    If you want to protect your paint job or decals, you should use a clear coat. If you don’t care much about the color of your boards, use Minwax Polyurethane. If you want a crystal clear poly, use Minwax Polycrylic. Polyurethane is oil based and will give your boards an amber look to them. It will turn your white paint job or white decals, yellowish. Polycrylic is water based and will dry crystal clear.

    They sell both in spray cans but I reccommend brushing both on with a foam brush. 5 – 7 coats.

    Hope this helps!

  26. Ben Dover January 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    hey ya this game is pretty tits : )

  27. Brian April 9, 2011 at 12:37 am #

    Yes. Use 5 to 7 coats of polycrylic. If you’re still not happy with the slide put a coat of carnuba car wax. I know this sounds like overkill but I’ve built two sets and this works great. The wax wears off with time but you can always apply another coat. It takes longer than you would think to wear off

  28. Paintboss May 1, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    I use a little silicone spray or car wax on the bottom 1/2 of my board, wipe it off good and it slides real nice. Might start with the bottom 1/3, just play with it till you get what your looking for

  29. cornhole boards May 11, 2011 at 3:28 am #

    Hello guys ! I am new blogger in here … Hoping for the new updates… Thanks for the info ! ! !

  30. JG June 18, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    Hi,

    I just made my first set of cornhole boards, I have finished painting them and am on to my last step sealant to protect the wood and the designs.

    What type of sealant works best? I need something that is clear to show off the designs. My friend uses and recommends Miniwax fast drying polyurethane clear gloss. His boards are really slippery, at least at first. I haven’t tried them after they had been used a while so I don’t know if this gets better. I was curious if there was anytihng else out there to try that would both protect the paint designs and also show them off.

    Thanks for your advice!

  31. Ted June 19, 2011 at 6:16 am #

    JG,

    I have always used Minwax Polycrylic in the light blue can. It goes on milky but dries crystal clear! It will NEVER yellow over time either like a polyURETHANE will. Polyurethane is oil based and polycrylic is water based.

    Oil = yellowish/brown color. Water = clear.

    Check out some of my boards. mountainstatecornhole DOT com

    Good luck!

  32. Suzy June 29, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    I just finished panting my cornhole board, 3rd coat. The board is still a bit critty. My wonderful husband told me I did not have to sand the board pre painting, because it was smooth. Needless to say, he was wrong. What can I do to get a smooth finish on my board?

    Thanks

    Suzy

  33. Jim June 29, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    My suggestion would be to re-sand smooth with about 240 grit sandpaper (top, sides & around hole) clean it very good. You can buy a “Tack Cloth” at any local hardware store, Unfold the tack cloth and lightly wipe off the entire surface to be painted (the tack cloth is sticky and will clean up all sanding dust & debri) If you are using a roller go with a real low nap but before you paint the deck make sure to paint your sides and trim out around your hole, roll the deck last and roll length wise from edge to edge (don’t stop your stroke in the middle of the board as it will leave paint lines. After that if you are still not pleased with the surface you can go a step further and go over surface again with 000 or 0000 steel wool, reclean surface and clear coat.

    add: If you use aerosol spray from side to side (not length wise) keep a good overlap (wet edge) but dont sag the paint and again do not cut you spray passes short, start at one side and run your spray pass straigt across on pass the other side.

    (I have used rustoleum metal paint (worked good after a couple coats, If I am applying a second color like a design on the board, after my first color is dry I will mask off and use aerosol for the second color), I have also rolled on Zinzers wood primer then sanded smooth and finished the colors with regular aerosol paint. (I clear coated all of my boards with Aerosol clear coat accept for my first set but did not really notice that much of a difference

    Hope I did not confuse you 🙂

  34. Jim June 29, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    The boards we just made we primed with Zinzers (roll on), Sanded (240 grit) out smooth, tack clothed, then used aerosol black for 1st coat, sanded with steel wool, tacked clean & applied 2nd coat of black… When dry we applied Harley Davidson decals to the boards, pressing down real good but being careful not to blemish the boards in any way… After that we clear coated over the black & decals… Let dry for about a week (if you can wait that long)

    Boards look really nice…

  35. Ted June 29, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    Suzy,

    If you are going to use Minwax Polycrylic (the water based poly) then please do NOT use steel wool to clean your boards as Jim stated. Polycrylic is water based so what happens when water meets steel? Yep……..RUST! No matter how good you think you got the boards wiped down after the steel wool, all it takes is one little micro piece of steel wool left on the board and you’ll have rust. Now…if you’re going to use Minwax Polyurethane I’d say you’ll probably be ok. Polyurethane is oil based. Downfall with polyurethane is that it’ll leave a yellowish look to your boards if you are using light colored paints. Polycrylic will NEVER leave a yellowish tint to your boards.

    I have only wiped my boards down with a wet rag or towel. I never use a tack cloth (heard bad things with these too) or any type of steel wool. I sand my boards then wipe them down really well with a wet rag or towel. That’s it.

    You can see my work for yourself. w w w DOT mountainstatecornhole DOT com

    I even have a couple of videos on YouTube showing some of my work.

  36. Brian Lampe July 12, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    Have you ever thought of using MDF for the face of the boards if you are

  37. Brian Lampe July 12, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Have you ever thought of using MDF for the face of the boards if you are Painting them.

  38. Ted July 12, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    Brian,

    I would never use MDF for the face of cornhole boards. Sure it’s cheap and it’s very smooth but….I don’t think there is any way to completely seal the edges of the wood so water doesn’t get into it. Once water get’s into MDF….you’re screwed! That stuff will swell up like a stuffed pig and break apart.

    If you are planning to keep the boards inside and never get them wet, you may be ok. I wouldn’t even play on them at night when the dew is getting on them.

    Good luck!

    w w w DOT mountainstatecornhole DOT com

  39. Karyn July 28, 2011 at 1:16 am #

    Can I use a poster –on the corn hole board & paint the polycrylic over it. I can not find a decal of the soccer team Manchester United that is big enough. We are making these for our son-n-law’s birthday. Any tips on how to apply poster & will it stay on? Thank you Karyn

  40. Ted July 28, 2011 at 5:49 am #

    @ Karyn,

    Please email me. I can get you a decal any size, color or team you want.

    wvcornhole AT suddenlink DOT net

    If you have Yahoo or Hotmail, please trun your Spam filter off or you wont be able to get my reply.

    Ted

  41. Karyn July 29, 2011 at 12:49 am #

    How much would it cost for 2 decals of the soccer team–Manchester United– I guess about 9×14 ? or what ever size is the correct size for the bottom half of the boards ?? Thank you Karyn

  42. john August 3, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    I have stained my boards with a satin stain with a polyurthine mix and I am about to apply decals should I do one coat of polycryilc before I add the decals.

  43. john August 3, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    I have stained my boards with a satin stain with a polyurthine mix and I am about to apply decals should I do one coat of polycryilc before I add the decals. thx.

  44. Doy August 6, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    Ok, so I guess it’s time I landed somewhere and take part in some dialogue. I’ve been all over the internet researching while completeing my first set. It’s the first woodworking I’ve done in probably 20 years. Fine wood finishing is a true art if you ask me. I’m gonna make some observations and ask some questions both general and specific probably. My main concern is working through the variables on finishing, not set construction. I painted my set white, using latex gloss enamel. I had trouble achieving BOTH gloss AND slickness in the end. I painted my logos freehand with the same gloss enamel. Yes red is very difficult to paint over white!! Anyway, I know that Minwax says to not use steel wool but my thoughts and experience on that are this: I let my finish dry and harden nicely before putting sandpaper and wool to it. The water in polycrylic is the delivery medium. Water evaporates leaving the urethane coating behind. When breaking down the sticky “gloss” it created a hazing effect. I sanded with 400 grit and I polished with 0000 s/w and got most, but nnot all of it out. After this my boards were very slick and smooth but not glossy and shiney. That is where i stopped. I ended up with 5 coats of polycrylic sanded lightly between the first 2 and last 3 coats and the final coat sanded, wooled and then polished with Duragloss polish. I am still wondering if there is not a way to have both gloss AND slickness???

  45. Dan August 9, 2011 at 1:52 am #

    I am finishing my first set for my inlaws. I have never done any woodworking in my life, but I love bags. Thanks to everyone for the help and advice you have all provided.

    I am making my bags because we recently went on vacation with them and I brought my bags ( which I bought at a County fair). They had never played before and they loved them. They paid for everything on the trip and wouldn’t take a dime because that is the type of people that they are.

    After drinking multiple glasses of red wine, I told them that I would make a set for them. They were amused ( again, I am not the construction type), and thought it was humorous. But, I made large statements that night and proclaimed that I would build them a set. The next day, they reminded me that “oh yea, you are going to make us a set”, thinking me a basic blowhard. I responded that not only was I going to make them a set, but that I was going to also make a movie of me making the set.

    I have been making the set based on measurements of my “purchased” set and at the same time, filming the making of the boards. After tonight, I am now about ready to use the MINWAX spray to coat the boards. I bought OAK 3/4″ vs. the standard 3/4″ plywood because my father in law is a big “wood” guy. The grain looks great.

    Up till now, things are going well, except for the fact that I used wet papertowels ( don’t try this at home) to wipe away the sand before minwaxing and the board became blackened because of the screw and the dragging of the paper towel moisture. I was lucky my neighbor ( who came to see the miracle) pointed this out to me before I sealed the board. More sanding in store.

    Anyway, thanks to all. From a google search comes a lot of information to help the novice fellow.

    I am also going to go to a tropy shop and get an engraved plaque to screw on to the bottom front of the board which will add a classy touch for my inlaws.

    Then all I have left is the movie….and I can only hope it will go global.

  46. Robyn August 10, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Wow Dan you used 3/4″ those are going to be some heavy boards mister!!! 1/2″ plywood is recommended however I have thought of using 3/4″ only because Lowe’s keeps the wood outside and it’s really hard to find a straight piece of 1/2″, my husband and I went through 8 before we found a decent one. When buying more the guy didn’t really want to unload all the warped ones to get me a straight one. He did suggest the 3/4″ and I said lugging 2 boards out to the yard is heavy enough I wouldn’t be able to carry both if they were made with 3/4″, so Here’s a suggestion for you, I put handles on all of my boards (that I sell) so you might want to look into that. Bet your inlaws would be impressed with you even more, that you put handles on for them 🙂 Can’t wait to see your movie!!

  47. Dino August 11, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    Question for those in the know…im building my first ones right now and i just want to make sure i have this all correct. I am sanding the crap out of the board then priming it and then applying enamel gloss paint. Do i need any sealant. I have a great friend who is a graphic artist doing some very detailed art work and want to protect it but dont want the board ice and just sliding all over…help?

  48. Jimbo August 18, 2011 at 12:15 am #

    Dino,
    your gloss enamel paint is your sealant. If you are trying to protect art that your friend is applying on top of your paint, you may want a clear surface treatment. I recommend a clear gloss water-base varnish like Minwax Polycrylic, at least a couple coats. Do not sand between coats here or you may damage your art work. Water base finishes recommend sanding between coats because of “grain raise”, which you will not experience if you are applying over a previously painted surface.
    For those with “grain raise” issues on raw wood applications, you can minimize that by using a high-quality paint brush (not a foam brush) and applying your clear acrylic in THICK coats, rather than thin.

  49. Jamie August 19, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    Ted,

    Hopefully I got your name correct. I have a question if you will. Are window clings and car decals the same? I just recently ordered Notre Dame Fighting Irish 8″ Color Team Logo Car Decal stickers to place on the boards my father and I just built and am worried that they won’t work. The description said non-reusable and would adhere to all smooth surfaces. So I figured it would be okay. I primed my boards, applied 3 semi-gloss topcoats in royal blue. They look real nice! I have to say, we did a great job! 🙂 So, after all that hard work I am questioning myself on how to apply these decals when they come and should I? Should I Poly. seal the boards first or after the decal is on or both???? Please help! I wish I would have been on your site first before ordering my decals. Thanks for you help and have a good day!

  50. Ted August 24, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Jamie,

    DO NOT USE WINDOW CLINGS!

    Only use decals. Decals have a sticky back to them and will stick to anything. Some people call them stickers but I think stickers are what kids play with. Decals are for the person that wants a nice logo to last forever.

    Please get with me and I’ll point you in the right direction for decals.

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