How to DIY a Set of Cornhole Boards

finished half of a cornhole set

The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

Overview
  • Total Time: 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Intermediate


Building a set of two standard-size cornhole boards is a fun DIY project, and you'll be proud to show them off at your backyard barbecue or when tailgating before the next home game. Once the boards are done, make some custom bean bags with a sewing machine and some fabric that looks great with your new boards! 

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Pencil compass
  • Circular saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Drill-driver with piloting-countersink bit and screwdriver bit
  • 3/8-inch drill bit
  • Drill bit for leg bolts
  • Miter saw or miter box

Materials

  • 3 8-foot-long 1x3 boards
  • 2-by-4-foot piece of 3/4-inch sanded (AC) plywood
  • 2 5/16-inch bolts with washers and nuts
  • 1 5/8-inch wood screws
  • Wood filler
  • Sandpaper
  • High-gloss paint and painting supplies
  • Polyurethane or other wood finish (optional)
  • 2 1/2-inch-tall-by-3/4-inch-diameter round rubber bumpers

Instructions

materials for building a cornhole set
The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

We've broken down the instructions for this cornhole how-to into sections to help you better understand what should be prioritized in the project.

How to Build the Board Frames

  1. Cut Lumber

    Cut two pieces of 1x3 lumber to 47 inches long, using a circular saw or jigsaw. Cut two more pieces to 21 1/2 inches long.

    cutting plywood with a circular saw
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni
  2. Make a Rectangular Frame

    Fit the two longer pieces over the ends of the shorter pieces to form a rectangular frame.

    rectangular wooden frame
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni 
  3. Drill Pilot Holes and Fasten Pieces

    Drill pilot holes, using a drill-driver and a piloting-countersink bit, and fasten the pieces together with two 1 5/8-inch wood ​screws at each corner of the frame. 

    drilling pilot holes
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni
  4. Repeat for Second Frame

    Repeat the same process to build a second frame.

    marking plywood
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

Tip

Drill the pilot holes and drive the screws so that the screws are countersunk about 1/8 inch below the wood surface. This allows you to hide the screw heads with wood filler for a finished look. 

How to Attach the Cross-Braces

  1. Cut Pieces for Cross-Braces

    Cut two pieces of 1x3 at 21 1/2 inches long for the cross-braces.

    marking a piece of wood
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni 
  2. Fit Cross-Braces

    Fit one of the cross-braces across the middle of each frame so it is centered end to end on the frame.

    fitting cross braces
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni
  3. Drill Pilot Holes and Fasten Cross-Brace

    Drill pilot holes and fasten the cross-brace at each end with two 1 5/8-inch wood screws.

    drilling pilot holes
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

How to Add the Playing Surfaces

  1. Cut Pieces

    Cut two pieces of 3/4-inch plywood to 47 1/2 inches long by 23 1/2 wide.

    using a circular saw
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni
  2. Center Plywood

    Center each plywood piece over one of the frames so the plywood edges overhang the frame by 1/4 inch at all sides.

    placing a board over one of the frames
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni
  3. Drill Pilot Holes and Fasten Plywood

    Drill pilot holes and fasten the plywood with 1 5/8-inch wood screws along each edge.

    drilling pilot holes
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

How to Fill the Screw Holes

  1. Fill Screw Holes, Then Smooth Filler

    Fill the screw holes with wood filler or putty, then smooth the filler with a putty knife. Let the filer dry as directed. 

    using wood filler
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

How to Cut the Cornholes

  1. Mark Center-Points

    Mark a center-point 8 7/8 inches down from the top of each playing surface, and centered side to side.

    marking a piece of plywood
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni
  2. Draw Circle Around Center-Points

    Use a pencil compass to draw a 6-inch-diameter circle around each center-point.

    cutting a hole
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni
  3. Drill Hole and Complete Cutout

    Drill a 3/8-inch starter hole just inside the circle. Insert the blade of the jigsaw into the starter hole and cut along the inside of the circle to complete the cornhole cutout. 

    completing the circle cut out
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

    Tip

    Alternatively, if you own a router, you can cut the holes with a straight bit and a circle-cutting jig. Make the cut in four or five passes so as to not overwork the router or cause the bit to burn.

How to Create the Legs

  1. Cut Piece, Mark Center-Point, and Cut Semicircle

    Cut one piece of 1x3 to at least 13 inches long. Mark a center-point about 1 1/2 inches from one end of the board, and centered side to side. Using the compass, draw a semicircle at the end of the board, pivoting on the center-point. Cut the semicircle with a jigsaw. 

    drawing a semi-circle on wood
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni
  2. Drill Hole at the Center-Point

    Drill a hole for a 2 5/16-inch bolt (to attach the leg assembly to the frame) at the center-point, using a bit that is slightly larger than the threaded shank of the bolt. 

    drilling pilot holes
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni
  3. Measure and Draw Line, Then Cut Leg End

    Measure from the semicircular end and draw a line across the leg at 11 3/4 inches. Using a miter saw or miter box, cut the end of the leg at a 25-degree angle; the angle should start at one end of the marked line and angle upward toward the semicircular end of the leg. 

    marking and cutting wood
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni
  4. Cut and Drill Remaining Legs

    Use the completed leg as a template to trace three more leg shapes, including the bolt hole, then cut and drill the remaining three legs. 

    cutting the rest of the legs
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni 
  5. Sand All Edges

    Sand all of the legs and the cornhole boards so all edges and surfaces are smooth and free of splinters. 

    sanding wood
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

How to Drill the Leg Bolt Holes in the Frames

  1. Make Marks and Drill

    Make a mark on each long side of each frame, 1 1/8 inch down from the underside of the plywood and 2 inches from the top end of the frame (nearest the cornhole). Drill a hole at each mark, using the same bit you used for the bolt holes on the legs. 

    marking holes
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

How to Build the Leg Assemblies

  1. Cut Pieces

    Cut two pieces of 1x3 to 20 inches long for the leg braces.

    cutting out leg braces
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni
  2. Place Legs on a Flat Surface

    Place two of the legs on a flat work surface, with the long side edge on the surface.

    placing braces on the wood
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni
  3. Position Braces

    Position one of the leg braces between the legs about 2 inches up from the pointed ends.

    gauging where the braces should go
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni
  4. Drill Pilot Holes and Fasten Brace

    Drill pilot holes, and fasten the brace with two 1 5/8-inch screws at each end.

    drilling pilot holes in the braces
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni
  5. Repeat Process

    Repeat the same process to complete the other leg assembly. If desired, fill the screw holes, let the filler dry, then sand the filler smooth. 

How to Complete the Project


  1. Fit Leg Assembly Inside Frame

    Place each cornhole board upside down on your work surface. Fit a leg assembly inside the board frame so the angled ends of the legs are pointing up and the long points of the angles are closest to the top end of the board (the end with the cornhole).

    attaching braces and legs
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

    

  2. Add Washers and Tighten Lock Nut

    Add a washer to each leg bolt and insert it through the outside of the frame and through the leg. Add another flat washer and a lock nut to each bolt. Tighten the lock nut so that the leg assembly is secure but the legs can still fold up easily into the board frame. 

    tightening the lock nut
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni 
  3. Turn Assembly Over

    Turn the assembly over on your work surface and open the legs so that your new board appears ready for play. (Note that the bottom of the legs won't be quite parallel with the ground because you still need to attach the 1/2-inch rubber bumpers to the legs after applying the finish.)

    flipping the project over
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni
  4. Finish Boards With Paint or Stain

    Finish the boards as desired. At the very least, paint the playing surfaces with high-gloss paint, which will allow the bean bags to slide somewhat on the surface. If desired, finish the remaining wood parts with paint or with a stain and/or a protective topcoat, such as polyurethane. Let the finishes dry as directed.

    adding stain to the wood
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni 
  5. Add Rubber Bumpers to Legs

    Add the rubber bumpers to the bottom of the legs to complete the project.

    adding rubber bumpers to the legs
    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni