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One of America’s favorite backyard games has recently seen an uptick in popularity. Now found at bars, beaches and charity tournaments, Cornhole is one of the most fun games around. Here we’ll show how to make your own in a few easy steps.

Before we begin, here are the specific items you’ll need:

  • Two – sections of 1/2-inch plywood cut to 24×48 (board tops)
  • Four – 48-inch sections of 2×4 (long frame sides)
  • Four – 21-inch sections of 2×4 (short frame sides)
  • Four – 11-1/2-inch sections of 2×4 (legs)
  • Box of 3-inch and 1-5/8-inch galvanized screws
  • Four carriage bolts with properly sized washers and wing nuts (optional retractable legs)

In addition to these building items, you’ll also want to decide on a paint, lacquer or polyurethane for your boards.

Step 1: First thing you’ll want to do is build the boxes. Once you have all of your materials cut to size, you can begin building the main boxes for your boards. The first step in this process is to construct frames from the 48-inch and 21-inch sections of 2×4. The 21-inch pieces will form the short rails at the front and back, with the 48-inch pieces running between them to create the long side rails.

Use 3-inch screws to join the rails together, being sure to screw the long rails onto the outside of the short ones, rather than the short ones onto the ends of the long ones. Repeat for the frame of the second board.

With the frames built, it’s time to attach the plywood tops. Align the plywood with the corners of the frame, being sure to get them as close as you can. Once you’re satisfied that the top is lined up correctly, grab your drill and use the 1-5/8-inch screws to attach it. To keep the top steady while you work, you can use clamps to hold it in place against the frame. Repeat this process for the second box, and the main bodies of your boards will be ready to go.

Step 2: The legs of a cornhole board can fold up inside the board and rest on the ground at an angle. To make this possible, the end of each leg that goes inside the box – has to be rounded off. To make the proper arc on the end of the leg, measure 1-3/4 inches down from one end of the 2 x 4 leg and make a pencil mark across the board at that point. Place the point of a compass on that mark, then use it to draw an arc that extends to the end of the board. You’re essentially just cutting a radius on one end of each 2 x 4 leg. Use a jigsaw or band saw to follow this arc and make the rounded cut for the end of the leg. (Rounding your legs is optional).

Once all four legs have been rounded off, it’s time to attach them. This is done by laying the leg down inside the box and positioning the rounded end to be flush with a corner. Use a pencil to mark the center of the board inside the radius of the arc you just cut. Using this mark as a guide, drill a 1/2-inch wide hole through the leg and the frame of the box, then repeat on the other side for the second leg.

To make the legs fold up and down, run carriage bolts through the holes you’ve just drilled from the outside and install a washer and a wing nut to the ends of the bolts that terminate inside the box. The wingnuts will allow you to loosen and tighten the legs so that you can fold them up and down conveniently. Repeat these steps for the legs on the second board. At this point, the legs of your cornhole boards need to be cut to an angle to ensure that they will sit flush with the ground. Use anything you can to prop the middle of each board up 12 inches off of your work table (or a hard level surface). Next, fold the legs out over the end of your table, then use the edge of the table itself to mark a straight line across each leg. If you want to be more accurate or don’t have steady hands, holding a ruler out from the end of the table can help you draw a straighter line. Detach the legs and cut across the lines you’ve drawn to finish them. This process sets the “height and angle” of the back legs.

Step 3: By this point, your cornhole boards are nearly finished, and the only major step left is to drill out the cornholes themselves. To mark the hole, measure down 9 inches from the end of the board and then 12 inches from the side, drawing small lines with each measurement. The point where those lines meet will be the exact center of your cornhole, which you can then mark out with a compass set to a 3-inch radius. Repeat these steps to mark out the hole on the second board. At this stage, it’s worth remembering the old woodworker’s adage of “measure twice, cut once.” Be sure your holes are correctly positioned before drilling because you can’t go back and move them afterward.

The easiest way to cut the hole is to drill a pilot hole along the edge of the circle you marked, just large enough to insert the blade of your jigsaw. From there, you can use the saw to cut around the rest of the circle and create the cornhole. Repeat for the second board, and you’ve got a set of cornhole boards almost ready to go! After the holes are cut out, be sure to take a piece of sandpaper to the edges to smooth out any rough areas that the saw may have left.

Step 4: At this point, the construction of the boxes themselves is complete. From here, all that’s left is finishing the boards in whatever manner seems best to you. The most common is to sand, prime and paint the boards. If you want, you can decorate the boards by painting straight stripes or other designs against a background color using lines laid out with painter’s tape. If you’re going to keep it basic, though, you can also merely paint them a solid color.

Step 5: If you happen to be handy with a sewing machine as well as wood tools, you can take the DIY fun of cornhole a step further by making your authentic cornhole bags. The American Cornhole Association gives the official measurements for regulation bags as follows:

Size: 6 inches square
Seam: 1/4-inch on all sides
Weight: 14-16 ounces
Fill: Corn Kernels (plastic pellets acceptable)

To make your cornhole bags, cut two pieces of duck cloth that are 6-1/4 inches square, then sew them together with a double stitch and the recommended 1/4-inch seam on three sides, leaving the final side open for filling. Cut corners off, then turn the completed bag inside out and use your finger or a pencil to push the corners out from the inside, to ensure sharper edges and a better-looking bag.

Next, fill each bag with 15 ounces of feed corn. To make sure you don’t make a mess, it’s a good idea to use a funnel. Finally, tuck the edges of the open side in and sew the bag up, again using a double stitch for extra durability. Make a set of bags this way, and you’re ready for a game of cornhole.