How to build corn hole outdoor game

A finished product!

If you’ve been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you already know that for my wedding, utilizing the greenspace at our venue was really important to me. To that end, the husband and I worked on building Corn Hole games.

Corn Hole is sort of in the family of Skee-ball and Horseshoes. You basically throw sacks of corn at a board in the hopes of getting it into the hole. You get the bean bag in the hole, you get 3 points. You land it on the board, 1 point. Anything else is a miss. You typically get four bean bags per side and can play one-on-one (four bags each) or play two-on-two (two bags each).

We made two sets of Corn Hole because we had about 100 people at our wedding, each set has two boards, just like Horseshoes has two pegs. However, I’ll give you instructions for building just one set. I’ll explain what is regulation for Corn Hole, and what I did for our set that wasn’t exactly regulation.

This was a fun project for us because it has both a woodworking construction component and a sewing component. It’s also a great time of year for the project with summer on the way. Any excuse to spend more time outside is a good one.


Materials for the boards

Four 8-foot-long 2 by 4 boards (pressure treated is nice, but not necessary

Half a sheet of ½-inch plywood cut into two 2 by 4 feet sections

Four ¾-inch bolts with matching wing nuts

3- to 4-inch deck screws

2- to 3-inch cabinet screws


Tools for the boards

¾-inch drill bit

Drill bit slightly smaller than diameter of cabinet screws

Circular saw or table saw to cut boards to length

6-inch hole saw or jigsaw


Stain and/or paint of your choice (I used  Minwax stain, Rustoleum gold spray paint, and a custom mixed green of Apple Barrel acrylic paint)


Speed square, tape measure, pencil


Materials for the corn bags (or buy them here)

½ yard canvas fabric/duck cloth color one

½ yard canvas fabric/duck cloth color two

15-17 cups of filler, either corn feed (regulation) or pony beads (not regulation)

Heavy-weight thread, scissors, sewing machine/needle, straight pins, funnel


How to make the boards

1) If you haven’t yet, cut the half sheet of plywood into two 2-foot by 4-foot pieces.

2) Cut four 48-inch (4-foot) lengths out of two of the 2 by 4 boards.

3) Measure the actual thickness of your 2 by 4; it will be thinner than 2 inches. Double the thickness and subtract that from 24 inches. (For example: If the thickness is actually a 1 inch and a half, doubling would be three and subtracted from 24 would be 21.) Cut four pieces of that calculated amount from another 2 by 4.

4) From the last 2 by 4 board, cut four pieces 12 inches long.

Here are all the cut pieces for two sets of corn hole (or double what the instructions are for!)

5) It’s time to cut the hole in the corn hole board. The hole should be 6 inches in diameter. On both pieces of plywood, draw a line down the center and mark a point on that line one foot down. This will be the center of the hole. If you have a six-inch hole saw, go ahead and bang that out. If you don’t have a hole saw, you’ll have to use a compass and set to a three-inch radius to draw a circle. Then, use a jigsaw to cut out the hole along the line.


6) Now it’s time to fix up the legs. Take the four 12-inch sections of 2 by 4s. On one side of the long edge, measure down 10 inches. Then draw a line from the 10-inch point to the end of the board on the opposite side of the wide side. Cut along the line and repeat for all legs so the bottom sits at an angle.


7) On the upper side of the legs, you’re going to round the corners. Find the center of the wide side (the width will be less than 4 inches, so you might have to do some weird math.) Then, measure down from the top, the amount that half the width was. (For example: If your board is three and a half inches wide, the center will be one and three-quarters inches from each edge and you should make a point there that is also one and three-quarters from the top.) Then, use the 3/4-inch drill bit to drill through at that point. Using your compass, a 4-inch drill saw bit or some other round thing, draw a curve from the points on top and on either side of the of center point. Use the jigsaw to cut the curve along that line.

8) You’ll have to make corresponding holes on the 4-foot-long 2 by 4s. The holes should be again in the middle of the wide side of the board and about 4 inches down from the top. Drill with the ¾-inch drill bit.

9) Time for some assembly. Lay out two of the 4-foot-long 2 by 4s making sure the holes for the legs are parallel and on the end you want to be the top. Put the 2 by 4s cut to about 21 inches on the top and bottom in between the longer boards. Screw the frame together using 2 to 3 deck screws in each corner.



10) Place the plywood on top of the frame, making sure the end with the 6-inch hole is on the same end that the holes for the leg installation are on. Line up the corners carefully. Using a narrow drill bit, pre-drill starter holes for screws in the four corners and in several spots along the middle of each side, about ½-inch to an inch from the edge. Use the cabinet screws to secure the plywood to the frame. You can fill the screw heads with putty if you want.



11) Sand the boards and the legs, paying careful attention to edges, especially those that have been cut.

Even though building things isn’t the hubby’s forte, he was a good sport with all our wedding projects and helped out a lot.


12) Stain or paint the pieces any way you’d like. For my sets, we stained the whole thing with a light reddish-stain. Then, using painter’s tape and newspaper, we outlined a designed that had a border and diagonal lines, leading up to the hole. One set I spray painted gold. The other, I hand-painted green. (Green and gold were our wedding colors.)

If you’re staining, be sure to use gloves and work in a well-ventilated area.
The boards after the stain has dried.
After the stain had dried, we outlined where we wanted the spray paint. We didn’t bother to fill the screw heads with putty because we just painted over them.
A finished product!

13) Lastly, add the legs by putting a ¾-inch bolt through the board, then through the hole in the leg and tighten with the wing nut. The longer edge of the leg should be the one closer to the top end of the board. To play, tilt the leg so it rests on the top 2 by 4. When not in use, loosen the bolt so that the leg folds in.



How to make the corn bags

1) Cut eight 7-inch by 7-inch squares out of each color of canvas so you have 16 squares total.

2) Pair together two of the same color cloth, right sides together and sew around the perimeter, leaving about 2 inches open. Repeat for all the squares. Turn right sides out.


I used a thread that matched the fabric, so you couldn’t originally see it. I illustrated over the photo where you should sew.


3) Fill each pouch with 1 pound of corn feed (16 oz., about 2 cups). I choose to make mine without corn feed and instead use plastic pony beads (still two cups). Consequently, the weight is a lot less (about half). However, if you’re prone to forgetting the game outside and the bags get wet, the plastic won’t get soggy or rot like corn would over time.


4) Fold in the raw edge of the fabric around the opening and pin closed. Sew around the entire perimeter of the bag to give it a finished look and make sure no corn can spill out after being tossed about.


With both parts done, it’s time to play.


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a percentage of the charge if you decide to purchase it. (There’s no additional cost to you, either!) I only recommend things I really use.

How do I get all my sewing projects done? With the the Singer Tradition. It fits into my budget and is versatile enough for everything I can throw at it.