Sunday, July 11, 2010

Make a Cornhole Game

Cornhole  is a game that’s similar to horseshoes but uses beanbags. It’s very popular at tailgates and picnics in Ohio and Indiana. I’m not sure why. It’s kitschy rednecky cool in that Jeff Foxworthy You Might Be a Redneck If… sort of way. Maybe because conhole is a game you can easily play and not spill the drink or drop the cheeseburger you’re holding in your other hand?

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I built this all by myself!

You can easily make a cornhole game or buy one premade. The store bought boards are called something insipid like Bean Bag Toss Game or Baggo. However part of the whole Cornhole thing is to make the boards or to buy homemade boards from someone else.

I made a set for Mother and Father in-law for our big Family Reunion Weekend because because Father in-law loves nothing more than a reason to get his family together. Cornhole is a game kids and adults can play with each other a little more safely than say, horseshoes.

I also wanted to build the boards because Father in-law gets a kick that I'm the only one in the family that likes DIY as much as he does. He calls me his ToolBelt Diva. *blush*

Making a Cornhole game is simple construction and is a good beginner woodworking project. It’s also a good project if you’re someone like me who’s last project of building something from scratch was 7th grade wood shop.

I used the plans for regulation boards I found on Cornhole Game Players and sewed relegation size and weight bean bags with fabric from my fabric stash I filled them with dried pinto beans instead of the traditional dried feed corn which is still allowed. Oh yes, apparently there is a whole Official Cornhole Association and Tournaments and whatnot. If any of the kids get hooked on Cornhole want to be professional Cornhole players they are good to go courtesy of Aunt Lisa.

Here are a  few tips and helpful hints if you make a Cornhole game.

1. Use two layers of fabric for your beanbags as the directions recommend because they will take a pounding! Instead of using muslin for the liner, I used fabric from an old heavy cotton curtain panel. Make sure that you use the same weight of fabric for all of your beanbags.

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I made a paper template to ensure that all of my beanbags are the same size.


2. I don’t have a table saw (pity I know.) However I was able to have the wood cut for me for free when I bought it at Lowes. I think Home Depot also cuts wood if you buy it there. I don’t know if or what they charge for this service.

3. I used stainless steel screws for this project. I did this so the screws wouldn’t rust in case the boards were accidentally left outside in the rain (even though I know this will never happen. I know everyone will treat them like gold instead of treating them like a toy that you throw things at.)

4. Hold the long screws into place using needle nose pliers while you are drilling them into the pilot holes in your boards to ensure you screw them straight down into the boards.


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You can use this technique for nails too.

Guess how I know?

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I didn't use pilers as a guide and accidently screwed a screw in at an angle.

This screw wouldn’t back out because it uses a star shaped head (a special bit that came with the screws.) I fixed it by cutting the end of the screw off with a Dremel and filling the hole with a dab of wood putty. Which my in-laws didn’t find out about my blunder until I blabbed about it on the Internet. Let’s hear it for full disclosure! (Do I have to disclose that FTC? Because I think I just did.)

5. Older kids may be able to help you with parts of this project but please take all safety precautions for yourself and your kids. If you’re not comfortable doing something please seek out advice from an expert or get a pro because it’s easy to have an accident and get hurt.

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I’m showing you this photo again for sympathy.

In fact, I was being Miss Safety First and still accidentally countersunk my thumb when Mommy’s Little Helper (my drill) slipped off a screw head and into my thumb. Fortunately it bled worse than it actually was but it’s a good reminder about safety.

It’s also a good thing to hold over my in-laws heads. I bled for you – be grateful! Even if the construction is a little off :)

6. I recommend using the belt sander the plans call for to sand the edges of the board. I tried using my palm sander and it was slow going. I gave up, bought a belt sander, and sweet baby Jane! It did the job in a short amount of time.

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Sweet Baby Jane? Sounds like a good name for my new belt sander.
Hey, they name boats. Why not tools?

7. The plans had very complicated directions what to use and not use to draw and cut the hole in the boards. I grabbed a 6-inch plastic lid from the kitchen and traced around it with a pencil – problem solved.

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A regulation cornhole is 6 inches wide.

8. The plans also had a very complicated directions on how make make the rounded legs. Instead I traced around a small paint can and cut along the line with a jigsaw. Why do guys have to make everything sound so complicated in the workshop?

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It’s not brain surgery dude.

9. I painted the boards with outdoor paint I had leftover from my porch chair revamp. I built the boards and legs first. Then I painted them and let them dry before I bolted the legs to the boards, which made life a lot easier.

I  took the game to my in-laws farm and it was big hit with everyone in attendance. I’m sure we’ll get a lot of use out of it for years to come.

Hey FTC: The stores and brands I mentioned in this post didn’t pay me to mention them because they don’t even know I exist at the corporate level (tragic, considering my local stores know me very well. I spend lots of my money there.) I bought everything with my own money with the exception of the Dremel and the Mouse because I got those as Christmas gifts. Exactly how do it report that?




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