Party GamesPuzzlesCard GamesPerforming ArtsLawn GamesBoard GamesCollectingTabletop Gaming

DIY Paint Your Cornhole Boards

Updated on September 7, 2016

Cornhole is a lawn game played with beanbags and wooden boards.

The objective is to toss the bags into a hole on the boards: this yields 3 points. Getting the bag on the board is 1 point.

Steps

  1. Get ready to paint by applying wood putty and sanding.
  2. Apply primer.
  3. Lay out the design.
  4. Pick your paint.
  5. Paint your boards.
  6. Apply MinWax.
  7. Go play!

Starting Point

Ready to Paint

One of the most fulfilling parts of creating your own cornhole sets is the design. You've already put in a lot of time and work to make the set, now you want to make sure it looks great so you can show it off to your friends. Before you get ready to prime and paint it, you must do some prep work.

  1. Take some wood putty and fill in all the holes from the screws and nails and any other blemishes that might be in the surface. If you chose to use a really nice piece of hardwood plywood, you will hopefully have very few things to fill.
  2. After the putty dries, make sure you give a nice hand sanding to the entire surface so everything is smooth and flush.
  3. Take a lightly damp rag and wipe off the surfaces to get rid of any dust that might be remaining before you begin to use the primer.

Primer

Primer

Since the boards are made out of plywood, we need to get a nice base for our paint. The first step in the process is put primer on everything. I used a Rustoleum primer that sticks to anything. This is important to give your paint a solid surface to stick to. This process should be a very quick part, since you don't have to worry about making it look perfect. One warning is that primer is nearly impossible to get off of anything (including yourself). I used a super cheap sponge brush to apply the primer so I could just toss it in the trash afterwards. DO NOT use a quality brush, as it will be ruined once this process is finished. This part doesn't need to look great; just make sure all the wood is covered.

Lay Out the Design

Let the Creativity Begin

The best part of the process is getting to design and paint your board however you want. There really are no limits. You can be as creative or simple as you want. Slight warning: More creative designs take more time and more patience, but are well worth it in the end. If you want straight, crisp lines on your boards, then painters tape is essential. I always use Frog Tape; I think it is by far the best painters tape around. You can measure out your designs, mark with a pencil, and lay your tape down.

I chose a variety of stripes on my boards, fairly simple. This process was a bit more time consuming simply because I chose to use 4 different colors. This means you have to apply multiple coats and continue letting them dry before you can move on to the next color. Also, more colors equals more money (cost). So consider that before you lay out your design. You shouldn't need more than a quart of any color of paint, so don't waste money buying paint by the gallon.

Starting to Paint

Let the Painting Commence

There are a few key issues to address when beginning the painting process.

  • Choosing the correct type of paint is very important. If you aren't familiar with paints, you will be completely lost when you walk into Home Depot, Lowe's, or some other paint store. There are a million types of paints, and often the associates aren't as knowledgeable as they should be in order to give appropriate advice.
  • When you are choosing your paint, you want to choose an Exterior Semi-Gloss Enamel. I never get an oil-based paint because it's such a hassle to clean and ruins everything else it touches (hence why I hate primer). So save yourself a headache and get a water-based latex paint and life will go more smoothly.
  • I chose a Behr Premium Plus paint and they can color it any way you want. It washes out of your brushes very easily and off of your hands, etc.
  • Like I said earlier, there is no reason to get more than a quart of any color; a quart is more than enough to paint your boards with multiple coats.

Getting Closer...Added Some MinWax

Clear Coat MinWax

  1. Continue to be patient as you paint. It's very important that you don't leave any drips or bubbles in your paint. For this reason, I always use a brush and never a roller. Make sure you put multiple coats of each paint, you want this to be a quality product. Let paint completely dry before you apply each additional coat.
  2. Once you have everything painted the way you desire, there is one more critical step to go. To protect the paint and your cornhole set, you need to add a clear coat polycrylic. Essentially, you are waxing your board with a clear coat. This will protect everything you have just labored hours on, but it will also make your board shiny and slick. The best product for this stage is made by MINWAX. It's water based Polycrylic protective finish. I'll warn you that it isn't too cheap, but don't skip out on this step. Once again, you won't need a lot of this, so a quart will be plenty.
  3. When you apply this to the board, make sure your paint is extra dry before starting the process. Follow the directions on the can, but essentially, you apply it just like you would paint. If you are nervous, there are plenty of YouTube videos that can help show you how to apply the polycrylic. Apply nice, thick coats. The more coats the better. I always do a minimum of 5 coats, but usually like to apply 7-8 coats. Once again, it's very important to let it completely dry before each coating. Use a brush, not a roller.

Go PLAY!

Last, but not Least

After everything has had time to dry completely, it is time to take your beautiful creation out and test it out.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • kunynghame profile image
      Author

      kunynghame 4 months ago from San Antonio, TX

      Jarod, I have never used stains myself, but yes, they will work just fine. I have seen many projects that used plain wood, or stained wood; some projects have even had designs "etched" or burned into them. They look awesome. Just make sure that your final product has the many layers of minwax.

    • profile image

      ronda 4 months ago

      Hi. We made bean boards, let paint dry and when I put the poly on, it seems like there are 'blemishes'. I did sand after the 4th coat but even after that and the application of the 5th coat, I still see raised areas/bubbles. Any thoughts? If I keep adding coats, do you think the raised areas will 'blend' in?

    • profile image

      Jarod 15 months ago

      Can you use stain instead of paint on boards?

    • profile image

      csgang 18 months ago

      I made one for my daughter and son in law. The scheme is Philidelphia Flyers. They love it.

    • profile image

      Jacqui 3 years ago

      Hey, just wanted to be sure, did you paint the black first before putting the frog tape over and then paint the other stripes? How far did you paint black "underneath" the other paint?

    • kunynghame profile image
      Author

      kunynghame 3 years ago from San Antonio, TX

      Andrea, I'm glad to hear it.

      If you are brave, you should make your own bags, too. Takes some time and patience (for me anyway), but they are very high quality. Better than I've been able to purchase elsewhere.

      Also, You should post a picture of your final product; I'd love to see it.

    • profile image

      Andrea 3 years ago

      Thank you! Made my boards based on this post! Nice walk through!

    • kunynghame profile image
      Author

      kunynghame 3 years ago from San Antonio, TX

      Gray - 5.25''

      Black - 1''

      White - 3.5''

      Red - 4.5''

    • profile image

      Andrea 3 years ago

      What are the measurements for your paint pattern?

    • profile image

      Chris 3 years ago

      I bought the only birch plywood at my local hardware store and used two coats of KILZ 2 latex primer. At this point, I am pretty sure that the fault is with the veneer in the wood, but I should be able to tell for sure during the repair process tonight. Will post updates tomorrow..

    • kunynghame profile image
      Author

      kunynghame 3 years ago from San Antonio, TX

      No, this is great information. I'm glad you are sharing it on here. Did you have a good layer of primer on the board before applying any paint? I am wondering if the fault lies in the wood itself rather than the process. I have only ever bought the top of the line wood for my sets (because I am a perfectionist), so is it possible that affected it?

      I do think the process you described would be a wise way to fix the problem. You definitely want to eliminate that bubble and fix it permanently. Nothing would be more annoying than to have a small bubble for the next few years in your corn hole set!

    • profile image

      Chris 3 years ago

      The paint dried in my garage and this weekend was in the 50's-60's so pretty ideal painting weather. This is only the second set that I have built and have not experienced bubbles before. Also, the bubble was not visible until after the paint was applied (I checked the board before purchasing because apparently this is not uncommon...). The bubble popping technique that I came across the most is to put some painter's tape over the bubble, slice into the bubble with the grain and use a knife or razor blade to apply a very small amount of wood glue under the plywood veneer. Then put some wax paper over top of the tape and add weight to the area while the glue dried. The initial layer of painter's tape is so that any glue seepage will go to the top of the tape as opposed to the area on your project. Once the glue is dried, proceed with finishing as normal. Does this approach sound reasonable? Not trying to hi jack your post, but just wanted to provide some more information in case other readers have a similar issue.

    • kunynghame profile image
      Author

      kunynghame 3 years ago from San Antonio, TX

      I have never had an issue with bubbling before. Was the paint exposed to a lot of sun or heat before it dried?

      I think you should pop the bubble; the multiple coats of gloss will definitely be enough to protect it and keep it down. Adding glue in there might make a noticeable bump (unless done very meticulously). Might be more hassle than necessary.

    • profile image

      Chris 3 years ago

      I recently painted a set of cornhole boards for a friend. After the final coat had dried, I noticed a bubble (about the size of a quarter) has popped up. It feels like it is a bubble in the plywood veneer. I have looked elsewhere online and the suggestions that I have found seems to indicate that I need to slice the bubble with a razor and insert glue under the laminate layer. Do you know if this is a necessary step or if a few coats of high-gloss polycrylic will be sufficient to protect this place on the board?

    • kunynghame profile image
      Author

      kunynghame 3 years ago from San Antonio, TX

      Anne, I'm sorry to hear that. I've never had this issue (and I use my boards outside more often than I would like to admit). Two things I would investigate: First, was the product new? I know the quality of pain and primers, etc can be compromised if they are older or have been in extreme hot or cold. Second, is the minwax an all purpose, general product? Sometimes there are specialty ones that might not do well in the elements. I would simply ask someone at Home Depot or Lowe's (wherever you shop) for a type that will be fine if it gets wet, hot, cold, etc.

      Personally, I try not to leave my boards out in the rain and bad weather if possible. Let us know what you find out. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Anne 4 years ago

      I put on the first coat and the boards looked fine, it said two hours for drying, did second coat, I left them outdoors and this morning it's all alligatored and RUINED, sanding lightly doesn't help, makes it smooth but you can still see the horrible marks...I have two colors, put on vinyl decals, lots of time and work and now they look horrible and I have no idea how to fix it

    • kunynghame profile image
      Author

      kunynghame 4 years ago from San Antonio, TX

      Great question, Kelly. Thanks for stopping in. I personally would recommend the semi-gloss. It looks great, and is decently slick. The professional cornhole tournaments require gloss finish I believe. But I've found that the gloss finish is very difficult to keep the bags on the board because it is so slick. And since I play corn hole for fun rather than official competition. I like it to not be terribly difficult to land the bags on the board. So, in summary, either is fine. The higher the gloss, the slicker the board, which means the bean bags will slide off easier.

      If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.

    • profile image

      Kelly 4 years ago

      I went to get the Minwax and noticed that I could get gloss, semi-gloss, or satin finish. Which do you recommend?