cornhole game usa

Cornhole

Step by Step Guide

Cornhole - which is sometimes referred to as 'beanbag toss' - is an American game that has gained a lot of popularity in bars, college campuses and homes. It's a great game to play over a few drinks, a BBQ or a gathering of friends and family.


Preparation

You Will Need:

  • 61 x 122cm sections of 1.3cm plywood (x2)
  • 5 x 10 x 122cm for the frame (x4)
  • 5 x 10 x 61cm for the frame (x4)
  • 5 x 10 x 29cm for the legs (x4)
  • Carriage Bolts (x4)
  • Washers (x4)
  • Wing nuts (x4)
  • Paint
  • High gloss varnish (spray & brush)

Machine Used:


Step by Step

Step 1: Laser Engraving & Cutting - Boards

The American Cornhole Association requires a 61 x 122cm rectangle, made from 1.5cm plywood. The front side of the platform must stand 6.5 - 10cm tall, and the back needs to sit 30cm off the ground. If you follow these guidelines exactly, you will have an approved, standard cornhole setup.

Using a large format laser cutter (we used the SP500), place one of the pieces of plywood inside the laser machine. We had to place ours in sideways because we wanted to cut and engrave the material in the same processing step. You can use a smaller laser if you need to, just ensure it has pass-through technology. You may also need to cut the plywood down to size with a saw. Most home improvement stores will do with for you when you purchase the material.

Laser Parameters - Engraving

Colour Process Power (%) Speed (%) ppi/Hz
Black Engrave CO2 70 100 500
Passes Air Assist Z-Offset Advanced
1 ON 0.5cm -

Laser Parameters - Cutting

Colour Process Power (%) Speed (%) ppi/Hz
Red Cut CO2 100 50 1000
Passes Air Assist Z-Offset Advanced
1 ON - -

Step 2: Building the Box

Now, it's time to build the box. Use the 5 x 10cm pieces of plywood to build two 61 x 122cm rectangles, with a couple of screws in each corner. Then, attach one piece of plywood to each 5 x 10cm frame using drywall screws. We used four at the top and four at the bottom, evenly spaced. Then, down each side, we attached a screw every 30cm or so. Tighten the screws so they are sturdy and secure, as this will prevent the bags from snagging and bursting.  


Step 3: Leg Assembly

Now, it's time to make the legs. Using the 5 x 10 x 29cm plywood, cut a 9cm radius into one end of each leg. To make the cut, measure 4.5cm down the length of the 5 x 10 plywood and draw a line across it. Place a spirit level on that line and draw the arc. Then, use a jigsaw to make the actual cut.

Once you've done that, turn the box upside down. Lay one of the legs down parallel to it, flush against the top corner, with the radius side in the corner. Make sure you clamp it tightly into place. From the inside of the box, make a mark in the centre of the 5 x 10 plywood within the radius. Then, drill a 1.3cm hole through the side of the box, following through to the leg. 

Finally, fasten the legs to the platform using a pair of carriage bolts, washers and wing nuts. as an added advantage, the legs should also rotate for neater storage. 


Step 4: Paint & Varnish

Now you'll want to paint the sides of the box as well as the top of the board. Firstly, fill in any holes or major cracks with a wood filler of your choice and allow it to dry. Mask off a 2.5cm area around the outside of the box and, using a glossy paint, get painting. Repeat this on the top of the box too, painting a neat strip around the box. You'll probably want to complete as least 2 coats. 

Once your paint is dry, coat the entire box with a high-gloss varnish to help protect the engraved area. This will also help the bean bags 'slide'. Since the dark laser engraving is prone to smearing, we decided to firstly coat it with a thick layer of spray-on polyacrylic prior to using the heavy, brush-on version. 5 - 10 coats in total should be enough. You'll want the grooves made by the engraving to feel smooth. This is so it doesn’t hinder the sliding of the bean bags while you play the game.


Step 5: Bags

Cornhole bags are simple, canvas bags that measure 15 x 15cm. They are filled with 1 pound of feed corn, but you can also fill them with something like plastic pellets to make them weatherproof. But having them filled with feed corn creates a puff of dust when they hit the board, helping you achieve the perfect slide. We bought our bags externally, but you can make them if you'd like. We then personalised the bags using the Speedy 300 laser machine. The secret to a perfect result is to only hit the cloth with a very light and low power from the laser - you want to bleach the fabric without compromising the integrity of it.

Laser Parameters - Engraving

Colour Process Power (%) Speed (%) ppi/Hz
Black Engrave CO2 30 100 500

Step 6: Game On!

Now that you have all the parts ready to go, it's finally time to set up and start playing a game of cornhole! Get your friends and family together and have a great time. You can find all the official rules on the American Cornhole Association's official website. Happy gaming!

American Cornhole Association