Painting Cornhole Boards | stained stripes

Painting Cornhole Boards | stained stripes

This post brought to you by FrogTape brand painter’s tape. All opinions are 100% mine.

Painting Cornhole Boards | We refer to my brother as the cornhole king. He introduced us to cornhole long before it was the popular backyard game that it is today. I admit, it took us a while to follow suit, however considering there are so many little ones running around in our family – it a much safer alternative to throwing horseshoes – that the whole family can enjoy.

Stained Cornhole Boards

He started making his own boards a couple of years ago and after one game we immediately put a request in for a set of our own. We are not cornhole connoisseurs, by any means, however after playing on one of his boards made with quality materials, like birch plywood – you really can tell the difference.

Our boards have set unfinished for a few years as we have tossed around a couple of ideas to personalize them. With a party planned next month, and a cornhole tournament in the works – it was time to get to work.

If you play cornhole you know having a smooth, blemish-free deck is an essential part of the game. Wether your boards are painted or stained achieving this finish is possible with the right tools and a little bit of patience.

Before customizing your boards be sure to start with a well sanded, smooth surface. Keep in mind using good quality materials is key. Once complete, throughly wipe down each of the boards with a tack cloth to remove all of the dust and sanding residue.

Frog Tape

While stripes can be intimidating to paint, we came up with a simple design method using FrogTape painter’s tape. We gave it a test run on some scrap wood ahead of time and were highly impressed with the results. There were surprisingly no signs of paint bleed – a common worry when trying to precisely paint straight lines.

We used 1.41 inch FrogTape® multi-surface which is designed to be used on a variety of surfaces, including bare wood. It’s the only tape with PaintBlock® Technology which actually reacts with the water in paint to create a gel barrier to seal the edges.

Corn Hole Board Stripes

For this easy striped design we simply applied four strips of FrogTape® to our standard regulation cornhole boards.

From the side edge of the board, mark two guidelines – one measuring 4 1/2 inches from the edge and the other measuring 7 1/2 inches from the edge. The edge of painter’s tape should be lined up with these measurements as shown above.

Repeat the same measurements from the other side of the board and place the additional two pieces of tape.

Keep in mind if you would like the stripes to continue onto the frame – that the tape extends around the top and bottom of the deck board, onto the frame, as well.

Zar Deck Stain

While paint can be used for this design, we decided to use semi-transparent deck stain to keep the character of the wood grain.

We used ZAR brand which is an exterior waterborne oil-base stain. We had the Manor Brown color left over from  Staining our Adirondack Chairs  and picked up another quart tinted to Westwood.

If using any other brand of stain be sure to test the compatibility with the painter’s tape prior to using it on your finished product.

Painting Cornhole Board Stripes

For this basic stripe design: the first color creates the outside stripes the second color creates three interior stripes and the painter’s tape itself creates an additional four natural stripes.

Staining Cornhole Boards

Begin by painting the outside stripes first. Once coated, remove the painter’s tape and let dry completely.

If using stain, make sure it is brushed on following the direction of the wood grain with a synthetic polyester brush. We highly recommend Wooster Brushes.

Re-apply the painter’s tape, as shown above,  using the painted edges as a guideline. Then paint the remaining three stripes.

Best Painters Tape

I can not say enough about the quality of this tape and how impressed we were with the sharp, clean edges. The photo above speaks for itself. There was no bleeding what-so-ever.

Using Stain and Painters Tape

The painter’s tape was promptly removed after the stripes were painted – we did not let it sit or wait for the stain to to dry.

DIY Cornhole Boards

Finishing Cornhole Boards

After the boards have cured , typically 24 hours, it’s time to apply a protective finishing coat – which helps give the boards some necessary slickness.

We prefer Minwax Polycrylic in the clear semi-gloss finish. We like the polycrylic for two main reason – (1) it is water-based and easily cleans up with soap and water  and (2)  it dries quicker than an oil- based poly. Both of these are something to keep in mind when you have seven to eight separate coats to apply.

Prior to using, gently stir the can of Polycrylic. Do not shake the can as it will create air bubbles in your finished product.

The polycrylic should also be applied with a high-quality synthetic brush – never use a roller, as this will create air bubbles as well. We like to use a Purdy XL Nylon Polyester 3 inch Brush for this step.

Stained Cornhole Boards

Apply 7-8 coats of the polycrylic – letting each coat dry in-between for at least two hours.

Finished Cornhole Boards

Before applying each coat we also gently sanded with 220 grade, very fine grit (general purpose) sand paper and wiped down with a tack cloth. This step is quick and removes any dust, debris, or raised wood splinters that may occur on the surface and ensures a very smooth, blemish-free finished board.

Wood Cornhole Boards

Once all of the polycrylic coats have been applied let the boards sit for 24 hours before using.

Striped Cornhole Boards

How to Make Cornhole Boards

I think my brother needs to watch out – we have a future gusher in the making.

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Comments

  1. After moving down South Carolina over two years ago, I got introduced to Cornhole. They are in many restaurants and there are even tournaments that are held at several restaurants. I bought some that were decoupaged by an artist. One board I had customized with all SC related things and the second board was all related to my German Shepherd, Lola. I like how yours turned out with the painted stripes.

  2. So fun! We love that game. We call it beanbag toss and we got a homemade one for our wedding 8 years ago. I should make it pretty like yours (and fix the broken legs on it too!)

  3. Love those fun colorful boards, they are so fun to play and look like they are fun to paint, what a great job of showing how you did this…I bet you had a blast…Love the colors you chose…Phyllis

  4. JUST TO CLARIFY: This may be a stupid question but did you say you sand in between each coat of Poly?

    • Hi Katie, Yes – after the coat of poly has completely dried – sand very lightly – then wipe with a soft cloth (or tack cloth) to remove any dust and apply the next coat.

  5. Thanks for this great how to article, my boards came out very nice. One of the reasons I chose your design is because the striping reminds me of old surfing longboards.

  6. Hi! any idea how much polycrylic you used for one set?

  7. Matthew Sawicki :

    Excellent work, your boards came out great! I have been reading a lot of different posts on websites regarding issues people have with bleed through while trying to stain straight lines. I’m working on a similar project and hoping to tape off a design on a table and stain around it, but most posts I see claim that taping will not work with stain (especially not oil based). What did you do that you think made the difference?

    • Hi Matthew. I have tested several different brands of tape and this particular one, by far, is my personal favorite. I have never had any problems – especially with the stain. Prior to applying the tape, make sure the surface is completely clean and free of any debris and sawdust. Also try not to touch the tape’s sticky surface as it is being applied, as the oils from your fingertips can deter the chemicals in the bonding agents. Cut pieces that are a tad bit longer than the desired design and handle the ends only.

  8. Hi Stephanie,

    The boards are beautiful and I love the design! I have a question about the finish… I love the clean up and that it doesn’t yellow, but my experience with Polycrylic is that is gets cloudy when exposed to water. I’m concerned that dewy or damp grasss will soften the finish, so we were considering using polyurethane. How has the polycrylic finish held up to the moisture over time?

    • Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for your comment – it’s greatly appreciated. The boards still look like they did the day we finished them. This particular brand of poly has not cracked, yellowed, dulled, or become cloudy – especially over the long period of time we have had the boards. We do keep the boards in an outdoor shed when not in use.

  9. Hi Stephanie! Great tips! My husband and I had cornhole boards made for our wedding and had our guests sign them in sharpie. I need to apply a finishing coat before we use them. Do you think the polycrylic will cause the sharpie signatures to run? Thanks!

    • Hi Ashley, The polycrylic over the marker should be fine, as long as the marker is permanent and dry. Because it is a sentimental piece I would personally take a scrap piece of wood, write on it with the same marker and test to make sure. Congratulations!

  10. Nice looking boards and good explanation of your process!

        

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