Photo by Steve Smith, VisionFire Studios

Cornhole

The perfect addition to your backyard summer games collection

There’s nothing better in summer on the Strait than to have a cold drink in your hand, bare feet in the grass, and a chance to play backyard games. While washer toss is a local favourite, Cornhole is another way to bring some fun to your backyard.
For Cornhole, there are two opposing ramps with slight inclines, and one to three openings where you throw bean bags to try and land them into the holes. The best part is you don’t need any experience and it’s great for all ages. Last year our whole family enjoyed a backyard game — even my 84-year-old grandfather who said he never played before, but the score told another story.
Feeling ambitious? You can look up plans to make your own regulation set, or get creative with your designs and customize a pre-made set. I had this set made locally and for my design I paid homage to my family in the southern U.S., where Cornhole is popular, with some citrus decals. Cornhole is often a staple at tailgate parties and backyard BBQs, and I’m slowly seeing it make its way up the East Coast.
This summer, we’re still seeing lots of postponed weddings, and these, or a washer toss set, would make a wonderful custom gift. You can add the couple’s name, monogram, the special date, or even the location of their nuptials. GPS coordinates are another neat touch to note a meaningful location like a family cottage or your favourite beach. (Trend alert: Roman numerals for dates is a big trend in weddings and home design: 2022 is MMXXII, giving a fresh and modern twist on writing out a year.)
If making your own bean bags, I’d recommend finding a waterproof fabric, or make sure you’re storing them inside. The bean bags can be filled with dried corn, sand or plastic pellets, or can be found online.
Whether you’re building your own or customizing, you can also add some elements to make the sets easy to take on your next camping trip or add some functionality such as rope handles, drink holders, or even a score tracker.
So, grab a cold drink, kick off your sandals and enjoy this addition to your backyard.

Cornhole how-to

There are a variety of how-tos on the internet (which include photos for the visual builder), but here is a basic supply list and instructions to give you an idea on how to make your own.
First, please be safe. Though considered a beginner project, make sure to wear eye protection and have someone who knows how to operate saws and tools.
You will need two pieces of ½-inch plywood, measuring 2 feet x 4 feet each. You can buy a half sheet of plywood at most building supply stores, which is enough to make the two playing surfaces. I’d recommend finding plywood that has a smooth surface on at least one side (also called “good one side” at the building supply store).
Next, you’ll cut a six-inch hole in the plywood, measuring the centre of the hole nine inches from the top of the playing surface and centred between the long sides on the plywood. You can use a six-inch diameter hole saw in a drill or draw a six-inch circle and cut it out with a jig saw.
The top will rest on a square frame, and you will need two 2x4s cut to 21-inches for the top and bottom, and two cut to 48-inches for your sides. You’ll then attach the top to this frame using 1-1/2-inch wood screws.
Next up, you’ll make the legs using 2x4s — cutting each of the four legs at a 25-degree angle. Then, measure 12 and 1/4 inches from the long side and mark and cut a straight line, which will give you an angled leg. The legs are then attached underneath in the top four corners (none along bottom), giving the angled structure needed for play.

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Nicole Leblanc is a communications professional, a passionate community volunteer, and current town councillor who loves DIY. She lives in Trenton with her husband and beloved dog—and when she’s not getting crafty, she can be found exploring Nova Scotia, meeting new people, and being involved in projects that make our communities better.