DIY Light-Up Cornhole Boards

DIY Light-Up Cornhole Boards

Written by the Glow City Team

Cornhole is one of the most popular games for family gatherings and casual outdoor get-togethers. It's fun, it's easy to play, and it's also easy to build for yourself. However, when the sun goes down, you either need to play pretty close to the porch light or reel in the cornholing for the day. Unless, of course, you have a little LED magic to make the toss both beautiful and easy to see every time.

No one likes to put away the cornhole game when evening rolls around, and with modern LED technology - you don't have to! The right clever application of an LED strip can illuminate both the outside edge and the hole of your cornhole board so you can make a nighttime cornhole board to play with friends and family deep into the night.

Today, we're diving into the best way to DIY your own LED cornhole set using just one sheet of 3/4" plywood, a 2x3x8 board, and a GlowCity LED cornhole kit. And, of course, your DIY talents and tools.

This project will build two side-by-side cornhole boards that light up so you can play competitively with your family and friends throughout the night. Let's get started!

What You Need to Make a DIY Light Up Cornhole Game

Start by getting your supplies and tools together. If you're used to DIY carpentry projects, this should be no problem. Otherwise, you can probably find much of this in your garage or borrow the necessary tools from a friend. One trip to the hardware store will get you the single piece of plywood, board, glue, screws, bolts, and paint you'll need for supplies.

Tools you'll need:

  • Circular Saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Clamps
  • Sander
  • Compass
  • Drill
  • Paint Brushes or Rollers

The best wood for a DIY cornhole set is a single 3/4" piece of plywood which measures 4 feet by 8 feet standard size. The feet can be made from a single standard 2"x3"x8' board. You can cut these into the 4-foot by 2-foot cornhole board dimensions and the supporting frame. The glow comes from a GlowCity LED kit with every connector and fastener you need for an easy setup.

Supplies you'll need:

  • One GlowCity LED Cornhole Kit
  • One Standard 3/4" thick Plywood (4' x 8')
  • One 2"x3"x8' Board
  • Four 3/8"x4" Bolts
  • Four 3/8" Nuts
  • Eight 3/4" Washers
  • 62 Wood Screws
  • Wood Glue
  • Cans of Paint

Getting Started: Cut Your Wood Into Cornholing Pieces

Cut Your Piece of Plywood Into the Board and Frame

  • 2 Pieces of 48"x x24" Plywood (4-foot by 2-foot)
  • 4 Pieces of 46.5" x 3.5" Plywood
  • 6 Pieces of 21" x 3.5" Plywood

Get your saw ready to cut your plywood down into framing pieces.

Start by cutting the initial piece of plywood in half, from 4x8 to 4x4. Set one half aside, then cut one piece of 4x4 in half again. These two pieces of 4x2 are now your cornhole boards. The other piece will become your framing pieces.

Cut the frame by slicing your framing board into 4 pieces measured 46.5" x 3.5" and 6 pieces measured 21" x 3.5". Draw them out before you slice. These will become the four long framing sides (2 for each board) and the top, bottom, and middle cross pieces.

Cut the Board Into Sturdy Legs

  • 4 Pieces 15" Long (2"x3"x15")

Now for the legs. You can use plywood, but for sturdy legs, it's best to use a 2"x3" board instead.

Cut the 8-foot board into 4 pieces 15" long. Set them aside, we'll come back to the legs when the frames and boards are done.

Build Your Cornhole Board Frames

Now it's time to build the frames. Set out your long pieces vertically. Between two long pieces, secure three short pieces between the top edges, the bottom edges, and a support beam in the center. Remember to keep your long boards on the outside of the frame.

Drive your wood screws in through the sides of each long board and into the center of each short board edge. It may help to clamp the frame and use glue to make sure it's perfectly aligned when you drill.

Use two screws per connection, near the top and bottom of the joint. Then repeat to build the second frame exactly the same way.

Cut the Center Holes

Now it's time to cut the critical holes for your corn-filled beanbags to go through (yes, that's why it's called a cornhole).

Measure the Center

Take each board piece. Mark the center of the hole 9 inches from the top and 12 inches from both sides. This should be exactly centered horizontally and comfortably close to the top of the board.

Compass a 6" Circle

Take your carpentry compass. Place the point on the center point you just marked and set the pencil 6 inches from the center. Draw a perfect circle.

Cut Out the Circle

Use your jigsaw (or a 6" hole cutter) to cut out the cornhole center exactly as you marked it.

Attach the Board and Frame

Now use a clamp and a corner piece to perfectly center and align each frame onto each board. Drive your wood screws through the top of the board into the frame below, 5 along each long piece and 3 along each short supporting piece. This should have the frame securely attached to each of your two cornhole boards.

Angle-Cut the Folding Legs

The next step is the most finicky: getting the folding legs right. You can just attach a few short pieces of wood, but if you want a stable cornhole board that can be folded and stacked away after the event, follow the steps for fold-away legs using the right combination of angles and bolts.

30 Degree Sanded Arrow Points

Take your 4 15" pieces and cut one end of each into an arrow-point using a 30 degree angle. Then sand the whole thing so the point is smooth and somewhat rounded. This will be your fold-away end.

Centered Bolt-Hole

Measure 1 1/4 inches from the point of each board and mark the center, then pre-drill a 3/8" bolt hole in each of your leg boards. Drill matching bolt-holes 3" from the top edge of each of your long supporting frame pieces. This should fall above-center of your cornhole, near the top of the board.

Position and Level the Feet

Attach each foot using your 3/4" bolts with a washer on both sides so that they swing freely. Set the feet on the inside of the frame so they will fold up inside the frame when closed and are stopped by the top support board when opened.

Swing the feet all the way out so they are stopped by the top board. Then place something exactly 12" tall on your worktable and mark the angle that would make the feet stand flat on the ground. Then use your saw to cut the foot-angle of each support leg.

Sand and Paint

Now you're ready to finish both cornhole boards for presentation. Use sandpaper or your favorite sanding tool to smooth all the rough edges. It's important to make sure the plywood feels finished at every angle. Remember, kids and guests will likely handle the boards to fold and unfold them.

When everything is nice and smooth, apply your paint. Some people like one solid color, some paint a masterpiece on their DIY cornhole boards. The style is entirely up to you - but you'll want a good sturdy paint that can endure a significant amount of play.

Attach the LED Cornhole Kit

Two people playing cornhole deep into the night using led light up boards.

Now for the really fun part: Attaching the LEDs. This part is easy, all you need is a screwdriver and a GlowCity Cornhole LED Kit.

The Kit Comes With:

  • 2 color-changing LED light strings
  • 2 AA battery cases
  • 2 bags of cable clips
  • 1 bag of screws - all you'll need.

How it Works:

What you'll be doing is lining first the hole, then the outer border of each cornhole board with the LED light strings using the clips provided. This will create a beautiful effect of a light-up cornhole board with a glowing hole for aiming and a glowing outline to know whether a bag lands on or off the board - no matter how dark it gets outside.

Start At the Hole

Flip your board upside-down so you're working on the bottom.

To get your spacing right, the best place to start is at the hole.

Use the first clip to attach the far-end of the light string (opposite end from the battery case) on the left or right side of the hole, nearest the edge. Use 5-7 clips to create a perfect circle lining the inside of the cornhole. When you get all the way around, string the light a few inches to the outer edge of the board and use a clip to secure its first visible position on the outer edge. Because you are working on the backside, the small transition will be invisible.

Line the Outer Edge of Your Board

Now use the rest of your clips to line the outer edge of your board. Check your work to make sure you are satisfied with the position before you start driving screws. You may prefer to position the lights right along the edge or pull them back a little for a more ambient glow.

Go all the way around the edge of your board. When you reach the end, it's time to attach the battery pack.

Secure the Battery Pack to the Back of the Board

On the backside of the board, use the small length of un-lit cable to position the battery pack in a comfortable location. Peel the adhesive cover off and stick the battery back where you want it. Then use the final screws to drive it into place. From here, you can easily change out the AA batteries to keep your cornhole board glowing all night long.

It's Time to Enjoy Evening Cornhole Games

Once your LEDs are attached, you can flip your cornhole board upright, extend the legs, and enjoy hours of color-changing fun. When the sun goes down, your cornhole game doesn't have to stop. You can keep tossing corn (or bead) filled beanbags with near-perfect accuracy because both the boards and the target hole will be beautifully illuminated.

When you're done playing, you can even keep them glowing and set upright for a little extra event lighting. Get out there and have some fun!

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