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How To Make The Best Cornhole Bags

DIY Cornhole Bags—Easy Sewing Project

Making your own corn hole bags (bean bags) for the great game of cornhole is easy, fun and can save you a ton of cash replacing busted bags. Cornhole bags are not made to last forever, but we have a few trade secrets to share with you that will help you get the most life and perfect play out of your bags. We'll be using a weatherproof recycled plastic fill (synthetic 'corn') so your cornhole bags won't be ruined if they get wet.

Our cornhole bag design has been thoroughly tested against other designs and has been proven to resist breakage. It all has to do with physics. The stitching combination, the fabric and the amount of fill is crucial to making a quality, long-lasting bag. The finished bags in this tutorial will be ACA (American Cornhole Association) regulation:

  • Size: 6" x 6"
  • Final Weight: 1 lb.
  • Finish: Rounded Corners

What you'll need:

Materials and tools used to make our cornhole bag

  1. Sewing Machine: A sewing machine capable of both straight and zig-zag stitches will provide the best results.
  2. Needle Size: #16 machine needle is the suggested needle size for 10 oz canvas.
  3. Thread: Polyester Thread
  4. Duck Cloth: 10 oz. canvas duck cloth is the most commonly-used fabric in sewing cornhole bags because of its durability and great selection of colors. It also allows corn dust to come through the bag, and some people say this helps the bag slide to the hole. Sometimes you'll see specs calling for 12 oz. cotton duck fabric, however 10 oz. is preferred. Since our 10 oz. dyed duck cloth comes in a 60" width, one yard will make 16 complete bags in this tutorial. A set of bags for cornhole consists of 8 bags, 4 bags of the same color for each player. You can buy our Big Duck Canvas brand wholesale canvas fabric at up to 60% off retail prices here:

    10 oz Duck Cloth (Wholesale, By The Yard)
  5. Cornhole Bag Fill: Traditionally whole corn was used as the filler. However real corn is no longer the preferred filler material as it breaks down over time changing the weight of the bags requiring you to reopen the bags to refill them. Also, corn-filled bags can easily get moldy so cleaning dirty bags is difficult; rain or dew is obviously bad news. Plus critters like corn-filled bags! So we're making weather-resistant bags in this tutorial using "synthetic corn" or recycled plastic resin pellets. Bags made with resin pellets will last much, much longer. They resist moisture, mold and mildew, and help keep bugs and animals from destroying the integrity of the bags. We found that getting the right size and density of non-corn filler is difficult, but we searched high and low and found the perfect material! We offer it in 25 lb. and 50 lb. boxes:

    Cornhole Bag Fill/
    Recycled Resin Pellets (50 LBS)/
    Synthetic "Corn"

    Cornhole Bag Fill/
    Recycled Resin Pellets (25 LBS)/
    Synthetic "Corn"
  6. Piece of cardboard: You will be cutting out a usable tracing template from the printable (PDF) template.
  7. Printer
  8. how-to-make-cornhole-bag-diy-sewing-canvas-instrutions.jpgTemplate: Download our very own time-tested and proven cornhole bag template.
  9. Marker: Any fabric marker or permanent marker will do.
  10. Rotary Cutter: Great for straight cuts and multiple layers of fabric.
  11. Razor/Craft Knife: An X-ACTO type knife to cut through the cardboard.
  12. Self-Healing Cutting Mat
  13. Cutting Guide or Ruler
  14. Scissors
  15. Masking Tape
  16. Digital Scale: To accurately weigh your bean bag fill.
  17. Funnel: Makes it easy to load the bags with fill.

Got your materials? Let’s get started!

cuttingcanvas.jpg First, cut your fabric in 7.5" squares on your self-healing cutting mat using your rotary cutter and cutting guide. You can save time by cutting multiple layers if your cutter has a new/sharp blade.

cuttemp.jpg Next print and tape the cornhole bag template to a piece of corrugated cardboard using your masking tape. BE SURE to print at 'Actual Size' or 100%, not 'Fit' or 'Shrink'!

Now begin cutting out the bag template using your razor knife. You don't have to go all the way through the cardboard at this point. Once you have cut out the tracing template and scored the cardboard it will be much easier to cut all the way through while keeping the lines straight.

temptrace.jpg Once you have the template cut out, line up two of your 7.5" duck cloth squares together. Place the cardboard template in the center. You should have about 1/2" of fabric left each side of the template. This allows for ample fabric on the inside of your seams to help reduce breakage. Using your marker, trace where your opening will be. You will want to make it big enough to make turning the bags inside out easy as well as allowing for quick filling. For this tutorial we marked our opening at 1.75" from each side.


Sewing the cornhole bags...

stitch01.jpg We will be double stitching these with two different stitch settings for maximum strength. First, set your machine with a straight stitch at a medium length. Begin sewing on your template mark. Start at one end of the hole openings. Be sure to do a back-stitch at the beginning and end of your stitch.

zigzag.jpg Next we are going to use a Zig-Zag stitch on the outside of our straight stitch. Try to keep from overlapping the other stitch to maintain the proper shape of the bag. This stitch is what gives the bag its resilience to impact and reduces breakage because it actually flexes with the fabric. You may need to adjust your tension settings to get it just right.

forming.jpg Turn your bag inside out from the opening you left and use a wooden stick or similar tool to poke out the corners. trim.jpg Now trim your corners for easier turning and corner forming.

weigh-fill.jpg Now it's time to weigh your fill. We are using plastic resin fill for weatherproof bags. It's weight and density is very similar to corn. Whatever fill you choose, you will need 15.5 oz. for these bags, approximately two (2) cups. DO NOT overfill your bags! There is a higher likelihood of failure on impact when overfilled. The final bag weight should be right at 1 lb.

resin-filling-cornhole-bag.jpg Use a funnel to load your bags with fill.

cornhole-bag.jpgFinally close the opening using a zig-zag stitch. We back stitched over the entire length of the opening for added strength. You can stitch over the entire length if you wish or just overlap the initial inside seam. Either way, you now have a super tough cornhole bag that will outlast the others.

Enjoy!

Cornhole Bag Materials:

10 oz Duck Cloth
Cornhole Bag Filler (50 LBS)
Cornhole Bag Filler (25 LBS)
Sewing Machine Thread

About the Game of Cornhole

Some people call it baggo. Some call it bean bag toss. We've even heard it referred to as sack toss or just bags. Whatever you call it, we call it fun! We think cornhole is an awesome game. Here's why:

Low Entry Cost
Unlike many sports, you can get started in cornhole on the cheap. It's not all that difficult to make your own boards and bags (see above for DYI bean bags). Most people really enjoy the game, and of those who get into it seriously, some do progress into more professional gear. (Think branded and themed boards and bags.) But the game is so much fun and so affordable that there's really no reason not to dive right in!

Play Fee-Free
If you're playing for fun with family, friends, neighbors or co-workers, the cost to play is zip, zero, nada once you've got the gear. Contrast that with other sports like golf where a family outing for four can cost hundreds of dollars and it's easy to see the budget-friendly appeal of cornhole. Of course as with any sport, serious players sometimes play in tournaments where there is an entry fee and cash or other prizes.

Fun for All Ages
Keywords: Fun. All. Seriously, cornhole is a game that's enjoyed by everyone from the very young to the very not-so-young. It doesn't require great skill or strength, and the 'court' size can easily be adjusted to match the level of the players. You can be as serious or as laid back about the rules as you like.

Indoor/Outdoor
Following the official rules, you'll need about 40 feet of room to play. So anywhere you've got the space, you're good to go. This is perfect for locations where weather is a factor: too hot, too cold, too rainy, too many mosquitoes, too snowy, too whatever... And with a large enough space (like a gym) you can easily set up multiple courts for lots of players or multiple teams. And when the weather is nice, the world is your playground!

Individual or Team Play
What's your preference? Mano a mano—one on one? Team play? Both work equally well in cornhole. Grab a friend or grab a lot of friends and get to playing!

The History of Cornhole

It seems our favorite game of cornhole traces its roots back to the 1880s and a game called "Parlor Quoits." Some differences, a square hole for example, but lot's of similarities including a slanted board and bean bags. That game was sold to a Massachusetts toy maker that made some radical changes to it and called it "Faba Baga."

However, we can thank the September 1974 edition of the magazine Popular Mechanics for today's game of cornhole. An article published that month showed how to make the boards and, boom, popular was right. While its beginnings may have been rooted in the Midwest in the 70s and 80s, today cornhole is widely played across the U.S. From backyard family fun to ESPN-televised tournaments, cornhole is happening!

Your Turn

So, you're playing cornhole, right? If not, now's the time ... let's make your own cornhole bags!

Game Set Up

Already got everything and ready to set up your game? Here's the way we set up our 'court' using the dimensions and distances specified by the American Cornhole Organization (ACO): Cornhole Court Layout/Diagram

DIY Cornhole Bean Bag Supplies:

Bean Bag Duck Cloth 
Pellets for Cornhole Bags
Thread for Sewing

Samples of Fabric, Canvas, Vinyl, Linen, Cloth-Order Online

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