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I absolutely love outdoor summer games, but since its winter in Seattle, I wanted to bring one of my favorite games indoors and make it a more apartment-friendly size. I also really like games with high replay value and ones you can play with your friends.

I don't have access to wood cutting tools, so I needed a material for the playing board that I could cut with an X-Acto knife. I settled on Foamboard for the board instead of wood because it is really easy to cut, inexpensive, and is way more than strong enough for the bean bag board. 

This project is simple to do and took approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.

Step 1:

There are a few ways that you can customize this so some of the materials are marked as optional.

I used hot glue to make the bean bags because it is very quick and easy if you use felt. If you don't use felt you may want to use a needle and thread to make the edges look finished.

Bean Bags:
  • 2 pieces of felt, one of each color. You will only need 1/2 of a sheet of 8.5" x 11" felt for four 2" by 2" bean bags.
  • Hot Glue Gun with about 3 sticks of hot glue
  • 1/4 cup of rice
  • Teaspoon measure
  • Ruler
  • Permanent Marker
  • Scissors
  • Thread, Pins, and Needle if you are sewing the bean bags

Playing Board:
  • 1 Foam Board- 16" x 20" x 3/16"
  • X-Acto knife (and you may need an extra blade on hand)
  • X-Acto cutting mat (optional)
  • Rulers (You may want a metal-edged ruler as well to use with the X-Acto knife because X-Acto knives sometimes cut into plastic rulers.)
  • A Yard Stick
  • Hot Glue with about 10 glue sticks
  • Glue stick or crafters glue
  • Masking Tape
  • Scotch tape (optional)
  • Permanent marker (a thin marker for marking lines and a thick marker for design if you want them)
  • 6-8 large flat back glass marbles 

Step 2: Cutting Out the Top Piece

The first step is cutting out the Top piece for the board. I settled on a 10" by 5" board because it seemed like a good sized target to aim for at the end of a table. 

Use a corner of the board to make your measuring easier for the first piece. 

Then use your X-Acto knife and a metal edged ruler (if you have one) on top of a cutting mat to cut straight lines down the marked lines on the Foamboard. 

Step 3: Cutting Out the Back Piece

The next step is cutting out the Back of the board. 4" tall seemed to produce a good slope. Since the width of the Top is 5", the piece you cut out should be 4"by 5". You can cut this right next to the cut for the top piece. 

Step 4: Placing and Cutting the Hole in the Top Piece

I used a cup that had a decent sized circle (2.75" diameter) to trace onto the Top piece of the foamboard. I centered it width wise and placed it in the upper area of the Top piece. 

Then you need to cut the circle out of the foamboard. One trick to cut foam board circles is to score the inside of the circle and remove pieces as you go around the circle. This helps you keep the lines crisp around the circle because you have closer beginning and end points to follow.

Also, if you are having trouble removing the pieces, flip the Foamboard over and use your X-Acto knife to follow the lines on the paper backing that you can see to release the pie shaped pieces. 

After you have completely cut out all of the pieces of the circle and made sure the edges are crisp and clean, you can move on to the next step. 

Step 5: Warm Up Hot Glue Gun and Cut Out Triangular Side Pieces

At this point you will want to plug in your hot glue gun and let it warm up to use in the next step. 

For this step, you will need two right-angle triangular Side pieces. I wanted the triangular Side pieces glued on the outside of the Back piece (essentially making the board 3/16" x 2 wider) so that the seams from the Side pieces and Top piece are visible on the top. This is because I am going to keep the side pieces bare (except for a masking tape trim) and the Top piece is going to be covered with decorative paper anyways. You can see in the first picture that the triangles needs to be 4 and 3/16 of an inch tall to accomodate the width of the Top piece once it is positioned in. 

The approximate measurements for the triangles are 4 3/16" H x 9.08" W with a 10"diagonal. It is okay to be slightly off because you can trim any excess with an X-Acto knife.

If you have changed the length of the top piece to your choosing, another way to determine your length for the Side pieces is by using the formula a2+b2=c2. For a right triangle with a height of 4.1875" and a diagonal of 10 the math would look like this: 

a2+b2=c2
4.1875+b2 =102
17.535+ b2= 100
b2= 100-17.535
b2=82.465
b=9.08

And now after you cut out the two triangular Side pieces, you will have all of your pieces ready to assemble.Your hot glue gun should be ready to use now, so on to the next step :)

 

Step 6: Attaching the Side Pieces to the Back Piece.

The first pieces to be glued together will be the Back piece and each of the two Side pieces.Make sure you have the 5" width of the Back piece oriented correctly.

Place a thin line of hot glue on the edge of the Back piece, then attach it perpendicularly to the Side piece, keeping edge of the Side piece flush with the rear face of the Back piece (see pictures.) Try to keep the angle between the two pieces as close to 90° as possible. Also, make sure you hold the pieces still for a few seconds until the glue has cooled. Repeat this step for the other Side piece, at the opposite edge of the Back piece; the result should look like the second picture.

Step 7: Placing the Top Piece

This is the hardest part of the board assembly (and the whole project.) You will need to place hot glue on the edges of the Top piece and tension-fit it between the Side pieces as shown in the first picture. You should also place a line of glue on the upward-facing edge of the Back piece.

If you want to do one edge at a time, make sure the glue on the first edge is dry before doing the opposite edge. You will need to flip the board over and push the Top piece out slightly, so that you can work on the unglued edge.

Your board will have some points at the edges, but they will be trimmed down in the next step. Just try to get the edges attached to each other as flush as possible. 

Step 8: Trimming Excess Corners/ Edges

It is pretty hard to align the edges perfectly, so if you find that they are slightly uneven in some spots (like the way the Side pieces protrude above the Top of mine) you can take an X-Acto knife flush the the edge and carefully push the knife down the edge, with the blade of the knife staying flat against the Top piece. Make sure you don't pull the knife towards yourself, but instead push it away from you to avoid accidentally cutting yourself.

There may also be extra points at the top and bottom of the Top piece that you can do the same X-Acto knife treatment to if you want your edges rounded like I did (see second and third pictures.)

Step 9: Taking a Quick Detour to the Bean Bags

I needed a bit of a break from foam building, and since my Hot Glue Gun was already warmed up, I decided to move on to the bean bags before finishing up the playing board.

I figured that 2" x 2" squares were a good size for the 2.75" diameter hole. So take your two pieces of felt and make a couple 2 inch wide strips with both colors. 

Then mark every 2 inches on each side of the strips and connect them until you have 8 squares of each color (16 squares in total.) Connects

Cut these squares out and place them in a pile for each color. Try to note which side of each square has the markings on it, so that you can keep those sides on the inside of the assembled bean bag.


Step 10: Assembling the Bean Bags

Take one square of felt and place thin lines of hot glue around 3 of the 4 sides. Again, try to keep the side with markings (if there are any visible) on the inside. Then take another square of the same color and lightly place it on top and start pressing around the edges like you are making a ravioli. You will end up with a pocket like in picture 2.

Then take your pocket in one of your hands and pinch it slightly to open up the unglued side. Take your rice and teaspoon measure and place 1.5 teaspoons of rice into the pocket. Then take your hot glue gun and carefully put a thin line of glue on the upper inside and press the final edge closed. If it seems like the rice isn't fitting in some, push the rice down slightly and it should all fit. You want to make the bean bags as close to the same weight as you can to make the game fair.  

To make sure all the edge are sealed, look around them carefully and poke at them to make sure rice doesn't come out. If there is a hole, take the hot glue gun and put a tiny amount of glue on the inside of the hole and press it closed.

After you have glued all of the bean bags and they have cooled, inspect the edges for hot glue overflow and trim them as necessary. 

Now your bean bags are done!

Step 11: Manilla Folder Layer

I wanted to put a manilla folder layer on the top and back to make sure I had the smoothest work surface to deal with. Simply cut out two pieces of manilla folder in the size of the top and back and glue it to its respective spot. Manilla folders are thick so any type of glue will work here. I like using Loctite Indoor safe crafters glue for a quick-dry, low-moisture tacky glue. If your piece is really smooth you can skip this step.

After you glue the top piece on you can flip the board over and cut the hole out. If you want to measure out where the hole is first you can do that. To do that, place the piece onto the manilla folder and trace the circle positioning onto the folder. 

Step 12: Gluing Flat Back Marbles on the Underside

Because the board will need to stay in one place even with bean bags being thrown at it, you will need to add some heft that wood has but foamboard lacks. The easiest way to do this is to glue at least 6 marbles or other small weights to the underside of the foamboard. ( I had 8 marbles laying around so I added an extra 2 for some more security.) Hot glue is the best glue to use for this part because it "dries" very quickly. 

I tried putting two on the inside of the back, but they were visible to players, so I removed those and placed them elsewhere. 

People won't really see the bottom part; even if you do need to pick the board up to retrieve bean bags that score, the weights should be pretty well-hidden. 

Step 13: Finishing the Edges

Now it is time to begin decorating and finishing the edges of the playing board. I love the look of masking tape ( I might be weird), so I wanted to seal the edges of the foamboard with it, and leave some of the masking tape still visible on the side as a decoration.

To make the masking tape look good you will want sharp scissors to cut the edge of it instead of just ripping it with your hands. To do this, rip a piece that is slightly too big and start placing it on one edge. Then snip the tape where it meets the other end of the edge, and smooth the tape down. Also, make sure to center the masking tape around the edge well to make it even on both sides.

I went around every edge of the board with masking tape to make sure all of the edges were sealed and sturdy. If you don't like masking tape or your edges are perfectly smooth, you can skip this step. 

Step 14: Decorating Time.

Now you are ready to cut and place the top decorative piece of paper. You can choose any design you want for this part. I didn't want anything too busy or with too many lines, at the risk of being distracting. I went with a simple circular pale-blue and yellow pattern. 

Since the paper is more fragile than the manilla folder, you will definitely want to position and cut the circle out before gluing it to the front. Use the same method as before. Place the board upside down and trace the circle in its correct position. 

After you cut out the pattern, use a glue stick to glue the paper to the manilla folder. Any other type of glue will cause the paper to warp because of moisture. If you don't have glue stick, double-sided tape may also work. 


Step 15: Customizing

At this point you can add whatever decorations you would like to customize your playing board.

I wanted to outline the inside of the center hole in black to make it more visible, but if you choose a black top, you would obviously not need this step. I also outlined the outside of the circle in black to match the inside.

I also did outlining stripes with a Sharpie permanent marker on the top and sides to make it easier to focus on the target at far distances. 

When you are done decorating and customizing you are ready to play! 
<p>I made a larger version, added a couple of more holes for the heck of it, and covered it in wood grain shelf paper. Turned out pretty nicely, if I say so myself! Great instructable, and a fun build! </p>

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