Introduction: Mario and Luigi Corn Hole Bags
Finalist in the
Maker Moms Contest
A quick search of the internet will find you hundreds of websites describing how to make a bean bag for Corn Hole or Bag toss or whatever it is you call it. Most of the instructions are basically the same. They use the same material, the same weight, the same filler, etc. The difference is the outside of the bags and what they look like.
If you have a set of corn hole boards that are Ohio State colors or graphics, you will probably want Scarlet and Gray for the bags, as Yellow and Blue would be a horrible clash of colors. Likewise, the corn hole boards I built and painted are of a scene from the Original NES Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt. I wanted to keep with the same theme when it came to the bags, so I designed them accordingly.
They look much better than the Red and Black bags I previously purchased, and although a challenge, were fun to create.
I have to give a shout out to my Mom here as she did the sewing. She could pretty much make anything I think, if I could put the idea on paper well enough. I built and painted the boards(my medium to work in) and designed the bags, but she made it happen, so Thanks Mom. :) Well worth the 2 hour drive to go pick them up, and the days of emails/texts to get them sorted out.
Step 1: The Boards the Bags Were Modeled For
If you don't have a pro membership, the first step always ends up on the starting page and that makes it a long intro page. So I keep them short and sweet.
Here is a picture of the Boards that the bags were designed for. I will probably do an instructable on those later as they are not your typical boards. At the time of taking the picture, the tops have not been clear coated yet, and the legs are waiting to be attached. So the boards are slightly shinier now.
Step 2: Supplies
To create a corn hole bag set, you need 4 bags of each color scheme, or 8 in total. The supplies listed below are going to be for 10, as I like to have an extra bag of each color in case one breaks, which at some point, one will. That way my set still looks complete and I can still play if I get a broken bag.
So...... for 10 corn hole bags:
***1/2 yard Green Duck Cloth (60 inch length)
***1/2 yard Brown Duck Cloth (60 inch length)
***1/2 yard Red Duck Cloth (60 inch length)
***1/2 yard White Duck Cloth (60 inch length)
*** Very small amount of Yellow material. (we used a scrap piece that wasn't even duck cloth as it would sew better being that small)
*** Black thread (for back pockets and the Nintendo logo if your machine can do letters)
***Corn ( 2 cups per bag so 10 bags means 20 cups of corn)
*** Tear away fabric for Applique' and stabilizing
*** Heat and Bond fabric for some applique'
Tools needed to complete:
*** A knitting needle to help turn the bags right side out and push the corners out where they need to be
*** A good pair of Scissors
*** A sewing machine
*** A measuring tape
*** Fabric pen
*** An Iron ( for the heat and bond material)
*** Fabric Glue, clear drying, to keep seams around the letter M from fraying
*** Good lighting and patience
Step 3: Designing and Pre Planning
A corn hole bag is pretty simple. The bag starts out as 7 inches square and half inch seams are sewing in resulting in a 6 inch square bag. The bottom is usually left open somewhat and you fill it with corn.
For a regulation Corn hole bag, it is supposed to weigh in between 14.5 and 16 ounces. Since most people do not own a scale that is that accurate at home, the 2 cup rule applies. This means that 2 cups of corn plus the weight of the bag itself will get you right around that ideal weight. The corn you use may also vary in weight though. I used corn like you would see to feed squirrels with as I know a few farmers who have it. You can also use popcorn which may weigh in differently. Generally though, 2 cups works just fine.
You then stitch up the seam, and you have a corn hole bag. If you are making a set of solid color bags, then stop reading as you are done :) But if you are making the bags shown in this instructable, the process has just begun.
I came up with a design in my head that I thought would be cool. Lets make it look like you are playing with little Marios and Luigis. So I set out on Paint and made a quick mock up, along with some other potential options. In the picture you can see a few of the designs and even two different colors for Luigi. What you have to understand is that these Mario and Luigi bags are as close the the NES Super Mario Brothers as I could get them. The original colors for Mario were brown and red, not the blue and red most are used to. Luigi as well was not blue and green, but rather white and green. What I did use from the updated Mario and Luigi was the letters on their outfits, although in the games now, the letters are merely on their hats. Still I wanted to specify who they were so the letters went on.
After the paint design, a rough sketch with dimensions needed to be added. This would be the base of the entire project and needed to add up to 7 inches, cordinate with the backs, etc. A 7x7 square was drawn out and then a 6x6 square was made in the center by coming in 1/2 inch all around. This gave the base for the material as well as would show what would be visible when completed. A little trial and error was used here to figure out what would work, but the sketches were completed and the mock up bag was ready to begin.
Step 4: Lets Add Some Dimensions (Front)
Top color, (either Green or Brown) 3.5 inches x 7.5 inches
Bottom Color (either White or Red) 5.5 inches x 7.5 inches
Straps ( Either White or Red) 3/4 inches x 3.5 inches.... You will need 2 per bag
Yellow Squares for buckles 3/4 inches x 3/4 inches.... You will need 2 of these per bag as well
Circle for the Letter 2.25 inch diameter. (Only Mario actually has a material circle. Luigi was just sewn green around the traced circle)
Mario and Luigi are made basically the same with the only difference being the letter on the front. Mario needed a white background and thus would use a piece of white material cut into a 2.25 inch diameter circle. Luigi's letter was going on a white background already, so the green outline is all that was needed. But in order to make the sewing machine work properly, the tear away fabric was sewn through on the back, and then torn away. But we will get to that.
Now I know what you are thinking. 5.5 inches and 3. 5 inches does not equal 7 inches..... and the other dimension was 7.5 inches too. What gives? Well, a little further on I will explain better, but basically when you sew the seams, it pulls the material together a bit so you need more than just 1/2 inch seams on the inside to get it right. Then you trim off the extra. But we will get to that.
*************Looking at the second picture you can see the top and bottom sections are not the same size as the front. Don't get ahead of yourself here and cut too early. Wait for that step for the dimensions. ***************
Step 5: Lets Add Some Dimensions (Back)
Top Color 4.5 inches x 7.5 inches (Green or Brown)
Bottom Color 4.5 inches x 7.5 inches ( White or Red)
Back Straps (V shaped thingy) 3.5 inches x 4 inches tall ( Red or White)
To get the V Shape, Fold in half so it is 1.75 inches x 4 inches and mark on the fold 1 inch from the bottom.
Unfold and mark on the top edge 1/2 inch from the outside edge. Then connect the dots.
Pockets ( outlines only in black) 1 3/4 inch x 2 inch pattern.
Use a piece of cardboard from a cereal box or something thin so once cut out you can trace around it to sew on the lines.
Step 6: Now for a Little Assembly (Front)
The first thing to sew is the straps on the top of the bag. Measure in 2 inches from the outside and position the straps accordingly. Apply heat and bond to the backs of the straps and press in place with an Iron to hold them for stiching. You can also just pin them in place if you like. This is what we did after the first one. Surprisingly, they didn't move much which was the original concern and the reason for the heat and bond. The stitch used on the straps was called a Satin stitch for those sewing inclined and it covers the edge completely to make the end look clean and crisp.
Next, Place the green face down on the white and stitch the seam 1/2 inch from the edge all the way across. Our machine has a triple stitch option. If you don't have that on your machine, sew the seam twice. For extra support and durability, a serger sewing machine was used to finish the edge. If you don't have one, don't worry, it is just an extra layer of durability but not needed.
The front is now complete minus the yellow button squares and the letter to be sewn in. Time to trim it up and get it back to 7x7. Cut evenly so the straps end up still being centered and the ends are squared. You want the bottom white or Red portion to be 4.5 inches and the top to be 2.5 inches (Green or Brown). See picture
Step 7: Assembly of the Back
Stitch the V shape onto the top section first. Use the Satin Stitch here again if available on your machine. This needs to be centered from the sides and also the top and bottom. 1/2 inch will be hidden at a minimum on the top and 1/2 inch on the bottom will be seamed together as well. The extra material taken off the top, along with the half inch seams pretty much evens up the top of the V strap width with the front straps at 3/4 of an inch.
Next sew the top and bottom pieces together (face down on the top piece) just like you did the front. Serger the seam if you can. Now trim them back to 7x7 just like the front, even and centered. The dimensions here become 3 3/4 inches on top (Brown or Green) and 4 1/4 inches on bottom (White or Red).
Refer to pictures to help.
Step 8: Button Applique, Letters, and Pockets
The buttons are really 3/4 x 3/4 inch squares of yellow cotton material. This material is held in place with Heat and Bond and stitched around with a satin stitch as well. You want to center these below the straps on the front and 1/2 inch down from the finished seam.
Next is the letter. There are two processes here so I will deal with each differently. First is the stitch directly on the duck cloth.
The Luigi bags only needed to be stitched with the circle outline as the back would remain white behind the L. Sewing machines do not like to try and join only one piece of material. For whatever reason they get angry so we have to appease them. They make a material that is a tear away stabilizer. it allows you to sew through a second layer for the machine to operate well, but then is just torn away kind of like paper when you are done. This leaves the stitched circle or Letter, but not the bulk of extra material.
A 2.25 inch diameter circle was used to create the right logo size for the L and M. A cardboard pattern was cut out to trace onto the fabric. The Satin stitch was used again to make the outline of the circle. The L was merely a wider satin stitch.
Mario M and Circle:
The Mario M was to be sewn onto a white background to help it show up better. This meant first cutting out a white 2.25 inch diameter circle from the white duck cloth, sewing around the outside of it with the satin stitch, then sewing through both layers with the wider satin stitch for the M. You will need heat and bond here as the circle wants to unravel as it is sewn.
Nintendo stitch: If your machine has it, use it. Some machines have the availability to stitch letters. Since ours did, we used it and stitched in Nintendo to the front of each. Practice on something else first, preferably a scrap piece of duck cloth as it is heavier grade than just cotton and your machine may act differently with it. If you don't have that feature, i would not suggest trying to do it by hand.
The back pockets are just a black satin stitch sewn around the outline of two squares on the back. The pockets are 1 3/4 x 2 inches and used the tear away paper as well on them. They were placed 1 inch from the bottom and 1 inch from the sides. Don't forget to remove the tear away fabric.
See pictures attached
Step 9: Sewing the Two Sides Together
This seems like it would be as easy as that, just sew and be done, but you have to still fill them right?
So start off by placing the pieces inside out or good sides touching each other. make sure they are in the proper orientation and not one upside down.
Start at the bottom of the bag maybe 3/4 inch in since there isn't extra stitching here and sew to the side, up the side, across the top, down the other side and back toward that first corner stopping 2.5 inches from the start of your stitch. This lets you fill the bag with corn. Use a triple stitch here again if you have it or sew the whole thing twice.
Now Serger around the edges on the sides and top if you can.
Now turn the bag inside out or right side out as it would be. Use a knitting needle to help push out the corners of the bag. You can also you a pen with the cap on if you don't have a knitting needle, just don't poke through the material.
Press the open edges at the bottom in to match the seam.
Step 10: Fill the Bag With Corn and Final Stitch
At this point you need to put in about 2 cups of corn. Your bag should weigh in at 14.5 to 16 oz to be correct.
Use a funnel if needed for the corn. Be careful, they'll go everwhere. (A Christmas Story quote?)
Next stand the bag upside down, as if it wasn't already and pin the bag in the center above the corn to hold the corn back for the final stitch. See picture.
Now make sure the material is still folded in like the matching seam, and stitch it closed at least twice.
Remove the pins and that is it. You have created a Mario or Luigi bean bag. Ok, at least 7 but likely 9 more to go. :)
I hope you got something useful out of this instructable. The point of it was to show you, you don't have to stick with one color bags, or opposite color sides of a bag. You can applique whatever you want on them and make them your own.
As this is now out there on the internets, feel free to use the idea and make a set of your own. Post a photo on the comments section here if you do. I, and my mother would love to see how they come out.
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