Introduction: DIY Outdoor Games - Cornhole and the Golf Ball Ladder Game
DIY Outdoor Games - Cornhole and Golf Ball Ladder: This video walks you through how to make a basic set of cornhole boards as well as how to make the golf ball ladder game. I use basic woodworking tools and you can get all of the materials from your local big box store.
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List of tools used in this build:
Step 1: Cornhole Boards: Cut Boards for the Frame to Size and Drill Pocket Holes
For the frames of the boards you will need four standard 2” x 4” x 8’ boards. Whenever I use dimensional lumber I like to cut 1/4” off of each edge to remove the rounded edges and give them more of a finished look.
Over at the miter saw, I cut four boards boards at 48” long, four at 21” long and four at 13” long.
Next, I drilled pocket holes, using my pocket hole jig, in each end of the 21” boards. If you don’t have a pocket hole jig you can just pre-drill and secure the frame with three inch screws. After that I drilled pocket holes down one side of each 21” and 48” board.
Step 2: Cut Out 6" Holes in the Plywood Tops
For the tops of each board you will need a 48” x 24” pieces of 3/4” thick plywood. I will not be panting or staining these boards so I went with some oak veneer plywood. I placed both pieces of plywood together and clamped them ensuring that the edges were all flush.
To lay out the hole, I measured and marked 9” from the top of the plywood and then measured and marked 12” from the side. I used my T square to intersect these lines to know where the center of my circle will be. The hole needs to be 6” in diameter so I am using this piece of plastic strapping with exactly 3” between the first and last hole. I nailed a small finish nail into the center mark and used a pencil to make a perfect 6” circle.
With a 1/2” drill bit I drilled a hole for a place to start cutting with my jigsaw. Using my cordless jigsaw I carefully cut on the line until the circle was removed. Stacking the boards together allows you to cut both holes at once and ensures that they are identical.
If you plan to make a lot of these boards I would recommend purchasing a 6” whole-saw bit. They are inexpensive and make this process easy and accurate. I’ll add a link in the tools section for one if you want to check it out. I’ll also add a link to all of the other tools and materials that I use in this videos. Anytime you use those links it supports the channel and as always it is greatly appreciated.
Step 3: Assemble the Frame and Attach to the Tops
After the holes are cut you can start to assemble the frames for each board. I applied wood glue to the 21” pieces, checked for square, and attached them to the 48” pieces.
With the frame assembled I applied glue and attached it to the plywood top.
Step 4: Cut and Install the Legs
Next, I grabbed the 13” long boards and made intersecting marks at 2” from one end and one at half the width of the board. At these intersecting lines I drilled a 3/8” hole on each leg. I placed the leg against the boards frame where it will be installed and used the already drilled hole as a guide to drill the matching hole into the side of the frame. This is the easiest way that I have found to drill accurate and matching holes on the legs and frame.
Next, I used a roll of tape to trace a rounded edge on the 13” boards. This will be done only on the end of the board where the hole was drilled. I then used my jigsaw to round the edges of each board. If you have a band saw it can make this part even easier. Now, you can attach the legs to the frame using a 3/8” x 4” long carriage bolt with a wing nuts and washers. Once attached to the frame the legs should move with slight tension and may require some sanding of the radius if there is too much.
With the legs attached, I laid the board on a flat table, and extended one leg so that it was hanging off the side of the table. I then used a paint bucket to prop the board up so that the top of the board is 12” off the surface. Now, I can use a pencil to mark the proper angle for the leg. Once one leg was marked I did the same thing for the second leg and then removed them from the boards.
Over at the miter saw I used my shadow guide to the line up the proper angle and cut them at the mark and then reattached them to the boards.
Step 5: Trim, Sand, and Finish the Boards
I used my flush cut bit and cordless router to flush cut the plywood with the frame. This can also been done with sanding if needed. Next, I took a round over bit and rounded over all of the edges on the boards including the top and bottom edge of the circle.
A quick sanding to 220 grit and these boards were ready for a finish. I grabbed the shop helper, opened the door in the shop, and with his help applied polyurethane to the entire board. After that coat dried I buffed the boards with 000 steel wool and reapplied a second and third coat on the boards.
Step 6: Attach Storage Solution Clasps and Accessories
I clamped the boards together with the bottoms facing each other and installed two clasps on each long end of the boards. These are pretty simple little clasps that I chose so that I could use some wire or twist ties through the lock holes to ensure that they do not open while transporting or storing.
Once the clasps were attached I flipped the boards upright and attached a metal scoreboard to the back of one of the boards. I found this one for cheap on amazon and Ill leave a link for it in the description. Its easy to attach and I just used a few magnets from the shop as score markers.
I also found some pretty cheap battery operated LED lights on amazon and thought that they would also be a cool feature for the boards. Ive seen some pretty in depth installation of LED lights on cornhole boards but I decided to go pretty simple on these. I drilled a hole in the back just big enough for the lights to fit through and then attached the lights around the outside of the boards with some plastic clips. I had to add some tape the the ends of the lights to prevent them from slipping through the clips but these worked really well. With that the conrhole boards are complete and ready to go!
Step 7: Cornhole Boards Completed
The cornhole boards sit 30' from each other and you get three points for a bag that goes in the hole and one point for a bag that lands and stays on the board. You play this game to 21 as well and its always been one of my favorites to play at family gatherings and parties.
Step 8: Golf Ball Ladder Game: Cut PVC to Length
The entire frame ladder is made of 3/4” PVC pipe and you will need five pieces 2’ in length and eight pieces 1’ in length. I made two ladders so I doubled up on these pieces and made all the cuts using my miter saw and a stop block. Using two ladders is not required but prevents from having to walk back and forth after your turn.
Step 9: Assemble the Ladder Stand
To assemble the ladder you will need two 3/4” PVC 90’s and six 3/4” PVC Tee’s as well as the 2’ and 1’ pieces that you just cut. Attach a 90 to both ends of one 2’ piece, then attach the 1’ pieces down the rungs with a Tee in between each piece and a 2’ rung across. Once at the bottom attach the Tee’s for the feet and attach one 2’ piece on the back and one 1’ piece to the front. This will prevent the ladder from falling backward when the bolases wrap around it. I removed the top and bottom rung from the ladder to be painted just to give them a different look and distinction.
Step 10: Drill Holes in Golf Balls and Paint
I grabbed eight golf balls from my golf bag and drilled a 1/4” hole in each of them. Be sure to clamp the golf balls in a safe manner while drilling them. Once the holes were drilled I moved to the back yard and painted half the balls one color and the other half a different color. I also painted the top and bottom rungs for each of the ladder.
Step 11: Assemble the Golf Ball Bolases
With the golf balls dried I used paracord cut in 20” pieces to form the bolases. I just ran the rope through the golf balls and secured a knot on both ends. I placed the panted rungs back in the ladder and gave it a try.
Step 12: Golf Ball Ladder Game Completed
For this game you stand 15' from the ladder and each player gets two bolases. Wrapping the bolas on the top rung is one point, the middle rung is two points and the bottom is three points. First person to 21 wins! Trust me this is as easy as you would think.
Step 13: Both Games Store in One Place
When you are finished with the game, everything can be disassembled and placed in between the two cornhole boards. Now they are ready to be transported or stored away.
For more details you can watch the full build video here:
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