Painting tips

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Painting cornhole boards can be done so many ways, Cornhole Wiki feature's different methods, as used by different people. Usually these methods are taken from posts in the forum at

You can either add your own method, or add notes to a method that somebody else has posted!

We've created several pages that are intended to help you as you build and customize your cornhole boards. First, check out our cornhole board building page. Once you have boards built, you can find some great Sanding Tips, Painting Tips, Poly and Clearcoat Tips, Staining Tips, Logo Painting Tips, and Decal Application & Tips.


The "Shaggy Method"


Awesome method for painting super crisp lines on your boards.

Use these quick, easy steps, now famously referred to by members of the Cornhole Game Players Forum as the "Shaggy Method"

Very basically, you paint your base coat color, then tape off your design, then paint over that with your base coat color again, then paint the color you actually want your design to be.

Anything that bleeds under the tape will be the same color that's already underneath, and theoretically it will block up any holes that cause the leakage, so your nest color coat will stay put.

The DerrickSmash Method

Click here for a full description of the Logo Method

Misc. Painting Processes

Painting Process

From Cornhole Players Member "TednWV" - I use the Behr or Valspar paint with the built in primer. Normally, it only takes 3 coats at the most with any color except reds, yellows and some blues. Assuming the boards are sanded smooth and ready to paint, these are the steps I do.

1) Paint first coat. Let dry.

2) Paint second coat. Let dry.

3) Lightly sand the painted area til the area feels smooth.

4) Paint last coat.

No wood grain should be showing and paint will be smooth as glass. If you see your boards will only take 2 coats of paint, lightly sand after the first coat instead. Basically, I sand the boards after the coat prior to the final coat.


From DerrickSmash - A semi-gloss base, with glossy graphics/borders, followed by one coat of gloss clear, followed by a coat of satin clear. It comes out to a professional matte look. looks really professional - like a high quality matte or canvas print.

I've gotten over the whole "bling bling" gloss finish. Also, by finish coating with satin, it traps the gloss inside so it's not blinding, but makes everything (even the simple stuff) pop off the board. the satin also hides the hell out of imperfections.

my recommendation. don't use flat paint. just ends up taking more coats of clear. the first two coats bring your flat base to a satin. next two bring it to a gloss. next thing you know you're putting like 10 coats of poly on a set to get what you want.

Stain & Painting Process

From Cornhole Players Member "J2K66"


1. Sand everything smooth

2. Stain the oak, cover the entire top of the boards

3. Apply sanding sealer, cover the entire top of the boards

4. Sand with fine paper or steel wool. It will get rid of all of the dust nibs and give you a super slick finish to apply paint/stickers/tape to. But go over it lightly. It will be a pretty thin finish. Apply a second coat of sealer if you like. It should come out like glass.

5. Tape and cutout logos and striping

6. Prime said logos and striping

7. Paint logos and striping

8. Remove tape

9. Apply polyacrylic over entire top of boards

From CGP Members AndieDuck & JMYBFFT


1. Stain the entire board the first (medium) stain color, let dry.

2. Very light sanding after first color is dry (220 grit and barely go over it, all you are trying to do is knock down any grain that popped up from the first coat of stain).

3. Wipe boards down with a tack cloth, not a damp rag (this is to avoid the grain from popping up on you)

4. Tape off corners, stain darker color, let dry and then do another really light sanding over this area.

5. Apply a coat of poly and let it dry before you paint the stripes. Mask off stripes and run a little poly over the edges of your masked off area (this will seal your edges and avoid bleeding of the paint)

5. Paint stripes (cream colored), remove tape, let dry

6. Cover entire logo area with painters tape, use exacto knife and printed logo to trace logo onto board, remove tape to make stencil, stain logo with darker color, remove tape, let dry.

7. Apply spar urethane with foam brush, sand lightly between coats.

From CGP Member Milky

I have done a lot of personal research on the matter of sanding sealer. Here's what I came up with.

1. Build boards

2. Fill boards

3. Sand boards

4. Wipe

5. Stain boards

6. Dry

7. Use the sealer

8. Dry

9. Tape off right on top of the stain/sealer, WITHOUT polying

10. Paint, remove tape

11. Dry

12. Poly

Some notes. First of all, the actual job of a sanding sealer is to seal in the grain of UNFINISHED wood, preparing it for polycrylic or polyurethane. The sealant will make the wood almost inpenetrable, making the staining process more difficult, and sometimes impossible. that being said, staining first, and then using the sealer, isn't exactly using it on "unfinished" wood, right? Doesn't matter. The effect in this case is still reached. In the past, I've done boards both ways, so I do speak from experience on this one also. Guys, I literally called Minwax's corporate technical support, and I advise you to do the same if you doubt this advice. So, sand, stain, apply sealer, paint, poly, done.

The painting part you should treat just like you would any other cornhole painting job. You can paint over stain, sealer, and even poly(if you want to, but I don't recommend painting over poly). Tape, prime, paint, remove tape, poly, done. Same process every time.

See the staining tips page for additional board staining information.

Paint Application Tips

from CGP's Milky - Use rollers instead of brushes FOR PAINT. I use the 4" and 6" foam rollers. They are white, and they say "doors and cabinets" on the package. They work really well and give the smoothest finish possible. I find that regular rollers give that "eggshell" or "orange peel" looking effect.

from CGP's Zodin - I put the rollers into a sandwich Ziploc bag and the into a freezer size Ziploc bag and put it in my fridge and they worked awesome! I usually rinsed them completely off every other application and they stayed moist and ready to apply more paint.

General Painting Tips

General Paint Application

from CGP's Milky

I recommend three things:

--First, use a primer.

--Second, when painting RED, use Rustoleum's "Safety Red" high performance enamel. Two coats over primer, or three coasts with no primer, and you'll be good to go, no problem what-so-ever.

--Third, use the doors and cabinets foam rollers for the paint on all surfaces of your boards. They just flat out give you the smoothest finish available.

Prime, Sand & Painting

sand - prime - sand - prime - then 2 coats or more coats of paint depending on the color choice .... a painter friend once told me 2 light coats are better then one heavy coat.... just take your time.

Paint and Poly Curing

from CGP member DCROG

The old rule for automotive paint is to take your thumb and press hard in a spot. If it leaves a thumbprint it isn't cured yet and don't try throwing bags at it. If it doesn't leave a print I would think that you were good to go.

One more thing, if you can keep the temperature 70 F or above it will do a lot for the curing. Most paint cure times are based on 70 to 72 degrees with low humidity.

Keep your coats as thin as possible for quicker curing also.

There are no set rules as to how quickly paint will cure. The variables are seemingly endless. Temperature, humidity, and many other factors come into play. 72 hours is a pretty safe time frame which most people around here use. The Polycrylic says after the final coat allow 3 hours after final coat before light handling and 24 hours before normal use. Throwing one pound bags from 27 feet away probably isn't what they would call normal.

Painting a second color | Re-taping Over Fresh Paint

from Milky

Wait at least 24 hours from the time it is completely dry to the touch. That's my opinion, and it's always worked for me. Even if it's completely dry to the touch on the surface, chances are the underside has not bonded to the top deck paint yet, and it hasn't cured all the way through. If you tape off when it's like that, you're gonna pull that paint right off when you remove the tape. Again, I'd say wait until 24 hours minimum after the top is dry to the touch.

Taping Outer Border and Hole

Using Sanding Sealer

From TedwNV - This is my personal experience but a lot of people disagree with me on here. Hasn't failed me yet.

1. First coat of sanding sealer.

2. Wait an hour, sand first coat. This should take you about 1min MAX!

3. Apply second coat of sanding sealer.

4. After second coat dries, you can apply your tape if you're painting borders or other logos. I always apply a thin coat of sanding sealer over the edge of the tape.

5. After paint has dried, apply your decals if that's what you're doing.

6. Apply poly.

In your case the way I read it.

1. Stain 2. Sanding sealer (dry) 3. Sanding sealer 4. Decals 5. Poly

So...two coats max on sanding sealer.

Board Painting Method ( for Eagles Boards )

from CGP member "DHtcqb7

  • Fill in all screw holes with wood filler and sand them.
  • Paint the boards with 2 coats of primer... I found that the moisture from the primer caused some fibers from the sanded surface to rise, leaving it rougher than before priming... I lightly sanded the primed surface with a fine grit sandpaper to make the boards even smoother...
  • Add a base coat of Glidden Eagles green paint from Home Depot... I like to add thin coats to the boards, so I ended up painting 3 coats to ensure no primer showed through my green base coat...
  • While the base coats dried, I downloaded a basic Eagles logo in .png format from and opened it with Microsoft paint... I expanded the image by 500%, then by 200%, ultimately giving a printable image that was 10 times larger than the original... The printed image is roughly 14 inches wide by 8 inches tall (by visual estimation haha)... I know this method is tedious and old school, but it'll work for anybody...
  • I then printed the image in grayscale and landscape format. The image fit on 4 sheets. I cut the excess edges from the individual sheets, then taped the image together with basic scotch tape... I then cut the outer border using an X-acto knife... I'll use it as a template for the eagle logo on the boards later...
  • Next, I taped my design. Then, as per the Shaggy method, I put down another paint layer to match the base coat...

I then laid down several layers of my secondary color... In this case it's black...

Notes - Tips for Painting a Circle around the Hole References - Original Forum Thread

Cornhole Board Sand, Stain, Prime, Paint, and Poly

from Bill75

Decide on your supplies list. Your materials make a big difference in your finishing options. For your board's surface, go with a birch or oak faced plywood, it will save you a ton of grief and sanding if you plan to stain or simply seal the surface. Other plywoods are not made for furniture grade applications and will take much more prep work to get a fine finish on. It can be done, but why kill yourself in the process, right?

With your materials selected and your boards built, here are my recommendations:

If you plan to Stain or clear-coat a portion of your boards, I would personally apply that finish to the entire surface FIRST. Make sure you have sanded the surface smooth with 220 grit or higher sandpaper to make it as smooth as possible. You don't want to feel the grain or any texture. If you're staining, I might suggest a sanding sealer prior to staining. Visit your home store for options, but Minwax makes a nice one. After applying your sanding sealer, you'll probably feel more grain raise up, this is normal, just sand lightly with fine (220 grit or higher) sand paper to remove that grain.

Now, apply your stain. If you're not staining, skip this step.

Staining, unlike painting, is a process. You'll apply one coat, let it cure and then likely apply another coat. The stain will get deeper and richer in color with each new application. Stop when you've achieved your desired finish.

Now, you want to paint a border on your boards. I would get some painter's tape (blue usually) and tape off everything that you do NOT want paint on. For a border, I'd go with 1 1/2" wide tape and just tape off the edge of your border. No sense in covering the entire surface, unless you're painting with a mop.

There is a painting method listed on this forum, known as the Shaggy method, which works well for sharp, crisp lines when taping/painting. Me, I apply the tape, then take the rounded end of a screwdriver handle and rub down the edge of my tape. So far, no bleed through. Just take your time applying the tape and rubbing it down. At this point, you can primer the border area if you like. If you don't, expect to use multiple coats of paint to cover fully.

Paint your border. Let it dry, paint it again. You're going to want to pull the tape after your final coat of paint, before it dries, to help avoid peeling off any of your paint that has covered both the surface and the tape. Peel the tape back at a sharp angle across the surface, and close to the surface, to help avoid paint lift off. The sharper the angle, the less likely you'll experience any lifting of the paint.

I should mention, paint types and sheens differ with whoever is doing the work. Some guys use exterior gloss latex, others use multi-purpose enamels. I use Olympic Bath and Kitchen Semi-Gloss paint. It's made to withstand moisture, abuse, etc and it's not TOO shiny. I hate SUPER shiny paint.

If using decals, apply them after all your paint/stains have dried. Rub them down onto the surface very firmly to insure adhesion.

Now, you're ready to apply multiple coats of poly. Most people are using Polycrylic, a waterbased poly coat that doesn't yellow with age.

Poly methods vary, I apply 2 coats, then inspect it. If it feels the least bit rough or textured, I sand it very lightly with a high grit sandpaper to remove that texture. Try to avoid sanding over your decals. The vinyl doesn't like abrasion so much. Then apply another 1 - 4 coats of poly depending on your preferences. Remember to let each coat cure properly before applying the next one, otherwise it might get cloudy on you. Any cloudiness should disappear in a few days, but why chance it?

You're done! It's been a long hard road, but you've finished your project and you have great looking boards to show off here on the forum and to your buddies when you're tossing back a few cold ones and throwing corn.

Tips for Painting the Ring Around the Hole

See the Painting the Ring Around the Hole page.

Tips for Painting the color RED

From CGP's dcrog - Use Gray or Charcoal gray primer. It's often said that gray will give the red a richer color. Pink will help, but not as much. Red is translucent which is why it takes more coats.

From PabstBlueRibbon - When painting with any color red always use a grey primer. It will save the "pink" headache that ensues after using a whit primer.

From Samurai Jack - This is the official word from The Ohio State University on the Pantone colors to match Scarlet & Gray If you ask for Gray matching Pantone 429 and Scarlet matching Pantone 200 you cannot go wrong.

The Ohio State University Scarlet

PANTONE 200 CMYK: four-color process formula: 0 cyan, 100 magenta, 65 yellow, 15 black, Web or interactive: Use web safe hexadecimal: #990000 or RGB values: 153, 0, 0

The Ohio State University Gray

PANTONE 429 CMYK: four-color process formula: 6 cyan, 0 magenta, 0 yellow, 34 black, 35% black, Web or interactive: Use web safe hexadecimal: #999999 or RGB values: 153, 153, 153


Paint Tricks & Effects


Washed Out Paint Look

From TheUnemployedProject - I started a new thing where I water down my paint, brush it on, and take a wet washcloth and wipe it down slightly. Thats how the blue got that look. (pictured on the right)

Types of Paint

Spray Paint

From Capcorn - Rustoleum Painters Touch is the best paint I have used and has a super wide assortment of colors and seems to coat thicker and last longer. I have had problems with other paints good and bad, so I dont even bother anymore...its painter touch x2 every time.

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